5 signs you need to slow down

By Amanda Vinci

Recently, you may have managed your life through a busy EOFY period, more unfortunate illness in our community, school holidays and a very wet winter… have you been able to slow down and support your mental and physical health?

Sometimes you need to slow down to speed up but it helps to have the right approach and support so you can move forward with ease and calm.

When you are mindful, you can have greater consciousness in the present. This is vital as an Assistant, who, at any given moment, may be barraged with various problems that call for decisions under stress.

Below are 5 signs you need to slow down and how learning mindfulness can help.


1. You’re feeling out of control and overwhelmed

Have you ever found yourself trying so hard to control a situation that it becomes all consuming? Using all of your energy!

Executive Assistants – I hear ya!

Being an EA, it can be really difficult to accept what is… but have you heard of the saying “what you resist, persists?”

The thing is when we actively try to diminish an emotion by supressing it, we lose energy. And the energy we lose is no longer available for other activities. And the more we struggle against a feeling or situation, the longer this struggle lasts. By giving up the struggle against feelings and thoughts, we not only save energy, but also experience the natural course of emotions and feelings and watch them fade away all by themselves. They are only temporary.


2. You can’t find the time to prepare nutritious food for yourself

Repeat after me… self care isn’t selfish! You are your own worst critic and it could be holding you back in the workplace. Use simple moments during the day, even at work, to wind down when you feel overwhelmed and stressed.

Take your lunchbreak and use it as an act of self-care. When you eat, take a moment to notice this nourishment you’re giving yourself. You have the power to choose to eat something that makes you feel good. Even if you haven’t found the time to prepare lunch for yourself, you can still make a healthy food choice when buying your lunch.

Slow down as you eat and notice the positive feelings this choice gives you as you fuel your body for the afternoon.


3. You’re making mistakes at work

Executive Assistants I have a question for you… have you ever found yourself making a mistake and hours later still thinking about it? Maybe even days or weeks go by and you’re still troubled by the mistake you made?

Here’s the thing, when you’re in our head thinking about the past (what transpired) or the future (what will happen) you’re not in the present. It leaves you wide open in the present moment to make more mistakes, or to let things drop through the cracks or even worse, be so absorbed in your thoughts that you just stare at your emails with no action.

We’re human, mistakes will happen. That’s a certainty. What’s important is that you learn from your mistake and move on. What separates High Performing EAs to everyone else? They can regulate their attention.

So next time you find yourself in your thoughts, take a deep breath and choose to bring the flashlight back to the present moment.


4. You’re irritable about EVERYTHING!

Ok, so who has sent a reactive angry email!? I’ve sent a fair few in my time!

This reaction is an automatic response to a situation. So, how can we change our automatic behaviour? The answer is simple. By increasing mindful attention to what’s going on and interrupting our automatic patterns. What happens is that when we pay mindful attention, we stop the behaviour.

Rather than just immediately reacting to any situation by shouting or screaming, or suppressing or doing whatever we normally do, we take a pause. We stop, and we check what’s going on. After this, we carefully react to the situation with mindful attention and deliberate awareness.


5. You’re noticing fatigue

It’s simple, exhausted leadership is poor leadership. Exhaustion leads to shorter attention spans, increased emotional volatility, and poor decision making… Not exactly the qualities of a High Performing EA right?

As EAs we often get caught up in the idea that we can “do it all” and do it all ourselves, and that’s just not true. When we create a culture of unsustainable work pace and accept burnout we share this with everyone around us, our co-workers, our friends, our partners and even our children.

But guess what? People like to help! Have the courage to reach out and ask for a moment to breathe or for help with a task or important project. I’m sure that there are people on your life who are more than willing to help you… this isn’t the problem…  the problem is your fear and inability to reach out and ask. But give it a go, experiment with allowing others to help you.

Last year, 50% of Australian employees reported feeling burnt out. This year, that number has jumped to 53%*. If you feel like you’re in that 53%, at least it’s nice to know you’re not alone.

Our Mindful EA course is returning to our curriculum this September to support you and offer a shared experience with other EAs who are feeling the same way as you.

Join us on a 10 week journey into mindfulness and acceptance.💫
We begin on September 6th, for all the details, please download the brochure below.

* This information was relevant as at 15 March 2022, and was prepared by Employment Hero Pty Ltd ABN (11 160 047 709) (Employment Hero). There were 1,007 survey participants and responses were collected from the national research panel Dynata.

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