Leaders – Take A Break!


Half my conversations with leaders this week have included talk about the toll this new normal is taking on them. Threatening words like “red-lining,” “burnout” and “dark place” have been coming out. None of them are there quite yet, but they can see it coming if they don’t make some adjustments. 

Other anecdotal evidence I’ve observed in the past couple of weeks . . .

  • Some of my historically “most fit” leaders are acknowledging their workouts have suffered and they’ve put on some weight from eating and/or drinking too much.
  • People are NOT joking about being confused over what day it is.
  • The (relatively new) phrase “Zoom calls” is giving way to “Zoom fatigue.”
  • Everyone says they are working longer hours — even without such time in-efficiencies as a daily commute or air travel. 

Leaders are in over-drive in the new normal. 

What are some of the drivers? How about these?

  • “I’m simply glad to have a job/work to do when so many others are without. I need to work extra hard to keep it!”
  • Everything about working isolated from others is just harder.
  • Without the variety and freedom of pre-Covid days, every day can seem the same.
  • The extreme emotional ebbs and flows of fear, hope, anger and other feelings suck a lot of energy.
  • “The boundaries between my work life and personal life are so much fuzzier working from home.”
  • And . . . there’s always more work waiting to be done!

Clearly this is not sustainable. Your body might be present at the desk, in the zoom call, but it is tired. So is your brain. So is your heart.

How can you incorporate new rituals to sustain yourself and be resilient for the long-haul? Here are a few ideas I’ve heard from leaders.

  • I push away from my desk at 6 pm each day and go for a walk, in lieu of my daily commute home. It helps me transition back to my personal life.
  • I take walks without my phone. 
  • I take phone calls while walking, instead of sitting inside all day.
  • Our family does a daily “hi-lo” at the dinner table. It’s a great way to celebrate gratitude and also let loved ones know what is hard.

What are you doing to adapt in this new normal and lead at your best? Brad and I are planning to do a podcast on this in a couple of weeks and we’d like to incorporate your ideas. Write me.

And, as this three-day Memorial weekend approaches (Yes! Did you remember?!), I want to encourage you to take a break. Your body, brain and heart need a break. They need to be refreshed . . . so that you can return better ready to lead into all the challenges that lie ahead. For leaders, taking a break is not a luxury, it’s a NECESSITY! 

Also, I’d like to send you a brief excerpt from my upcoming book Lead Like You Were Meant To: Making the Switch from Autopilot to Intentional – due out Labor Day. Titled “Manage Your Brain Fuel,” it speaks to one aspect of leading yourself to be at your best mentally. Just write Linda, and we’ll send it to you.

Lead well.