Your life probably looks neat and tidy on your calendar. But you know it can be anything but. Work hours starting doesn’t mean your personal life comes to a tidy halt for 8 hours.
Things like sick kids, inconvenient landlord inspections, and upset friends happen despite work meetings that have been on your calendar for weeks. And that’s because it’s all life. All its messy parts don’t fit neatly into their assigned blocks of time.
But your professional and personal life colliding hits peak garbage fire levels when emotions get involved.
The doors to your office can’t protect you from emotionally charged life events like emergency room visits, unexpected bills, and breakups. And you can’t exactly let yourself have a good, cathartic wallow about losing out on a job you really wanted — when you’re at your desk at the job you do have.
So what is a professional working woman to do when feelings run high but you can’t take a personal day? Schedule time to feel your feelings.
Yeah, I’m serious. Hear me out.
Why you should schedule time for your emotions
Some feelings in particular seem to wrap themselves around you like an unwelcome cardigan.
You’ve probably already worked a rough day with sadness or anxiety, the stage five clingers of the feelings world, hanging around your neck.
The more you try to push them aside, the more they force their way into your thoughts.
The results, we don’t have to tell you, aren’t great. They include an unproductive day worrying yourself sick and work that’s periodically interrupted when your eyes involuntarily fill up with tears. Also included in this horrible work day package is constantly checking your phone, a pit in your stomach, and half-heard conversations.
But maybe your feelings are only acting like petulant children because they don’t think they’ll actually ever be addressed. And by that I mean deep down, you know you’re going to try to stuff them away.
So don’t. Pull up your calendar and schedule time to actually feel your feelings.
And, yes, I mean actually schedule it in your digital calendar or write it into your planner. The point is to let yourself know that you will be facing what’s going on emotionally.
You’re actually freeing up mental space
Think about your yearly dentist appointment. (Twice a year if you’re a good patient, but we’ll leave that one alone.)
Before you have it scheduled it can cause a lot of anxiety. You’re not sure when it fits in your schedule. Maybe you can’t quite remember how long it’s been since your last checkup. And yeah, you’re not looking forward to that flossing speech.
But then you schedule it, and the stress vanishes.
Because it doesn’t matter anymore. Whatever’s going to happen will happen. And you know exactly when it will happen because it’s scheduled.
Emotions actually can work the same way.
However you deal with your emotions, it can get messy. And you should let yourself feel your feelings as big as you need to. Which is why sneaking into the bathroom with a tissue at work isn’t best.
Dealing with emotions at work can cause more stress. Like worrying about if anyone noticed the red rings around your eyes after that bathroom cry. (For the record, there’s no shame in it if you need it and it makes you feel better.)
Once you know that time is booked for processing everything, you can actually get back to work. Your feeling don’t need to demand your attention now because you’ve planned them for later.
And you’re making yourself a priority
Scheduling time for feelings sounds cold, but it’s not callus. Sure, it’s an off-beat self care tip.
You’re not suppressing your feelings and pretending to be ok. You’re recognizing that sometimes life happens and you can’t sort out the mess right away.
Actually, you’re prioritizing your emotions. You’re telling yourself that your feelings are just as important as that meeting with Bob from accounting.
It just so happens that they needed to grab a later time slot.
But there’s a catch: you can’t cancel. Even if you’re dreading the fallout.
Your emotions are important. You are important. Meetings for yourself, whether they involve your feelings or not, should be just as important as those with your boss.
So make the appointment and get back to work. But make sure you keep it.