March 30, 2017

Self-Care, Celebration, Sabbatical

By:

Category: Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Self-care. It’s easier in theory than in practice. But in a field where burnout and turnover are high, it’s crucial for that theory to become practice. And I don’t just mean bubble baths—I mean the kind of self-care that can sustain us in the long run.

When I say “self-care,” I mean building communities that support our collective wellbeing. I mean continually acknowledging that we’re doing our best within a system not designed for everyone to thrive. I also mean practical things, like leaving work at a reasonable time, not checking our email on weekends, and taking time off when we are sick.

Over my last 18 years at the Coalition, I’ve learned ways to stay engaged while also staying sane. I am not always successful, but I try to make sure to get enough sleep, get outside, play with my cats, and sometimes watch ridiculous TV. I also cherish feedback from colleagues and friends who are willing to remind me: I am not as important as I sometimes think I am. There’s a lot I can’t do and a lot I can’t control. I am still learning to accept that and let those things go. I believe that humility is an important self-care tool!

One of the most grounding elements of my life, though, is the connection I share with my nearest and dearest. It’s why, just a month from now, I’ll be taking a three month sabbatical. I’ll be travelling to Portugal, Sweden, and Finland to spend time with family and friends, many of whom I haven’t seen in far too many years, and then enjoying some “down” time in Seattle and our incredible surroundings.

I believe that part of our organizational self-care is to promote the leadership and advancement of all of the people we work with, and this sabbatical is one way to do that. I feel in awe of my incredible co-workers here at the Coalition, all of whom have volunteered to step up and fill in during my absence. I’m also grateful to the Coalition Board, for their support and engagement. Thank you all in advance for giving me this gift of time!

I officially take off on May 1st. With that in mind, I hope to see you at this year’s Celebration for Change—taking place on Thursday, April 20th! Celebrate all that we’ve accomplished this last year. Celebrate the strengthened connections and collaborations that continue to fuel a more effective network of individuals and agencies working to end gender-based violence.

This community is an integral piece of my self-care. You all inspire me to keep working to create just and equitable communities. I hope to Celebrate with you in just a few short weeks, and then reconnect with you all in August.

Until then,

Merril