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By Debra Persinger, PhD, CAE, KCSAE Director

As association management professionals we are in a constant cycle of invention, product and service delivery, evaluation, and giving … and giving … and giving some more. While the privilege to be of service in this way can be abundantly rewarding, it can also be depleting. So, what about us? What about the people who keep the associations thriving and moving towards, or maintaining, peak performance?

As is often said in the helping professions – you need a dime in your pocket to give someone a nickel. No matter the currency, it’s important to take time – and make time – to rejuvenate and replenish. If you’re anything like me, this is easier said than done and though we are smart enough to know better, it can be challenging to make the conversion to actually do better.

Normalizing self-care will help to banish burnout. Seems reasonable. Unless self-care is a foreign concept. I’m not in any position to share wisdom from some kind of experiential relaxation regimen. But we can all use a reminder of some palatable options that may seem innocuous on the surface yet they facilitate the normalization of our path to optimum wellness.

Understand that your wellbeing is priority number one.  If you don’t truly believe that, start with intellectualizing it. Your optimal functioning and wellbeing depends on it.

Decide to take action. The former leader in my home country of New Zealand recently relinquished her position of responsibility because she recognized she did not have “enough in the tank” to fulfill her leadership role. Before you get to this juncture, decide to take steps to bolster your resilience.  It’s not about powering through, it’s about being able to bounce back.

Hydrate and quench your thirst with deliciously cool, fresh water. Even if you love data, you don’t need to count the ounces consumed. You don’t need to think about people in parts of the country whose water quality makes it undrinkable.  Stop analyzing, just drink water. No matter how large or small the vessel, take a sip, and another, and another.

Move so that if you are reading this sitting down, pause a moment to stretch your neck forward, backward, and to each side. And if you’re really bold, you can stand up and stretch. Move just for one minute, every hour.

Nourish your body. If your colleagues clap when you walk into the office breakroom because they are happy to see you take a lunch break for the first time in forever, then maybe this one seems like an insurmountable step. Maybe you could snack at your desk but at least avoid going all day without food or water. Thanks to KCSAE we have ample opportunities to nourish our minds and our collegial social connections.

If none of these five things zing you, let me reframe it in a way that may appeal to your association leadership sensibilities. In our own jargon, these activities are goal oriented, strategic, scalable, and the return on investment has infinite potential! Stay engaged with KCSAE to take advantage of more opportunities to participate and collaborate on our parallel paths to rejuvenation, replenishment, and overall wellbeing.

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