Susie Ellis is chairman and CEO of the Miami-based Global Wellness Institute and heads its annual Global Wellness Summit. Ellis also is president of Spafinder Wellness Inc. and directs the company's annual Spa and Wellness Trends Forecast.
For a long time, I did not manage my time well and made the mistake of overworking.
One day about 12 years ago, my ear suddenly started ringing with a high-pitched sound — called tinnitus — just after receiving some bad news at work. The sound did not go away for days and then weeks.
After an examination at an ear clinic, [the doctor] said that stress had caused the tinnitus. And I thought, how ironic; I’m in the business of helping people de-stress! I’m absolutely passionate about what I do. But I absolutely needed to slow down.
So I did. I found that when I relaxed and took some time off and got more sleep — all the healthy things we know we’re supposed to do — the tinnitus went away within about three months. I wish I could say that from then on out [things were fine].
But a few years later I started working too hard once again — not taking a day off, staying up late. And this time, I started losing my voice. I was diagnosed with laryngitis that I got not from yelling or even speaking a lot but from stress. So once again I had to relax [to recover].
When you step back and take time off, you are more creative and more productive.
I have learned that there’s just no shortcut; you just have to put in the days off, which I do now. And I have a much better balance now. I notice I’m more alert. All the [healthy] things we talk about really do make a difference.
For example, years ago I would be emailing everybody all weekend, all night, whatever. Most of the time I don’t email in the evening now. And I’ve found that because I don’t do that, the rest of the team doesn’t, either.
With [today’s] technology, working 24/7 is the norm; I think it’s an epidemic. And yet the research proves that when you step back and take time off, you are more creative and productive. So we need to make a purposeful decision to step back from our work for the sake of our health.
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Photo courtesy of Susie Ellis