Happy New Year everyone! I hope you enjoyed the Christmas break, I know it can be a stressful time for some. In my last newsletter (which you can sign up to here) I spoke about a chapter in my new book that felt relevant for December, and I’m certainly using this tool going into a new year.
We all embrace multiple selves, be it our work self, our family self or our sporting self (less developed in my own case). I know I enjoy life when I find time for all of my different roles. Over-develop one side of our personality, and we can become unbalanced. It’s rather like a bird with an unduly strong right wing, which leaves it in danger of flying round and round in circles.
So while it’s generally healthy to feel integrated and whole, I have found it handy to imagine that I can also play different roles, each of which needs some time in the diary. This kind of compartmentalising is a skill mastered by many in order to maintain balance like social workers, doctors and police officers.
I too try and limit my responsibilities to their different compartments. One way of doing so is to give myself different names and symbols for the different aspects of my personality.
For my parent role, I think of myself as Mum. This is the me who does the school run, goes to parent meetings, sorts multi-coloured unmatching socks, and remembers we need more washing-up liquid. The symbol for this might be me sitting at the end of a child’s bed chatting to them – or a pair of socks!
At work, I am Rachel Kelly. This is the person who is grown up, or tries to be.
With friends and when I’m socialising, I am Rach. This Rach is to be found at a corner table in a café, sharing something delicious and having a laugh with a pal.
And then there’s just Rachel, who likes being on her own with her dog. The symbol for this me would be a picture of me walking Sammy.
Being conscious of these roles has helped me fully inhabit my different identities, and potentially switch roles if that’s appropriate. Sometimes, when I am distressed, I try and work out which aspect of me is dominant, and is that appropriate? There’s nothing worse than being in my professional work mode when a child needs some attention.
For more balance this year, a good day is now one where all my different roles get a look-in.