Translated from French, meaning to be well.
Most of my life I have been described as high strung, chatty, wound up and bubbly. I have a lot of energy, to say the least.
This information was never news to my parents during parent-teacher conferences in elementary school. I can’t tell you how many times my parents heard the words, “Caitlin is a bright girl, but we can’t get her to be quiet.”
As I have moved into my adult life, not much has changed.
Luckily, my constant need for communication has turned into a career, only now instead of passing notes, I send e-mails and instead of disturbing others during class, I tweet to my co-workers, update my Facebook status and blog about my life.
To be honest, you would be hard-pressed to find PR pros that haven’t spent their lives being told they talk too much, their term papers are too lengthy and they can’t turn off their BlackBerry.
Life as a professional communicator is fabulously rewarding, but there is a danger in being a social butterfly on high speed: burn out and over-stimulation.
It can happen to any guy or gal who has ever slept next to an AP Stylebook in the hopes that the capitalization rules fly into his or her brain, and it can creep up on any account executive who has more than five sub-folders in an inbox.
Is there hope for the busy bees of the business world?
Oui, bien sur.
Ironically enough, I discovered the joys of de-stressing while I was studying abroad in southern France last year. You would think traipsing around the French Riviera would be a year full of long nights at cafes, lazy days on the beach and baguettes three meals a day. In reality, it was nine months of language acquisition, hectic travel and cultural adjustment.
While poking around Provence, I stumbled upon an English bookstore and a book by an English author, Isabel Losada, titled, “The Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment.”
The cover depicts a seated blond woman, legs crossed Indian style, with her arms out in a classic meditation pose, complete with touching pointer fingers and thumbs.
That’s exactly what I needed at the time, and most days, it’s exactly what I need living the hectic agency life back in the States.
Losada took me through her 14 phases of enlightenment, which were enriching activities that broadened her mind, expanded her horizons, cleansed her soul, and at one point, her colon.
At the end of the book, her basic premise was this: Take time for your well-being, and become the most enlightened version of yourself.
We cannot be at our best if we do not fully commit to taking care of what we have so carefully and diligently invested in: ourselves. It is too difficult to give our time and talent if we are constantly over-scheduled.
I spend most of my days with my iPhone buzzing several times an hour, my to-do list growing longer by the minute and my business casual wardrobe becoming threadbare with use, and truly, I love that lifestyle.
But like any constant communicator, I need a break from my hyper-organized Google calendar to indulge in a chai tea latte while reading “Eat, Pray, Love” and rejuvenating my soul.