Stressing the importance of self-care in business

Stressing the importance of self-care in business

< Back to Articles | Topics: Member Profile | Contributors: Heather Laura Clarke | Published: April 1, 2018

Martina Kelades cautions against culture of busyness

Martina Kelades is a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and the importance of self-care, but she’s the first to admit she hadn’t been following her own advice.

As far as the local business community was concerned, Kelades had it all together. She’d co-founded Shattered Silence, a Halifax-based organization focused on raising awareness about mental health, reducing the stigma of mental illness and connecting people impacted by mental health problems. She was even nominated for the Business Leader of the Year award at the 2017 Halifax Business Awards.

But while Kelades was grateful for the exposure that helped her continue to grow Shattered Silence, the long hours were starting to catch up with her. “I was doing so much — working full-time at another job, and growing this organization — and I just kept pushing myself,” says Kelades, who’s worked for Futureworx for the last six years, and accepted a promotion as a corporate trainer last spring. “It came to the point when I realized I wasn’t OK. I had poured my last drop.”

She was spending her lunch breaks rushing to meet prospective partners for Shattered Silence, then hurrying back to Futureworx for her next meeting or training session.

Despite her frantic pace, Kelades was juggling both worlds so well that many people were surprised to hear Shattered Silence wasn’t her sole focus.

“More and more people were saying ‘That’s not your day job?!’ and that’s when I started thinking about the fact that I had taken on a lot,” says Kelades. “Shattered Silence is a passion project and completely volunteer. I was doing everything I could to keep up with the momentum, and it was growing faster than anyone expected.”

Once she acknowledged she was taking on too much and neglecting her own mental health, Kelades says she was “in a clearer headspace” and better able to manage her time.

She and her Shattered Silence co-founder, Katelyn Whittaker, decided it was too much work for them to handle while maintaining their own careers. They’re planning to put together a board of directors that can help Shattered Silence with fundraising and establishing new partnerships.

“We’ve always had a running list of volunteers who have reached out to say they want to help in some way, so we’re going to be taking some of them up on the offer,” says Kelades.

Shattered Silence’s site currently reaches people across Canada and the U.S. as well as overseas. Kelades says it’s nice that what started as a small community initiative here in Halifax has expanded to a worldwide resource. She’s looking forward to see how Shattered Silence continues to grow, especially now that she’s mindful of the time and effort she pours into the project.

“Our society certainly pushes us to go, go, go — that hustle, hustle, hustle equals success,” says Kelades. “I think we need to reframe that a bit. I certainly believe in working hard, but I also believe in working hard on our own personal growth — and self-care is a large part of that.”

For Kelades, self-care is a hot bath or relaxing with a good book — she’s loving Brene Brown these days. In the warmer months, she’ll drive to the beach and sit with her feet in the sand, gazing out at the ocean.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the culture of ‘busyness’ and get completely wrapped up in work,” says Kelades. “Every day, you have to take the time to do something that fills you up. Self-care always needs to be a priority.”

< Back to Articles | Topics: Member Profile

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