It is 11 pm and my heart is thumping, I can barely breath and I can’t stop thinking about the mistake I made in work today and what type of repercussions await me in the morning! We have all been there right? When work just seems to be caving in on you and whatever you do does not seem to be enough. Go in and tell your boss to *!@$ off? Quit your job and become a Buddhist monk and hike the Himalayas? Is it possible to strike a work-life balance without going to these extremes?
For most people there is no easy fix or remedy for creating a work-life balance and overcoming the stresses they have to face at work everyday. It is not straightforward and it is not something that we should have to just grin-and-bear-it. We want the best of both worlds rights? A job, income, a way to enhance our skills, a way to support our family and countless other things stop us from just jacking it in in work. In this article I want to discuss the possibility of creating a work-life balance through a few useful steps I have learnt over the years.
Work-life Balance Tips:
- The Job Itself: It may seem silly, but if you are working in a job where people will be shouting at you for making mistakes or where you are dealing with millions or even billions of dollars everyday, it is going to be a lot easier to get stressed than if you were sitting around teaching yoga everyday or teaching the elderly how to sow. The type of job itself often sets the parameters for how stressful it will be and what type of effect it will have on you outside of work. Some people thrive in these type of environments, they just would not be able to handle a more sedentary position, and that is fine also! However, you should find a job that suits you, if you are unable to keep doing the sports or hobbies you love or are unable to hold down a relationship because of your high-powered position, then maybe reconsider that career.
- Internally: Are you the type of person when alien spacecrafts have just taken away your loved ones and you have barely broken a sweat? Or are you the type of person that has heart palpitations because your takeaway is 30 seconds late? How we react to life events, stress, pressure and the world around us will also greatly determine how work affects our home-life. Some people have the mental capacity to literally turn their work-mind off the second they leave the office, while others dwell on the smallest thing that happened over the entire course of the weekend. They drive themselves mad and everyone else around them! It is not healthy to dwell on things outside of our control or things that have already occurred. We need to become more enlightened and self-aware of the effects of our thought patterns, our current emotional state and where these feelings are stemming from. We are all works in process, so internally understanding and managing how we deal with our work-life balance is an important factor to keep in mind.
- Environmental: Another important aspect that contributes to how we ensure an adequate work-life balance are the environmental factors at play. Very often other stresses and influences amplify and exacerbate the stresses of work, leaving us paralysed from doing the things we enjoy. You have a bad week in work, but you are also going through a stressful divorce, your kids hate you and you are finding it difficult to pay the bills. The times where I have been most impacted by stress and problems at work were times when many other areas of my life were not going well at the same time and all of the problems seemed to exacerbate each other. “Everything just seems to come at once” is a common theme during these times. Trying to deal with additional baggage is no easy task. One way that helped me was to “map out” things that I had control over or that I could change or alter. If I was fighting with a friend or colleague, it may be helpful to stay away from them for a while until I could talk to them rationally, reducing my stress and anxiety as a result. If it was struggling economically, I would reach out for help, make stricter budgets or see what I could cut from my life without much annoyance. The multi-stress amalgamations are difficult situations to get yourself in but if you pick apart individual bits, it relieves a good deal of harm from your life.
- Physical: Healthy body, healthy mind? You are darn right! I cannot stress enough [pun intended] the importance of a good diet and exercise regime and plenty of sleep, in order to ensure you are able for those long hours and stressful moments in work. Unfortunately, when I least want to prepare [and eat uhh] healthy meals and get exercise is when I usually need it most. Ensuring that I feed my body with adequate nutrients and release my cortisol (stress hormone) through exercise, I am able to maintain a healthy equilibrium without having to meet up with the Dalai Lama for a cup of tea up the side of the Himalayas. Exercise releases stress, actually gives you energy, provides you with lovely endorphins to trick your brain into believing it is happy and also helps you sleep better at night. I don’t want to eat that bag of spinach as much as you do, and I certainly don’t want to put on my running shoes after a long day in the office; but you will feel better afterwards and it will help you get through the difficult week ahead. Why not take up Aikido or Muay Thai to release some stress, for example? Getting to punch, kick and throw people and things is a sure-fire way to release stress from work.
These are things that I have picked up over the years in my own life and insights I have heard from other people going through similar issues. If you want to add to the list I described or if you simply want to tell me that you will never run no matter how good you will feel as a result, then click on through to the forum for a chat: Click here.