12 Aug Getting a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Times are tough in business with frequent redundancies or companies closing on a regular basis. There is increased pressure on business owners and staff to put in the hours and deliver the results, but at what cost to health, relationships, family.
Being a hard worker is seen as an important requirement for success, but the mindset can all too easily spill over into becoming a workaholic. This is apparent in people who never have time for anything other than work, are constantly checking their emails, whose every waking (and often sleeping) thoughts are about business and its responsibilities. They often become anxious at the thought of taking a break or of being out of contact with work and are often irritated by any distractions that interfere.
Work stress and pressure is increasingly evident in my Counselling and Hypnotherapy practice. I am seeing many clients who have problems sleeping, relaxing, laughing and enjoying their lives because they perceive themselves as too busy. Some clients have physical symptoms too, like regular headaches, loss of libido, feel regularly tired or out of sorts, are more unwell than is usual.
I teach my clients that sometimes saying ‘yes’ is the most negative thing they can say, and that saying ‘no’ can be the most positive word to say. Learning how to take control of choices and then feeling positive about the outcome is an important result.
Delegation can be a factor here. Teaching someone else takes time, time which a lot of very busy people feel that they cannot spare. Also there is often the fear that by passing work onto to someone else some power or control may be lost. There is often concern that work is being done that is not being managed in every detail. Learning to feel comfortable with an overview of the situation, and understanding that delegating work actually increases the amount of work done, is a difficult lesson to learn. But it is also a valuable and liberating lesson.
Stopping for breaks is another important action. It has been regularly proven that people who take breaks every two hours or so perform better and achieve more productive results than those who work right on through. It is healthy to take a ten minute break and have a piece of fruit or a glass of water or even a quick walk around outside. Stopping to have a meal break is also important. It allows the mind to settle and become calmer for a while. It gives a time out.
Achieving a healthy work/ life balance means also focussing on things that are not work related. Taking time out to cultivate a special relationship and invest care and effort into it is important. Think about making a phone call or sending a text message during the day. Little gestures can make a huge difference to the other person. Similarly with friends. They need to know that they matter, so arrange time to do fun things with them and then commit to turning up. It takes time to learn that fun time is not wasted time, but stick with it, and discover pleasure and enjoyment again.
Appreciate that there is only so much that one person can do effectively in a day. Set those boundaries in place and prioritise the workload to make the most effective use of the time available. If necessary, discuss this with a manager or bring in extra help, but start to really understand that there is a limit to how much one person can achieve in a day.
Also schedule exercise or ‘me’ time into the diary regularly. Book a de-stressing treatment like a massage occasionally. This way, stress and pressure will be managed effectively and a healthier and happier person will work in a more productive and efficient way. Both work and personal life will thrive and become valuable and complementary parts of everyday life.