We’ve all heard the proverb, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Essentially, what this means is that without time off from work, you can become both bored and boring.
Post pandemic, increasing numbers of people seem to be primarily focused on work, putting it first, to the exclusion of everything else. Many of us crave the perfect job/career and when we get it, we want to impress our bosses and our colleagues and of course do the best that we can. That’s often why we work all hours, almost to the exclusion of everything else, including our personal happiness. And social media doesn’t help either, an increasing number of postings are keen to reference how early people get up, how hard they work during the day and how late they get home, as if to demonstrate how that’s what’s expected.
Work is not a competition
First and foremost – this is not a healthy attitude, and it most certainly is not a competition to see who is working the hardest! What about the other areas of your life – health, wellbeing, family, friends, social life, sport/exercise, holidays, learning and helping others? These are equally as important and need to play a bigger role to help with both your physical and mental health? And if suddenly you lost your job, then what else would you have in your life to boost your self-esteem?
Work is essential for financial reasons, it can also provide social recognition and affirmation and is an opportunity to use skills, gain job satisfaction and perhaps earn respect. But the negatives can include burnout, stress, lack of energy and creativity, a decrease in productivity, performance and the quality of your work. But play (any activities you do when not working, including sleeping) – well the benefits are huge. Play renews energy, reduces stress, promotes happiness and general wellbeing. It gives the brain and body time to recharge.
Plan to change
If you think you’ve got the work life balance wrong, or know someone who is too focused on work, then it’s time to change your behaviour, or theirs, for good. Of course, change of this nature needs plenty of planning and a genuine desire to do things differently. Achieving a more balanced life, which concentrates on self-care, takes time, but there are things that you can start to do now that will help.
My advice is to set yourself some new rules for living a more balanced life, they could include some. or all, of the following:
- Plan your working hours and stick to them – leave work on time. Set boundaries, learn to say no and be accountable to someone or something to make sure you do this.
- Move more – schedule in time to get outside at least once a day for a walk or more vigorous exercise. Get back in touch with your body and make it work harder for you.
- Have technology free time – don’t respond to emails immediately. It’s fine for people to wait for a response. Turn off your notifications on your phone, so you are not constantly reacting to what’s going on at work.
- Start a new sport or hobby – they can make feel happier and more relaxed. Group activities like team sports can improve your communication skills and relationships with others too.
- Get enough sleep and rest. Remember that saying, you can’t pour from an empty vessel.
When you are following these rules, ask yourself regularly – Am I happy? Is my life balanced? By regularly checking in with yourself, you will be able to monitor your mental health and emotions and make tweaks depending upon how you feel.
How can I help?
If you are struggling and want to contact someone who can help, encourage and support you as you aim to achieve a better work-life balance, then please contact Debby today by calling 07780 692784 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.