Maintaining Work - Life Balance
Setting boundaries when it comes to work sounds easy but actually can be really difficult. So often, we feel like we have to give it our all or we're not doing enough. Somewhere along the line, working a 16-hour day became a badge of honour rather than a huge red flag. The reality is that well-set boundaries are actually what makes you a better worker and they don't have to be huge actions to have an impact on your well-being. Simple strategies like not answering e-mails after hours, not using your personal phone for work, and practicing saying no when something doesn't feel right for you are great ways to get started when maintaining a healthy work-life balance. These small rules you establish will have a huge impact on your mental well-being.
It's completely normal to put stress on yourself to succeed. Ambition is a good thing, right? Mostly yes, but you can't expect yourself to be perfect and "on" all the time. Read that again. For all my perfectionists out there, I know this can be incredibly hard to grasp but you're human! Instead, practice self-awareness. Know your weaknesses and when you might need help with something or when it's best to delegate a task to someone else. Invest your time and energy in things other than your career, such as your friendships, hobbies, or personal growth. You're a multi-faceted living, breathing, amazing person not just an employee and you need to remember that. Doing so can instantly take the pressure off when things don't go to plan or work gets to be too much. Shift your way of thinking and you'll shift the pressures and stress you place on work.
FIND A LIKE-MINDED FRIEND
Finding someone to confide in and share the highs and lows of the workplace can be a great way to vent and take the pressure off. If you work independently, as I do, find communities online, podcasts, or other platforms within your field that you can be a part of. You're not alone!
On the other side, it's important to maintain relationships you have outside of work. You may not see these people every day, like you do your coworkers, but these friendships can often feel like a breath of fresh air. Think about it. It's so common for after-work drinks with coworkers to be a time to talk and gossip about the goings-on of work. Before you know it, you get home and realize your whole day has been consumed by your job. Balance it out or encourage your colleagues to discuss other things besides what you do between 9-5.
Take a close look at your habits surrounding work and see where you can cut back or try something new. Maybe that huge mug of coffee in the morning isn't helping with your anxiety. Maybe the retail therapy you go on after a tough day of work isn't really fixing anything. You don't have to be extreme but, try fitting in healthier habits and see how they impact your day-to-day. Go to a new pilates class after work to destress instead of hitting up the mall. Limit screentime before bed if you find yourself checking your e-mails or working too late.
Why do we feel the need to be online and available all the time? Create the habit of being unavailable and communicate that your time is important and valuable. Feeling the pressure to work late into the evening or on the weekends will quickly lead to frustration and burnout. You won't have the energy to give to those other areas of your life that are equally important. Taking the time to focus on yourself and your loved ones will help you feel refreshed and ready to jump back into work on Monday morning.