Balance doesn’t mean that every day is a perfect balance of family-time, work-time and you-time. You will experience occasions when one of these factors becomes all-consuming, but it will pass.
It’s important to know how to balance your time so that you are not constantly overwhelmed, and recognise when is the right time to switch things up.
Let’s say that you have a fortnight when your work is absolutely booming; you know you’ll have to stay late in the office and put the extra hours in to make sure that your deadlines are met and hard work is necessary for the big pay off. Understand that this will happen from time to time and try not to become bogged down with the stress of the job and the guilt of missing out on other things.
When your work settles into a manageable state once again, that’s the time to shift out of survival mode. Ensure you are packing up to go home on time and perhaps balance the time you spent working late by taking a day or two off. Resist the urge to take your work home with you and disconnect from your work phone.
If you do not take the time to rest and relax every now and then you are at risk of burning out. The harder you work and more motivated you are to achieve, the easier it is to get in way over your head. Here are a few signs that you’re burning out:
- Fatigue – are you waking up with no energy after a good night’s sleep, drinking large amounts of caffeine to get you through the day, or having trouble staying awake at work?
- Negativity – are you focusing on the down side of situations, judging others and feeling cynical?
- Unsatisfied – are you feeling as though work and relationships aren’t as exciting or rewarding as they once were?
- Unmotivated – are you doing work for fear of missing deadlines, letting people down, or getting fired (rather than enjoying the job)?
- Stressed – are you making silly mistakes, forgetting important things, having outbursts of emotion, or making poor decisions?
If you are experiencing any of the above then this is a sure sign that you need to re-think your work-life balance. It’s easy to think that a headache is the result of dehydration, that stomach ache is the result of something you ate, and that an aching neck is from sleeping on it wrong, but that’s not always the case. Listen to what your body is trying to tell you.
Take regular breaks throughout the work day, use all your annual leave throughout the year, lean on your support system and look after yourself!