There’s a very fine line between work and play. We spend most of our week stuck in the workplace, working our way up the career ladder and dealing with office politics, so the downtime we have away from the office is so precious. The thing is, for the most part, our jobs have a direct effect on our personal lives. The concept of leaving work stresses at work is one that many fail at doing. The idea is a great one, but in practice it doesn’t quite work that way. Bringing the office home is an inevitability, especially if you are in a high-powered career. The stress of being important (no, really) is something that can have a devastating effect on your personal life. Working unsociable hours, being the boss and having to make important decisions can stress you out, which leaches into your personal life.
Finding a work/life balance is not an easy task. You have to remember that moderation is key in life but if you are someone who works hard on their career so that you can reap the reward in later life, you’ll put off a balance naturally. Spending more time grafting and working whether in the office or out of it means that your personal life is on pause. Deciding whether work is worth that kind of commitment is the first thing you should do, and if your career is that important to you, then you have to recognise that you may miss out. We live in a fast-paced world, and employers expect more from their staff every single day. On top of that, we put more pressure on ourselves to do better, to reach that bonus and to climb the corporate ladder. Have you noticed that your 9-5 day has turned more into an 8-7 day? With travel time and overtime, people are pushing themselves to do better, but this can lead to a burnout. We allow ourselves to be pushed in the hopes that we can further our careers, and even when our careers do not change we still do more.
Maintaining a balance in your work life and your personal life is going to be crucial for you to be able to be an effective employee and a better person. If you don’t work on a balance, you can end up burning out, which means you cannot keep going. Stress is normal occasionally at work – who hasn’t had issues in the workplace? But when you feel too overwhelmed to meet the demands of your job, there’s a problem. Burning out happens when you cannot function at work any longer. It’s like the brain just shuts off and refuses to cooperate, and burning out is like a physical injury. Lethargy, low immune system and even illness can manifest after a burn out and the idea of having to function and actually work feels like a foreign one. A burnout can also negatively impact your personal life. The feeling of not being able to cope, depression and the guilt of not being able to cope can mean that you aren’t able to function personally as well as professionally. Allowing your stress from work to infiltrate your home life can put your family in jeopardy. It’s easy to become self-involved when work is stressing you out, and taking it out on the people around you is a natural – if annoying – reaction. As soon as you feel like you are starting to drown at work, you MUST speak up. You may well be making a great impression with your ability to cope on the outside, but if losing you as an employee will hurt a business, then your employer will want to know how you are doing. If you choose not to speak up, you are putting yourself at risk.
There are some workplaces – especially those that are more physical, like building – that have a physical reaction on your health. Working in environments that are dust-heavy and working with big machinery can be a risk to your physical health and this means extra vigilance is needed. You could work for forty years in your job in a trade and not feel any impact to your health until much later. Working in an unstable environment, even with the right masks and eyewear, can still be detrimental to your health and it’s not unusual for builders to suffer work-related injuries and illness later in life. If you find yourself at the doctor’s office with an illness that has been brought on by years of working in dusty environments, you can find an attorney online here to help you through the process of getting compensated. Your work is supposed to ensure the right health and safety levels so that you aren’t exposed to dangerous materials. Unfortunately, whatever environment you work in, you can still be affected later on by it. If you feel like your workplace is causing you to have issues with your health, then you need to be honest with your employer and have them put more help into place so that you are living the safest, healthiest way that you can.
By maintaining a good balance between your work life and your personal life, you will notice a huge difference in your own immune system. It’s no secret that your mental health plays a huge role in how your body responds and your stress in the workplace has a direct impact on the way your body responds. Taking time to look after yourself – through a balanced diet, exercise and good communication in your relationships – is how you can eliminate those workplace stresses from finding a home in your personal life. This can limit immune system responses that end up in you being run down, full of flu and generally unhappy. Mental health is not a joke, and if you are taking care of your mental health you can generally overcome most stress reactions. Healthy living is such an important part of keeping your life balanced, so your diet and the rate you exercise should be taken care of without much incident. Looking after your health can make you feel great on the inside and when you feel good, this is reflected in everyday life.
Ask yourself this question: are you satisfied with your ability to meet the demands of your job as well as the demands of your family? If you are not satisfied by this, then something has to give, and it’s not going to be your family. Working in a job you don’t care for simply because of the money is not a reason to keep working there. Money may pay the bills, but if you aren’t doing something you love, you will never be able to function correctly. There will always be something that tugs you away from your job, or make you feel unhappy about what you are doing. You have two choices in this case: you can either retrain and do something you would love to do, or you can work with your current employer to make your work life easier and more flexible. This is always a risk, of course, as what you do may not have flexibility. But you cannot compromise your home life just to find a balance. You may be surprised. Employers are far happier to work with employees so that they stay productive people than to watch them burnout and hope that one day they pick themselves up.
The work/life balance is a much-debated topic. For some, it’s a no-brainer in that they need to have a richer personal life in order to enjoy their work life, but that’s not going to happen unless you can enjoy the time you spend away from the home and earning money. If you can find happiness in your professional life, then you will naturally have a happier personal life. You will be a happier person with a better outlook on things and able to function with energy every day. Making a conscious effort to see friends, eat well and get enough sleep can stave off the threat of depression. Doing something that you love will also make you happy. It may not be an easy challenge, to achieve that balance, but you have to at least try. Leave work on time instead of doing unappreciated overtime hours. Step away from your workplace and enjoy a lunch with a book in the park and enjoy that hour of fresh air a day. Learn to prioritise the things that make you happy. If there’s a work conference that you don’t necessarily have to be at, choose to spend time with the kids instead.
Your life, your wellbeing and your health all matter – you have to realise this. We live one life, so there’s no use spending the whole of your life working and working only to end up ill later on because of it. Find that balance and hold onto it with two hands!