What does success look like? Does it mean you are financially stable, your relationship with your partner is solid, your children are happy, you are being promoted and provided financial rewards at work? Think about it, what does success mean to you? Now think about what does mental health mean to you? Do you believe that your work life contributes to your mental state? In one of my previous blogs I found a stat regarding how many hours a person will work in their lifetime on average (65,000 hours). 65,000 hours equals 31.25 years of work days. I can give you the formula if you want it. That is a lot of time to spend on one aspect of your life. Now think about that time frame and your mental state. Are you happy or are you spending all this time in an unhappy situation? Would you do the same if it was regarding your personal life?
I ask these questions because your work life plays a huge role on your personal life and your state of mind. Balancing your work life and your personal life is becoming an issue. There have been multiple studies done on how the fears of job loss incentivize longer work hours. A stat showed that more than 93% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week. This type of workday is damaging and can hurt relationships, health and overall happiness. Technology is adding to the problem and making professionals accessible around the clock. I know that in the past when I worked from home I had a difficult time turning off and being engaged with my family. Just one more email or I just need to log one more call. I had to force myself to stop. Of course, I had to learn the hard way, when things changed and my responsibilities were changed I realized, I am replaceable and it is all about the bottom line. It’s work, right, not my entire life. I also realized that it’s more than work, it is a big part of my life and if I didn’t get ahead of the issues, it was going to affect my personal life and my mental health. Let’s get into a few tips.
Work Balance Tips
Review your workload and set realistic goals to complete each task. Completing goals gives you a sense of accomplishment and control. When you feel you are in control you have less stress. Make a “To-Do” list and prioritize the items you write down. Evaluate what is essential, what can be done later, and what can be completed by someone else (delegate if you have the choice). Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help especially if you are feeling overwhelmed with all the tasks that have to be completed.
When you face a large project don’t procrastinate, our mind will make the task larger than it is and we will begin to feel it is impossible. Start by dividing the project into smaller tasks and complete the first task before moving on to the next. It’s good practice to give yourself a reward when you accomplish tasks. For instance, after completing the first two tasks, reward yourself with a short walk (maybe to the coffee shop or cafe in your office). Walking clears the mind and will get you prepared for the rest of the project tasks. The more time you spend being focused and productive, the less time you will spend procrastinating.
Everybody needs a break. Taking breaks are usually encouraged at most corporations. Some organizations have set rules to manage coverage. For instance, you work two hours you get a 15 minute break. Utilize these benefits. Like I said earlier, small breaks help clear the mind and keep you focused.
Music makes you lose control, JK. Listening to music at your desk and/or office can reduce anxiety and stress. Do you have a favorite song that pumps you up? I do, I listen to several songs depending on what I am getting ready to do. Like I listen to Mula by Big Sean (ain’t nothing more important) before I have to do a presentation. Get’s my mind right and pumped up LOL. When I am trying to get a project done, I listen to smooth jazz (no words). It relaxes me and I don’t get off track by singing the lyrics.
Tell the truth about your situation especially when you are in a bind or behind the ball. Chances are everyone will understand but don’t just complain, come with solutions and/or alternatives. Getting a team members point of view could help you with your completion strategy. Communication is key when you are trying to meet a deadline.
Are you a perfectionist? If so, let it go. You are in danger of burning out and fast. As you grow in life you find that your responsibilities are growing as well. First its just school, then after school activities, then your first job, then higher education (paying for it), then your career, family, etc. Now you have all of those things and all of the responsibilities that come with them. I AM EXHAUSTED!! But seriously, let it go, the pressure of being perfect in all of those aspects of your life will send you to a mental institution. Here’s the thing it’s pressure we are putting on ourselves. Great segue into the personal stuff.
Life Balance Tips
I have talked about this in a previous blog post “The Plug Walk” it is important to unplug when you get home. Recognize that the same technology that makes you easily accessible can also burn you out. You have earned the right to have some personal time so do it.
Break up the chores at home. If you have a family, divide and conquer. Meaning split up the chores and you will save time and have more time to spend connecting and catching up. If you are home alone, split up your chores by the days. For instance, meal prep on Sundays for the week and then dinner is done. Do laundry on a certain day. Grocery shop on a certain day. This allows time on each day to dedicate to winding down.
People don’t understand how busy you are. I mean how many people share their work calendars with their friends and family and vice versa. So try your best not to over commit. Remember we are leaving the perfectionist behind, take off the cape and sit on the couch. Over committing during your personal time will add to your stress and when it’s time to go back to work you will take that overwhelming feeling with you.
Count on your tribe. Wait do you have a tribe? Meaning your group of friends and family that you can count on for support. Chatting with your friends about life or just sitting and laughing about everything is very beneficial to your mental health. People with strong support systems handle stressful situations better than people without a support system.
Get up get out and get something. Go dancing, ride a bike, take a walk, go to the gym. Just get active. Activity helps reduce stress levels and regular activity reduces depression and anxiety. Activity is a good way to incorporate your family and friends as well so you can kill two birds with one stone.
Break it down. Start small when you are looking at changing things at work and in your personal life. We have all failed at the new diet trends, or attempting to go to the gym. More often than most it’s because we wanted a quick fix and didn’t take the time to change our behavior and make something a habit. Same for this topic, when we take on too much too quickly it will fizzle out. Start with one change and use the tools. Take the change you want to focus on and write a list, prioritize, and begin working on one thing at a time. Eventually it will become a habit and you can begin to incorporate some of the other changes you need to make. TAKE YOUR TIME THIS IS YOUR PERSONAL GOAL #mentalhealth.
Hope these tips help. See you next week! ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!!