A few people have asked me recently how to create better balance in their lives. These people are professionals, managers and leaders in very successful organisations and they work very hard. They travel for work and spend long hours in an office environment, and are becoming increasingly overwhelmed by stress and work. My background is in the corporate environment so I know the stressed and exhaustion very well and when people mention the word stress in relation to their jobs I get a nervous tick.
So how do you create better balance in your life when your life seems to be so heavily tipped out of balance? It is so easy to advise people to stress less (after all how many times have you heard the phrase “don’t stress it’s only work”), but in reality it can be very difficult when you are consumed by you role. Sometimes you are just in it so deep you can’t think logically which creates bigger stresses. There are also multiple factors to consider when looking at stress and your job, considering most people work because they need the money to live and have career ambitions.
So if you are feeling a little overwhelmed by your job I have written 10 ways to assist in overcoming stress and restoring some balance back in your life.
1) Try to keep a positive attitude. By keeping things in perspective and being present in your role. Take each day and each situation as it arises. Even when you don’t feel like it pretend, it will pay massive dividends.
2) Recognise yourself if you feel undervalued. Focus on the value you create in your role. This is really empowering. I was working for an organisation where I felt I wasn’t being recognised and I decided to flip it so I started to recognise everyone I worked with no matter how small their action, the result was that in a matter of days I was receiving more recognition than I had in years! I created this through my actions and you can too.
3) Set clear boundaries. Set boundaries between work and personal time. Decide that you will not work past a certain time, or answer emails or calls in the evening. Setting boundaries helps regain power and will assist in restoring balance in your life.
4) Explore flexible work options - what does your company offer you? Flexibility at work has become the norm, so take advantage of options to help you deliver better.
5) Rest. Taking time off is so valuable to have holidays/getaways especially if you work a lot. Your body needs the down time to restore and you always return balanced from a holiday. Don’t wait until it is too late, plan ahead and schedule your holidays. A regular meditation practice is always a great way to have a mind break and bring yourself back into balance. People who meditate at work are more productive and stress less.
6) Make a plan. Be practical about your situation. Sometimes you can get so caught up in the emotion and exhaustion of work. Set a plan, write down tasks, deadlines and clarify your accountabilities, you may even be able to delegate some of your work.
7) Make sure you keep moving don’t just freeze where you are. If you are going through a tough situation, keep moving forward, don't set up camp and stay there.
8) Ensure that there is a balanced value exchange. Some organisations will work you to the bone, so ensure that you are receiving the right amount of value back. Whether that is through financial rewards, flexibility, career opportunities or training ensure you are getting value back for the work you are putting in.
9) Utilise your support network and vent to them if you need to debrief and vocalise the stress out of your body. It is called getting it off your chest for a reason as it will help you release some of the inner stress and restore more balance.
10) Communicate your stresses to those at work that can do something about it. Your manager has a duty of care of you and your wellbeing. If you are overwhelmed by workload; raise it as an issue. I have ended up in hospital in a life threatening situation because I was overworked in the corporate environment. As much as we like to think we are irreplaceable we’re not. You are replaceable at work, your heath on the other hand is not.
My rule of thumb is that when works starts to cause more harm than good then it is a good sign to move on to something else. I know that sometimes this might not be part of your plan but after all please keep in mind that you do have a choice. You can restore the balance in your life, acknowledging that you are out of balance is the first step, keep going it can be achieved.