Lessons from a burnout: Preserve your health, relationships and sanity before it's too late.
July 5 is Workaholics Day. Rather than celebrating workaholics, though, it begs the question, "Is that much work really necessary or beneficial in your life?" Most workaholics tend to ignore the other important areas of their lives, so they fall short of creating a life that is joyful or fulfilling.
If you find that you spend too much of your time working, your life will soon be much less satisfying than it once was. It's easy to get caught up in your work. Sometimes you don't even realize it until it seems too late, but it's never too late to break out of the bad habit!
Try this assessment to see if your life is out of balance and you are working too much.
The Underlying Problem
Often times you get swept up with becoming a workaholic because of an underlying problem. It's true that sometimes you're just getting too much pressure at work to get things done on time, but more often than not, you'll find that you're using your work to hide from other problems.
Ask yourself these questions:
Are you working too much...because of financial strain?
Are you trying to avoid...your home life?
Are you using work to...avoid some other issue you're facing?
If you're overworking yourself because of financial reasons, you can only do it for so long. Sooner or later your mental and physical health will begin to suffer. You need to work hard with an end date in mind. If this doesn't work for you, perhaps it's time to find a better paying job.
If you're avoiding problems at home, you absolutely must concentrate on solving these problems. They aren't going to go away just because you've been escaping the situation. The only way things will improve is if you take action to resolve what's plaguing you.
Balance Out Your Life
Once you've solved any underlying problems, you'll want to bring balance back to your life. In order to wean yourself from your work, there are certain tips you can utilize to change your working habits.
Try some of these techniques:
1. Make time for yourself. Realize that you and your health are ultimately more important than your work. Self-care is not selfish. Schedule time for yourself and treat that time as more important than any of your other deadlines.
2. Unwind at the end of the day. Decide on a firm bedtime and respect your body's need for restoration. Decide when you're going to sleep and, approximately 30-60 minutes beforehand, engage in a relaxing activity that has nothing to do with your work.
3. Exercise. Incorporate a moderate exercise routine into your schedule a few times each week. Exercise will help you relax and release some of your stress from work. It's great for both your physical and mental health and is one more good way to wean yourself from overworking.
4. Take days off. You need days off from your work from time to time. It's just a fact. When you are on vacation or time off - leave work where it belongs and drop the mobile device leash to the office. If you have a traditional job where you have weekends free, you must spend them away from work. On your days off, avoid even thinking or talking about work. Let your mind be free!
Remember that these changes don't have to happen all at once, but you can start incorporating them into your life one at a time. Your life simply can't be all about work. Remember to spend time doing activities that you enjoy besides work.
The 20 Minute Program for Stress-Free Work/Life Balance
While overworking seems to be popular these days, it's extremely damaging. There's absolutely no reason to overdo it, even if you have bills to pay. In fact, the harder you push yourself, the closer you get to the end of your own rope!
It’s important to learn how to balance all the aspects of your life without just focusing on work. Sure, work is extremely important. It keeps your brain active. And it provides the income necessary for you and your family to survive. But it also wears you down, especially if you go non-stop.
Try this trick to balancing work with the rest of your life lies in a 20-minute exercise each day:
1. Five minutes for meditation. This activity at the beginning or end of each day is crucial. Meditation is proven to change the structure of your brain. Meditating can mean the difference between attacking your day with ferocity and approaching it with an aura of calmness.
Meditation centers your mind and calms your spirit. It also helps relieve any tension you feel about the day.
Meditation can help you focus on your inner power and remind you that you’re important to others which can motivate you to take better care of yourself.
2. Five minutes for planning. Once you've meditated, it’s time to plan your day. Planning means organizing your tasks so you can be productive without abusing yourself. Be realistic on what are your top 3 priorities for the day- and that's it!
Prioritize your tasks based on their importance or deadline.
Try your best to stick to the plan for the day. Having a clear plan for what you want to accomplish helps to keep you focused and stress-free.
3. Five minutes for checking in. Whether all at once or in one-minute intervals, check up on yourself. Assess how well you've been able to stick to your plan. Have you accomplished your important tasks? Have you been able to manage your day without losing your cool?
There may be times when you’ll have to readjust your list of tasks. There are bound to be unforeseen circumstances. But what's important is that you take them in stride.
Avoid letting unexpected events throw your plan out completely. Take a moment to change your approach. Learn how to go with the flow. I know, it's a hard thing to learn.
4. Five minutes for winding down. Now that you've come to the end of the day, it's time to wind down. You've probably never allowed yourself the opportunity to do that before. Taking time to wind down is the best way to relieve the stress of the day. If you cannot wind down, at least start your plan for the next day and write it down so you can have peace of mind tonight. The list will be there waiting for you tomorrow.
Engage in some relaxing activities. Do you like yoga or would you prefer to sit quietly and listen to your favorite music? Let go of what happened today and get ready for tomorrow.
Winding down also opens you up to spending quality time with loved ones. You'll probably agree that at the end of a busy day, you may be too tired to interact with anyone. That will change when you allow yourself to wind down each day.
Once you try it, you'll realize that this approach works. Designating these 20 minutes each day can help you maintain a balance between your professional and personal lives. It can also help you manage all other aspects of your life. And you'll enjoy a calmer existence that you didn’t think was possible!
Take some time today to implement just one or two of these strategies and you'll soon realize that there is life outside of work!
If you're like me - a former workaholic woman trying to be everything to everyone - check out my online course called Women EnPOWER for 5 hours of lessons that can dramatically change how you approach your life here.