If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life… or so they say.
But in reality, everyone needs to find a balance. Too much work, no matter how much you love it, CAN be a bad thing, costing you time with your family—and your health.
In fact, the UK’s Mental Health Foundation reports that over 40% of employees are neglecting other aspects of their lives because of work—which increases our vulnerability to mental health problems.
Consider these facts from MHF:
The more hours you spend at work, the more hours outside of work you are likely to spend thinking or worrying about it.
As a person’s weekly hours increase, so do their feelings of unhappiness.
That’s a good indication of how important it is to find a good balance between your work life and your home life, something many of us struggle to do.
But there are a few things you can do to help restore a good equilibrium…
Step away from your email. Put down your phone. Silence your alerts!
Sure, sometimes there’s an emergency that requires your attention outside of working hours, but your time away from the office is yours, so do your best to keep it that way. Let your mind shut off that part of your brain and enjoy your time off—particularly when you are with friends and family. Your loved ones deserve your attention.
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that everything has to be perfect—that the work project has to be just right, dinner has to be homemade, the washing has to be done, the house tidy, your hair and nails immaculate…
There’s not enough hours in the day for that level of perfection—and that’s okay! Try embracing the concept of ‘good enough’. It’s okay to leave the washing up for a day, get the odd ready meal, or leave a low-priority work task for the following day—especially if it means more time with the people you love!
This one isn’t just for your partner (though it is a little bit ). Studies indicate that bringing work into bed—whether it be on a mobile device or a paper brief—can cause less restful sleep or even insomnia.
Harvard Medical School says that it’s important to save the bedroom for sleep and sex only: “Keeping computers, TVs, and work materials out of the room will strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.”
The light from phones and other mobile devices can also disrupt our circadian rhythm, interfering with our sleep. So leave work out of the bedroom.
Being busy can give you a tremendous feeling of control—if you are the one doing everything, then you are in control of everything.
If this sounds like you, try to make the conscious choice to surrender control every now and then, both at work and at home. Get the kids to do the tidying up, for example—if they don’t do it perfectly, so what? There’s beauty in the messiness of life, too.
Have you ever found yourself so rushed around all day, first at work and then at home getting everything done, that when you go to bed at night you’re still so full of adrenaline that you can’t sleep?
You need to slow down—give your brain and your body the chance to relax! Focus on the moment, especially those everyday moments that we often don’t appreciate until they’re gone—like cooking dinner with your partner or watching TV with the kids.
Leave work on time, and take your full lunch break (no eating ‘al desco’)—you deserve that time for yourself!
You might be surprised how much more productive you are when you take your lunch hour to eat in the park and relax in the sunshine.
Make sure you have elements of your life that excite and challenge you that have nothing to do with work.
Take up a hobby, try a new sport, read your way through your favourite author’s entire body of work—whatever it is, it’s important to have something that feels like part of who you are that isn’t tied to work or family
If it’s hard to find time in the day to spend with friends and family, then start scheduling it in. And make it something NEW—be a tourist in your town, go to a new restaurant, take a walk around an unfamiliar neighbourhood.
Whatever it is, make sure it’s something you haven’t done before! That will help you really focus on the experience.
People live their best lives on social media, and no matter how much we know that social media doesn’t reflect reality, it’s still all too easy to judge ourselves against what others appear to be doing.
Combine that with work cultures that expect 110% and a society that seems to expect us to take care of every need for our partners and families, and it’s no wonder we end up feeling inadequate a lot of the time.
So stop judging yourself against others and set your own standards.
You know all those things you’re always thinking you should do?
Pick one and go out and DO IT. Right now.
Stop reading and go!
But first… share this post!
Okay, now go.