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 organizations 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 stress 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 your role. Sometimes, you are in it so deep you can’t think logically, which creates even more stress. There are also multiple factors to consider when looking at stress and your job, especially considering that most people work because they need money to live and have career ambitions.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by your job, here are 10 ways to assist you in overcoming stress and restoring balance in your life:
1. Keep a positive attitude.
Keep things in perspective and be 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. Recognize yourself if you feel undervalued.
Focus on the value you create in your role. This is empowering. I was working for an organization where I felt I wasn’t being recognized, and I decided to flip it by recognizing everyone I worked with, no matter how small their actions. 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 you 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.
Taking time off to enjoy holidays/getaways is so valuable, 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's too late. Plan ahead and schedule your holidays. A regular meditation practice is also a great way to take 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.
If you're going through a tough situation, keep moving forward... don't set up camp and stay where you are.
8. Ensure that there is a balanced value exchange.
Some organizations will work you to the bone, so ensure that you are receiving the right amount of value in return. Whether that's through financial rewards, flexibility, career opportunities or training, ensure you are getting value back for the work you are putting in.
9. Utilize your support network.
Vent to them if you need in order to debrief and vocalize the stress out of your body. It's called "getting it off your chest" for a reason, because it helps to release some of your inner stress and restore more balance.
10. Communicate your stress to those at work who can help.
Your manager has a responsibility to care for you and your well-being. If you feel overwhelmed by your workload, raise it as an issue. I have ended up in the 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.
When works starts to cause more harm than good, then it is a good sign to move on to something else. Sometimes this might not be part of your plan, but 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 to doing so! Keep going! It can be achieved!
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