Work-life balance is a big topic those days, probably because we feel that creating such a balance is impossible. What if we switched our vision on that issue? We all have the tendency to see the world either as good or bad, as interesting or boring, or as nurturing or starving. Even in my blog, I usually present a good and a bad side and reflect on ways to go from good to great. Aren't we a mixture of good and bad, interesting and boring, nurturing and starving?
Their are conditions that foster our darkest side as well as our brighter one. We should have a look at them in order to create work conditions that allow relaxation and anticipate the ones that create stress. When it comes to work-life balance programs, we should look at them in an integrative way. Work is part of your personal life as your personal life is part of your work. There is no way to really disconnect one from the other. We are subject to stress at home and at work. This means that we have to find ways to reduce the impact of stress in both personal and professional life. Stress is useful as long as you do not feel pressure from it.
In theory, we know how to reduce stress but in practice we do not take the actions necessary to reduce it. We have to learn how to implement those stress reduction strategies in our lifes. Usually, we see ourselves as victim of stress when we actually are part of the problem.
Living a stressful life may not really bother you but in the long term your physical and mental health may pay a high price. You could go through a burn out or simply get so tense that your relationships at work and at home may suffer. Take the time to reflect on the source of your stress but do not stop there. Take action. Even 10 minutes of reading or relaxing can help you lower your stress.
Negative Stress affects:
- Mental Health
- Physical Health
Stress reduction strategies:
Identify your stress factors: This means also to take the responsibility for the stress you are causing to yourself: Being always late, procrastinating, not taking notes, avoiding...
Feed yourself well: Take the time to eat and eat well. Decide in the morning that you will eat healthy and not fall for a fast food.
Exercise: It is maybe time to go to the gym or take the decision to avoid escalator, lift and so one.
Sleep well: Your body rests when you sleep. The quality and length of your night will influence your reaction to stress.
Take time to do nothing "productive": Learn how to do nothing and your imagination will wonder and drive you to possible break through.
No phone & computer rule: There should be moments in the day when no screens are on. You will be present for the people around you and for yourself.
Discover the artist in you: You link to sing? Enjoy the traffic jam to let your artistic side illuminate the time alone in your car.
Set boundaries: Say "no" when you are not able to fulfill a request. It will save you time, energy and probably confrontations.
Differentiate "should" & "must" do: Your priority should be to execute all tasks that are a "must" and evaluate if someone could help you with the "should" one.
Avoid useless stress: There are situations when you can avoid stress such as not starting a discussion about your favorite team with someone who dislike it.
Accept what you cannot change: The weather, people's emotions and many other things are not under your control. Just let it be and learn how to detach yourself from it. This is a good time to use your sense of humor.
Forgive yourself and others: No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes. Learn from them and do not judge people because of their them.
Express your feelings: Say it out loud. Today was not your day and you would like to be left alone. That's ok as long as you do project your anger on others.