Be honest: Are you leading a balanced life?
It is common for people suffering from stress to be seemingly blind to it, although it may be obvious to others. The more we kid ourselves we are OK, the less likely we are to address it and the worse it is likely to become. If we are experiencing symptoms such as headache, vague aches or pains, swings in mood, increased worrying, loss of confidence and self-esteem or are too busy to relax, it is clear something is wrong.
If this is the case, there are many ways to improve or master better control of your life and the level of stress you are experiencing. Our suggestion: Experiment with moving towards a more balanced life. Even small steps can make a real difference. Here are some suggestions!
Could you spend less time at work?
How many on their death bed are heard to whisper, ‘I wish I’d spent more time at work’?! So, ask yourself: Could you spend less time at work, at least on certain days of the week? If you have to take work home, try excluding certain days of the week. Never take work home without the resolve to get it done that evening. It’s fatal to take it thinking, ‘I’ll see how I feel.’ You probably won’t get it done and then you will feel guilty and your self-worth will have taken a knock.
What are weekends for?
If you have used your weekend to really enhance your work/life balance in whatever way suits you, then early on Sunday evening you may experience the STB. The Sunday Teatime Blip is when the refreshing diversion of the weekend ends abruptly at the spectre of work in the morning. You are now at work in your head and your weekend break has ended prematurely. A good way to avoid this unhelpful state is to plan some activity or social get-together for the evening so that your mind is less likely to wander to work.
Contactable at home?
Other than in really exceptional cases, is it really necessary? Perhaps you can’t stop your boss, but what about your team? Are you that indispensable? Perhaps it makes you feel good? Perhaps they are just playing to your ego and letting you take decisions they should be taking themselves?
Why do today something which can wait until tomorrow?
Are you happy with your time management outside work? Maybe it suits you to have no plan and just chill out for an evening or a weekend. Perhaps that’s just what you need for once and it will do you good. But the law of reality dictates that you always have some household matters outstanding. You may be the sort who likes to deal with them before you can really relax or maybe you take the view that it can wait until you feel like it. Why do today something which can wait until tomorrow? All that matters is that you protect yourself from self-induced stress by arranging your time and responsibilities away from work in such a way that you don’t feel bad about it.
What about your holidays?
Do you always take your full annual allocation? It is misguided not to do so.
Get those clothes off!
Change into something different as soon as you get home. To some it may seem of little consequence but it is good psychology. Home is home.
Leave a Friday evening list!
On a Friday evening leave a brief list of the main things which will require your attention on the following Monday and then forget about them.
You don’t have to immediately put all of those suggestions into action, but consider which ones are easy to realize and stick to them. And keep in mind: even small steps make a difference. Good luck with all of this!
If you want to learn more about how to deal with stress and how to focus on the “important” aspects of your life, read “Stress and Work/Life Balance – Insights for Managers” written by David Newth.