Good thing the 2018 Work-Life Balance Conference was held. Who has been getting the right amount of work/life balance nowadays? The said symposium really opened a lot about people nowadays having to work the whole night and the whole day just to get things done. Others may sleep for a few hours or take a day off but always in a hurry to finish a task.
“When two individuals choose to form a marital union, their decision has enormous power—for better or for worse—over the quality of their lives. Their marriage can bring them infinite blessings or can usher in disappointment, strife, anger, and depression,” says Susan Heitler Ph.D.
How do you think a married couple treats each other after years of being together? “Profound romantic love is characterized by the wish to be with the partner all the time. This, however, can harm each one’s personal space,” says Aaron Ben-Zeév Ph.D.
When they remain in love, you will see the wife making breakfast or preparing the husband’s stuff, and vice versa. Once that fades but the friendship stays, they will still perform activities as a tandem and perhaps understand one another more. However, if the love is there yet work is starting to put a wedge in between the couple, the marriage might suffer big-time.
Below are the red flags showing how that will possibly take place.
- You Have Irregular Shifts
The continually changing operating hours only suits single individuals. In case you have to cover different shifts after every week or so, that’s just okay in the beginning or if you work around the same time as your better half. Once he or she complains that you are never home when they are and turns bitter anytime you need to go to the job site, though, then the sign that your marriage is in jeopardy becomes as clear as day.
- If Your Spouse Cannot Listen To Your Talks About Work, You Become Detached
When you get hired by a new company, your better half will most likely be as excited as you are and want to know everything about your projects, how your colleagues treat you, et cetera. Considering the eagerness already dies down because your job is all you wish to speak of with your spouse, however, you may think that he or she isn’t happy for you. Thus, you talk less to them unless the subject concerns the bills and what-not.
The reality is that any sane husband or wife loves to see their significant other succeed in their chosen craft. It’s just that you might be overdoing it, and there’s no time for you to talk about various things, such as the spouse’s work, the kids, and many more. Think about that next time before getting angry whenever they feign disinterest regarding your job.
- You Bring Home Stress From Work
Another red flag is letting stress come with you from the office. When that happens, your patience level is undoubtedly not that high; that’s why you might pick a fight with your significant other over the tiniest mistakes.
Now, in case you have a super understanding husband or wife, they will know better than to egg you on at that moment. But remember as well that you married a mortal – not a saint – so you should control your mood swings and avoid bringing stress back to the house.
- You Forget Significant Occasions
The final nail to the marriage coffin is losing track of all the relevant events that you used to celebrate together. You can stay in the office for eight hours straight and even work overtime, but it’ll be great if you don’t forget to come home early for special occasions like anniversary, birthday, et cetera. Your lack of recollection of those dates might make the spouse feel as if the job already replaced family on your priority list, and that can’t be good.
Loving your job isn’t a crime. The work gives you the ability to pay for your expenses instead of making your husband or wife shoulder them. Despite that, do not love it more than your spouse. That will ruin your marriage, for sure. “The decision to get married might entail a confrontation that seems adversarial and awfully unpleasant,” says Susi Ferrarello Ph.D. It will take a lot of work and effort if you want it to last.
Knowing that you are in a relationship with ‘the one’ allows a sense of serenity to wash over you. In case you used to speed through life in the past, you now wish to slow down the time so that you can stay with that person longer. Being stuck in a traffic jam or waiting in a long line to enter a restaurant does not bother you as much as before too, considering it gives you the opportunity to talk to or think about the love of your life freely.
Has anyone ever mentioned that you cannot have everything you wish for at once?
Sacrifice, according to folklore, after all, is the key to success. You need to give up on one thing to achieve something. Thus, you may see that some people choose to be a stay-at-home parent and leave the corporate world or remain in the workforce without thinking of starting a family.
There’s nothing wrong with striving hard for you to achieve your desired career goal and at the same time be a loving and responsible partner. The thing is, wanting to have both is seemingly impossible due to the demands required on each side; there’s just so much to do that neglect without compromise happens, mostly taking for granted current relationships. But as what Dr. Jim Healy, counseling psychologist, quoted, “You may find that you can modify your job expectations in order to leave more time for family.”
No Is No
Are you always there when your boss needs you? Do you set your ringtone loud enough to wake you up in the middle of the night just in case a problem suddenly arises at the office? In a demanding position, it’s common to feel “on call” at all times, just in case some unforeseen need arises, says Erika Boissiere, a licensed marriage and family therapist. Are you the type of person who leaves a dinner date so that you can go to the office to double-check on a file that you already submitted? If your answer is resounding “yes,” then, congratulations, you have officially become a work zombie.
Avoid the incessant and increasingly ludicrous demands by mobilizing the power of saying “No.” Think before you agree on something that will eat up a lot of your time or is something that is not worth your time at all. If you can’t answer immediately, tell the person that you need a moment to think about it and that you’ll get back to him or her in a while. However, if you believe that you cannot do what is asked of you because you have someone waiting for you at home, just blurt it out and don’t hesitate to say no.
What Happens At Work, Stays At Work
Do not bring work home or do not even entertain any work-related thoughts that go inside your mind when you’re somewhere else. Once you step out of the office, anything that you haven’t finished for that particular day, you can do it the next day. If you are bothered that you have extra work lying around that you might forget, write them down as reminders on a post-it and stick it on your desktop monitor. Acknowledge that there will be work that requires more than 8 hours to finish and which can be done the next day.
Forbid Checking Emails
Banning all employees to check their work emails the moment the clock strikes six is an excellent made-up law because this will force everyone to obey and stay focused on other important aspects of your life like family and friends. Although, it might be a bit tricky not to log into your email due to that twitchy feel of your fingers wanting to take a peek if there’s an announcement from work or an email from the big man. Often, checking of emails while you’re at home or having a vacation is not added productivity but just unnecessary and untimely stress. Daniel J. Levitin PhD, a cognitive psychologist, writes, “An email that you know is sitting there, unread, may sap attentional resources as your brain keeps thinking about it, distracting you from what you’re doing.
Do Not Reply Immediately
As much as possible, make them wait for your response. Do not come running around in an instant if you see that there’s a new email sent to you or that there’s a new notification in your company’s group chat. A pretty good technique to set ground rules and prevent incessant requests is to make it clear that a response will be provided within 24 to 48 hours. On the other hand, if you received a text message which requires an immediate response, you can always opt to say no. The point is, you are trying to tell people that you are a person who has a life and is not tied to his or her desk.
Admittedly, these techniques are hard to apply especially if you are just a new member of the team or are continually struggling to be promoted. But if you’re really determined to reach your goals and still be a good partner, you should know how to handle your time, as well as the people around you.
Ever get that feeling that no matter how intricately you’ve planned, there’s still not enough time in a week to fulfill everything? “As life gets more expanded it’s very hard, both neurologically and psychologically, to keep that habit of perfection going,” says Marilyn Puder-York, PhD.
If you find yourself always hustling, always wrestling with every hour of every day, you are not the only one. Apparently, the more obligations or responsibilities that fill your plate, the more difficult it becomes to get the sweet taste of that sense of equilibrium. Even so, achieving work-life balance is not impossible.
The demands of the current economy weighing in on people who have full-time jobs with side tasks create a feasible struggle in attaining work-life balance. So how can people successfully cope with the demands of their professional life without compromising their personal lives?
Recognize Work As A Choice You Make
Creating and maintaining a business necessitates relentless concentration which consumes a tremendous chunk of emotion and energy. Therefore, you have to ensure that you don’t sacrifice a lot to reach the goal, making sure that whatever challenges that you are about to face are channeled into constructive alterations. Remind yourself that work is a choice you make every day, and despite the increasingly overwhelming sense of duties and responsibilities, you have the freedom to do whatever you want. That said, do not devote all of your time striving for your business to succeed; there’s always another day for that. End your days doing the things that you love or you’re passionate about. “If you have an intense work schedule, intentional, mindful nurturing of your relationship is essential” – Erika Boissiere MFT.
Center On Yourself
Building structure while achieving balance has always been a struggle in the business field, and even though you claim that you have “switched off” entirely to make time for personal needs, you’re never really truly gone from work. It is an exasperating experience that even if you’re someplace else enjoying a glass of margarita, your mind is still bothered by the presentation that you’ll have to do in a couple of days, thus, the reason why people can never attain work-life balance.
You have to remember that once you step out of that office, you leave everything behind and focus on making time for the things that you want to do. This is how you center on yourself. Make sure that you get enough amount of rest and sleep so that your mind is equipped with clarity and sensibility. During the weekends, go out with your friends or power down on vacation to find yourself that well-deserved balance. Reflections at home are also ideal. Just see to it that distractions like phone notifications are turned off, so you are not itching to check or respond.
Be Inspired And Encouraged By Other People
While it is sometimes overwhelming to create a plan on how to achieve work-life balance, some people have successfully done it, and the secret is by drawing inspiration and encouragement from the people around you – your colleagues. Work can become so stressful that it bleeds into life. Finding strength from your core group to conquer and accomplish tasks efficiently and successfully is necessary.
Furthermore, these work individuals can positively embolden your spirit to indulge in common passions. Choose your company by surrounding yourself with people who match your spirit and enthusiasm, which can lead to an earnest crusade to better yourself. Quoting Kathy Caprino LLC, a career and executive coach, “People who inspire and uplift others have done the work to heal their wounds.”
While all of these tips provided are easier said than done, the technique is to primarily work with people who challenge and stimulate you to grow. Aside from making work less demeaning and stressful, supportive co-workers also provide a boost of energy that people require to face a tough day ahead. Lastly, never underestimate the little amount of time that you give yourself on a daily basis because this is your intentional self-care.
People have a love and hate relationship with procrastination. “Usually procrastination happens because the task seems too difficult,” said A. Chris Heath, MD, a psychiatrist who practices in Texas. There are days where people basked in the pleasure of lying in bed all day in their pajamas while watching television or Netflix. People crave the moments of chilling out and doing nothing. However, after these lazing around sessions, individuals also beat themselves up for being unproductive and spending precious days literally doing nothing but the secret of having a healthy and happy life is finding a balance between work and rest.
“If you have an intense work schedule, intentional, mindful nurturing of your relationship is essential” – Erika Boissiere MFT.
Have you ever felt exhausted after long hours of work and yet your table has still a towering height of papers scheduled for completion? Have you ever had a day where you feel like you’ve been working your heart out, thinking that you were busy that even taking your lunch seems to be impossible, but still at the end of the day, you find yourself halfway through meeting your deadline? Frustrating, isn’t it? Unsatisfying, indeed, that despite your effort to go to work and meet all your deadlines, it’s still not enough because you’ve only been busy with work but not productive after all. According to Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., “While more hours in the day might be nice, it’s not necessarily lack of time that stops us from completing tasks and accomplishing our goals.”
Work can definitely cause stress. Meeting deadlines, constant demands of bosses, constant complaints from customers, and even dealing with the quirky personalities of your co-workers, are all examples of situations that can increase your stress level.
Mental health is very significant these days. In one viral post by an employee asking for a mental health break, the entire working force was encouraged to push the idea that one should give importance to one’s mental health status. According to Patricia Harteneck, Ph.D, “Mental health is much more than a diagnosis. It’s your overall psychological well-being—the way you feel about yourself and others as well as your ability to manage your feelings and deal with everyday difficulties.”
If you are working the 9 to 5 grind, balancing work and family time, dealing with deadlines and demanding bosses, your mental health can be compromised. As this happens, you will see that there are changes in your productivity, relationships, and outlook in life. Experts believe that taking time off from work can change one’s perspectives towards a stressful environment. We recommend that one should also go into the habit of having a mental health planner to monitor and track one’s mental health status.
What is a Mental Health Planner?
My college friend and I started this a long time ago as we are preparing for our thesis and final defense. The last year in college is taking a toll on us, so we decided to work on it. In order not to lose sight of our wellbeing, we devised a planner to track our habits and see if there was a significant change in our behavior and mood. “When we translate an experience into language we essentially make the experience graspable.” Dr. James Pennebaker, a well-renowned social psychologist, wrote.
The planner consisted of the following significant pages: (1) Prioritize this week!, (2) Water therapy, (3) Physical Activity, (4) Gratitude Log, and (5) Mood tracker.
Prioritize this week!
We need to identify what needs the most important thing to do – that something which is highly required to accomplish among anything else. Focus on these things before moving forward to other tasks. This way, you are exclusively dedicated to completing the work and give all your best, review and make any relevant changes then start a new task. “High achievers put effort into their work and never miss deadlines, even though some may complete a task minutes before the cutoff point,“ according to Mary C. Lamia Ph.D. You can also modify this by breaking the tasks into chunks. If you think that all that you have listed are important and needs immediate attention, cut them into several parts and allow equal time to work on them until it is completed.
Hydration is essential to energize body cells. Studies show that dehydration can lead to slow brain activity and slow physical activity. The recommended daily water intake is 1.5 liters to 2 liters per day. There are many creative ways to incorporate water therapy into your planner. You can jot down the number of glasses you have taken, or tally the frequencies that you drank water for the day. If you are on the techy side, many available digital apps can help you track your water intake.
I am not really into exercising, so this is the hardest part of my planner to accomplish. However, research has provided significant information on the relationship between depression and heightened levels of anxiety and the lack of physical activity. I started doing morning walks and some strenuous exercise like joining a dance class twice a week. So far, I am enjoying the routine and the company of other participants. The more you are moving, the more endorphins are released from the body, thus making you more happy than depressed.
Anything that you are thankful for, you can write it here. If someone praises you for excellent work done, write it down. Something that is positive uplifts one’s mood increase self-esteem, and it can contribute to one’s mental wellness.
What is your mood today? Are you grumpy, anxious, nervous, anxious, fearful, happy, sad, sleepy, tired, etc.? In a month, after doing this tracking activity, look at this page and observe how your mood fluctuated (or maybe not all) and relate them to your daily activities? Has it affected your dealings with other people or with your work? This is a great start to check on your emotions and behaviors and makes changes along the way.