Pro Tips from a Recovering Workaholic
My work and personal life is full, hectic, and often moves at break-neck speed. Although I thrive in the fast-paced environment I have created, I’ve had to regularly evaluate my work/life integration to determine if I’m living my values and honoring my life as well as my career.
What I have learned is that I can’t do it all – all the time. So I have to think of balance or down time for me as something I can consciously plug in some of the time. I have also learned the hard way that burning the proverbial midnight oil leaves me drained and unable to run on all my creative cylinders so I need to honor my body’s need for sleep and relaxation.
So to all of the workaholics out there, here are some tips I am trying to incorporate into my life on a more regular basis. It’s been a slow process for me but the awareness was my biggest first step.
Listen to your body. Get the amount of sleep your body needs to function well every night and don’t compromise. If you are over tired and run down you will get sick and then it will take longer for your body to recuperate in the long run. Work smarter not harder to get the amount of sleep your body deserves.
Set clear boundaries. If you are the only one who stays late, works in the evenings and on weekends, something is wrong. Set boundaries and stick to them.
Eat real food. Eat whole foods – fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and proteins that are not processed and preservative laden. Take the time to prepare your lunch and bring it with you so you have control over your food (and don’t raid the vending machine) when things get crazy at work. Also take a break and actually eat your food slowly so you can chew and taste every bite. Studies show if you eat food quickly, you are more likely to overeat and gain weight. Back away from the computer and enjoy your well-earned lunch break.
Make time for friends and loved ones. Be present with your family and make time for those you love. Work is important but family is as well, so be in the moment when you are with them and spend quality time enjoying your loved ones and not thinking about work.
Get out into nature. Take a walk outside and stretch your legs and breathe some fresh air during your workday. A short break can help you regroup, refresh, and let the stress roll off your shoulders.
Step away from the computer at home. Avoid the urge to check your work messages at home all the time. Unplug from work and the technology that tethers you to it every now and then so you can enjoy some peaceful time at home. Create deal breaker boundaries and share with colleagues, so you teach people how to treat you.
Evaluate your life purpose. Reflect on what you are doing that is creating imbalance in your life and really think about your personal goals. Consider your behavior and your health and ask yourself if you are really happy and fulfilled. If you answer yes, then you may be ok with your current sense of balance but if you are unhappy then you are also in control of making a change for the better.
In this era of the Great Resignation, we must design our work and life to create our personal Great Aspiration.