After a year of all work and no play, and with freedom on the horizon, for some it will feel tough to re-establish that realistic and healthy cut off point from work.
Over the last year or so, because for many, home has been work and work has been home – boundaries surrounding working hours have become lax, and we may have found ourselves filling more of our evenings with work related activities. If this is the case, it can come as a shock when social events begin once more and due to the continued workload we set ourselves, we feel like we simply don’t have the time for anything else.
Something’s got to give. Of course, being unable to socialise in the last year, we may have been more generous with the hours we dedicate to work, however it could be time to regain that all important balance, and make a conscious effort to prioritise connections, social life and relationships, to avoid the risk of work taking over quality of life.
Hopefully the below pointers will be a helpful how to:
- Be strict with boundaries
Welcome a realistic and compassionate mindset. This comes with feeling content in the knowledge that everything can’t be done in one day! Try to prioritise your daily to dos, think: What’s urgent, what’s important, what can wait? And if it can wait – let it.
- Busy ≠ success
We put pressure on ourselves to be busy; sometimes assuming it will make others value us more. ‘Busy = productive = important.’
We set high standards for ourselves, wanting to pack too much into our day which then becomes unmanageable, leaving us feeling guilty or like a failure if we can’t keep up.
Ask yourself: Will your productivity or busyness lead to your family or friends liking you more? Does it make you a better person?
Being busy doesn’t make us more valuable, important or superior. Let go of the guilt / punishment that is associated with taking a break – after all, it’s a rest that helps us to thrive at work!
- Make time for you
Living a fast paced life of deadlines and to do lists – it’s easy to get lost in the process and we can find ourselves losing our sense of self – who we are and how we like to spend our time. When this is the case, it can feel easier to just keep working than to sit with ourselves and discover what it is we enjoy. Push through the struggle and get to know yourself again. Explore new things, re-establish old habits and make yourself a priority.
- Forever accessible
We are constantly reachable. Years ago we would say goodbye to a colleague when we leave work and see them again the next day. Now that colleague can reach us over text, phone call, social media, via email, or on LinkedIn!!
Once someone has been in touch, the guilt creeps back in, making us feel like we need to reply straight away.
How will we ever be able to switch off if we are constantly accessible? Be strict with screen time boundaries.
At the end of the day / week, consider what you are most grateful for? Is it the long working hours with minimal breaks, or that walk / meal / social event with a loved one? Which of the two will you remember the most? Use this as a driver for the following week when working to make boundaries sustainable.
I’m sure we all feel a mixture of emotions as lockdown continues to ease, some excited, some nervous, some unable to find the time. Move forward at a pace which suits you, but remember, sometimes that gentle push out of your comfort zone, to close that laptop and do something which will re-fill your cup, is not only a contributor to your health and happiness, but can boost energy, motivation and performance in the workplace too.
And on that note, I’m clocking off for the day!
Holistic Health Coach - Anna Whyte
The ‘Wellness with Anna’ philosophy focuses on taking a more balanced and holistic approach to health. Often, the tools needed to make a lasting change are already in your toolbox. I offer client led guidance in order to support the progress of an individual working to meet their personal wellness goals. I will not diagnose, treat or take responsibility for bringing about wellness change, but direct, listen and support development.
We work together on a journey to make health a main priority, both physically and mentally.