As professionals we always strive for success, it’s an inevitable side effect of growing up in the first world, I suppose. It’s a common belief even among the younger generations: if you are successful at work then you are happy. The reality is far from it though; in order to be truly happy we need a balanced life, one where our success at work and the fulfillment from our after-work lives go hand in hand and one does not exclude the other.
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Work-life balance in terms of dedicating equal time to your work and after-work life is a myth; you simply can’t expect that happiness will find its way to you because you’ve managed to dedicate equal portions of your day to work and your after-work life. Achieving happiness in all aspects of your life is a balancing act that requires you to focus more on one aspect of your life at times and on the other at other times. So for example, if you’re dealing with a major family crisis it’s alright to let your work fall a bit behind, while if you are dealing with a major project at work it’s okay to miss happy hour to put in some extra hours. Achieving a better work-life balance is about prioritizing.
The reality however is that so many of us are not doing great with this balancing act. Work occupies so much of our time and it sucks so much of our energy that we often forget to be blissful. But as I’m sure you know work is not all there is to life, so in order to make the most of your experience on this planet it’s important to somehow manage to balance your life and the first step towards that direction is to keep an eye out for the signs that you need a better work-life balance.
1. You’ve Let Yourself Go
Work sucks a lot of our energy and a lot of our time, that’s why so many of us never get to go to the gym even though we keep wanting to. This lack of time and energy often leads to letting ourselves go and in fact this is one of the fist signs you should keep your eyes open for if you suspect that you are not correctly balancing your work-life experience.
We all like to pamper ourselves from time to time and if you can’t remember when the last time you did so was then you should really consider prioritizing yourself over anything else for a while. Dedicate an afternoon of the week to pampering yourself and make sure that you pen in this appointment with yourself in your calendar so that there’s no way you forget about it.
2. You’re Short-Tempered
We all get enraged at work from time to time; it just goes hand in hand with the responsibilities, the colleagues and the boss. But while it’s natural to get angry at work every now and then, this attitude should not leave work with you. You should in fact be able to let go of the work mindset when you walk out your office.
Losing your temper when there’s no real need for it is a sign that your work has been taking over your life. So, next time you lose your temper over something consider whether your reaction was legit or if you were over the top for no real reason.
It’s not always easy to become calm, and if you are a person with a lot of pressure at work this will be even harder, however it’s essential to find your zen zone so that you can improve the quality of your life. Consider whether yoga would help, or if some music and a glass of wine after work could help you achieve this.
3. Work is the First Thing on Your Mind
It’s true that many of us enjoy our work but even if you enjoy your work you shouldn’t focus all of your energy there. Other aspects of your life, namely your interpersonal relations, also require attention and if you’ve been neglecting those aspects for the sake of work then you definitely need to reconsider your priorities.
Being reluctant to let go of work is a sign that you need to work on your after-work life for a while, so check with yourself whether the first things that’s on your mind is always work and all you seem to really work for is work.
In order to break away from this attitude you need to change your routine so stop allowing yourself to check your work email as soon as you wake up, for example. Give yourself a chance to relax and enjoy the little things in life before you get in the work mindset.
4. Your Sleep is Suffering
If you’ve not been sleeping as you once used to it may not be that you are simply getting older, it might in fact have to do with work. When our work-life balance is out of sync our brain has trouble with letting go of work related matters and this might be causing you trouble with sleeping. So if you’ve turned into an insomniac, or if you’ve been sleeping less and less and can’t enjoy sleep then you’re probably in desperate need in some time away from work.
I realize that breaking away from work is not always easy, especially if you are a person who’s refusing to recognize the need to balance your life out. But it’s essential that you do because success cannot be achieved simply because you’ve stopped enjoying your life.