Hi there lovely hope my latest post finds you well? Honestly I’ve missed you. Not sure if you’ve noticed or not, well I didn’t tell anyone or make any big announcements about it but I decided 6 weeks ago to stop and drop everything and take a 8 week sabbatical from work, social media and just shut down for a while and leave my business to its own devices.
‘Okay I know it’s only been 6 weeks and I’ve still got 2 weeks to go but hey! who’s counting…..’
‘Gosh I never knew that it was going to be the hardest thing I’ve done in a while’.It was really difficult for me because, … I do feel a little embarrassed saying this but,.. it was hard because of the numbers. Yes the number of followers and likes I had built over the years on my social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Oh! boy Instagram.
Trivial as this may all sound never the less I found myself struggling to shut down even though I was feeling so fatigued, lack of quality time with family, stressed, demotivated and maxed out of energy. I couldn’t stop because I had become so hocked on the numbers instead of my love for what I do. Life has become so much smaller and intrusive with the advent of the internet and all the different manner of social media apps and platforms.
‘Now anyone that knows me knows fine well I love the lime light, but there comes a time when you need to stop and reassess what it’s all about you know what I mean?’
Its time I got a life
If you think that work and family life balance is a small problem, you may be interested to know that, in addition to the few companies that have recognized the issue and taken the lead in establishing life balance programs, there are numerous organizations, foundations, universities and groups doing research on this topic.
Organizations as diverse as religious groups, government agencies, human resource companies and behavioral scientists now study these issues and, not just because it is the right thing to do. There are real economic advantages to companies that recognize the need for life balance and create a working environment to help their employees live their lives more fully.
Companies spend a lot of money training and keeping employees and happy employees will stay longer, live longer and contribute to the company longer. But, we are just scratching the surface in understanding the true human toll that an unbalanced life takes. Many have studied the evolving societal issues and their roots in overwork and lost community connections.
If you WANT more balance in your life but you wonder whether it is all that important, let’s talk about the reasons you NEED this balance.
“We are coming to understand health not as the absence of disease, but rather as the process by which individuals maintain their sense of coherence (i.e. sense that life is comprehensible, manageable, and meaningful) and ability to function in the face of changes in themselves and their relationships with their environment” ~ Aaron Antonovsky ~
Living an unbalanced life where work dominates can significantly affect your health. Long or stressful work hours can cause problems with your heart, your blood pressure, and your sleep cycles.
Studies show a significant increase in heart attack and stroke since the advent of seventy-hour workweeks. Long hours at work and lots of work related travel also encourages poor diet and leaves little time for exercise.
As we become more out of shape, sleep less and experience health problems, we are no longer the powerful asset to our employers, nor can we participate fully in a family and social life.
Emotional Wellness –
Your ability to give back to your family, friends and community, and your own emotional stability depends on a balanced life. As overly dramatic as it sounds, you are likely to experience emotional problems, need counseling and suffer from anxiety attacks or other problems if you have no time to decompress and relax.
There are numerous scientific studies on the benefits of relaxation, recreation and meditation. And these benefits are both physical and emotional.
You can’t be ready to take on the issues in your family, support your spouse, parents, siblings and children and your friends if you have no emotional stamina. If you’ve spent all of your focus and attention on work and you find yourself so tired at the end of the day that you don’t even want to talk to your family, you have a problem. And your family may not wait around for you to resolve it!
The societal impact of ‘all work and no play’ has damaged and destroyed many a family and the divorce rate continues to climb. Children grow up barely knowing their parents because they are away at work all the time. Family vacations are a thing of the past in many families. Vacations get postponed and many employees find themselves losing their accrued vacation time because they have ‘rolled it over’ for so many years and just NOT taken the vacation they deserved.
My 6 weeks sabbatical has been a wonderful time. I managed to take a 1 week holiday with my husband and no children. Spent some wonderful quality time shopping and eating out with my children and I actually had time to do some things that I’d been putting of wanting to do for so long, like write a book, more on that another time.
Your emotional reserves are depleted. You have no patience with yourself or others. You are short on sleep and even on time to think about what you want for dinner. Is it any wonder that psychologists and psychiatrists are busier than ever?
We have talked about the health implications related to ‘all work and no play’ but stress is its own health factor. Even if you like your job, if you have no time for anything else, stress will get you eventually. We’ll talk more about stress later and you’ll get some tips on how to eliminate or mitigate stress so that your body and mind will be better able to handle whatever comes your way.
For now, what you need to understand is that stress can affect your physical and emotional health and that, over time, it can make you very sick. If you are not in a position to change jobs or otherwise make a major change to relieve stress, learn how to handle it better. We’re not talking about taking five years of classes here. We are talking about simple techniques you can use to help balance your life. Remember that work/life balance is not just a question of the hours you spend in one place or another. It is also a question of how balanced you feel and how you react to things.
‘No matter how much time you have with your family and friends, you will enjoy it more if you are able to balance YOURSELF’. If you can become less of a victim of stress and overwork and take control of your own reaction to stress, you will live longer and be happier at work and at home.
Family and Community –
Government and university studies support the idea that the ‘all work and no play’ lifestyle contributes to divorce, dysfunction in the family, and lack of involvement and investment in the community and neighborhood. As the community grows apart and neighbors become strangers, emotional and family support for things like childcare, help with aging parents and support following trauma and tragedy become real issues.
The community turns to the government to supply services to fill this gap, taxes rise and people remain strangers. Families struggle with alternating schedules, and children fail to thrive emotionally and physically. Divorce is rampant and single parents are under even more stress with even less time to pay attention to children. So, things deteriorate even more! Role models for marriage, relationships and juggling time and family are important to a child’s adult relationships. If we do not provide those positive role models, we perpetuate the problem.
It is interesting to note that the generation of children now in the work force has started to rebel against jobs and employers that require ridiculous hours and dedication beyond the call of duty. They understand the toll this type of career takes on a life. They grew up in families that suffered this impact. Perhaps our greatest hope for change lies in this generation of seasoned veterans of dysfunctional families.
If your employer believes that your eighty-hour workweek is giving him more benefit, he should look at the statistics and information gathered by human resource companies and companies that focus on efficiency and productivity. It is a fact that the human brain needs downtime and rest and recreation to recycle. Think about your own life and the times when you had to work long hours to get something finished. Perhaps you found that you could barely focus after a certain number of hours. There is a reason that coaches that teach good study habits tell students not to cram for eighteen hours before an exam, but rather to spread out the studying and mix in recreation.
Take a walk; talk with friends to regain your clarity and focus.
If you and your employer truly want to take the best advantage of your time, you need to take time for yourself. You will spend less time reworking things you’ve done wrong, mistakes you’ve made and details you’ve missed. And your employer will get better quality and output regardless of your job. Pilots are subject to time constraints and can only spend so many hours in the air because airlines learned a long time ago that a tired and overworked pilot could make critical errors. In lengthy neurosurgery or heart surgery, surgeons take breaks and leave the operating room to clear their heads and rest.
Again, these habits and techniques were learned the hard way and only when critical mistakes were made did these work policies change. You wouldn’t want a tired doctor working on your open heart, would you?
Life Goals –
Everyone has goals. And you are probably no exceptions. You may have work and career-related goals like promotions, expanded responsibilities, and recognition as an expert in your industry. These are all fine, but be sure you don’t just focus on your job. Many people come to identify their success in life by their position in their job and the recognition they get there.
If they become disabled or sick, or if they retire, they suddenly find that they don’t know themselves anymore. They have no identity at work so they don’t know who they are. They may have lost family and friends or have become strangers to these people, unaware of the important events that happened at home while they were at work.
So, they have to get to know themselves and their loved ones all over again. For some, this is an impossible task. Be sure you set personal goals, family goals and general goals in your life for growth and happiness.
Whether it is going on for a Masters Degree in the fine art you love, learning how to fly a plane, or playing the piano, you should have goals that keep you involved in other parts of your life. While you are setting goals, don’t forget your family goals. Perhaps you have always wanted to go to Hawaii. Set the goal and a timetable and do it!
Remember that life goals can include giving back to the community and to others.
Thank you so much for taking out the time to read my latest post, I know it’s been a while, but I feel refreshed and raring to go. And as I promised some exciting things in store for you, so make sure you stay tuned. If you subscribe to my updates you will be the first to get notified of any new developments.
Thanks so much for taking out the time to read my latest article. I If you loved what you just read your more than welcome to take a look at other articles of mine here on LinkedIn.
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Rachael Aprill Phillips CEO and Founder of Rachael Academy and Rachaelaphillips. The online platforms that helps entrepreneurs and small business owners launch into their niche markets successfully. send me a message and let’s have a chat.