Our lives have changed immeasurably since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. After patiently waiting for life to resume to normal, we are now moving towards accepting the way things currently are and adapting accordingly. One area this has been dramatically affected, is the way we work. We are now trying to juggle a career with the added pressure of coping with a new world, all of which can have a huge impact on our mental health. So what can you do to support yourself and make your working days a little easier to manage? Read on.
What does work-life balance mean to you? For some it may mean keeping up with an exercise and meditation routine, for others it may be spending enough time with family. Get clear on your definition and then delve deeper by asking yourself what would the consequences be if you didn’t uphold this balancing act? How would this affect you in the long term, in perhaps six months’ time? This exercise can really hone in on what you want to avoid and why making time for the things that matter to you is so vital.
If you don’t prioritise your time, then who will? Spending all day reacting and responding to everyone’s needs but yours, is a sure-fire way to burnout. Desperately want to get on top of housework? Schedule it in your diary and treat it like a meeting that you just can’t miss. Do you wish you could pursue your creative hobbies but feel it’s a waste of time with so much work on? Don’t fool yourself into neglecting what relaxes you and makes you feel at peace. It’s so important to mix work with activities that spark a genuine joy within us.
Stop the clock
Have strict start and stop times and don’t go over them. It’s easy to sit at your desk and keep working when you no longer have your daily commute. Create a schedule and adhere to it. Otherwise, you may find yourself working until 1am surrounded by pizza boxes and wondering why you’re not getting enough sleep. Honour your work time and your free time. Each is different and serves its own purpose. Don’t let ‘business hours’ become ‘all hours’.
Reaching out and connecting with your loved ones has never been so important. Talking over or laughing about a hectic week, changes, or struggles; is a great stress reliever. It reminds us that we are not alone in all of this. Whether it’s a phone call or meeting for a drink; make sure you are checking in with your nearest and dearest. Simply being there for each other and listening is a powerful way to feel supported and understood. It’s also a great reminder that we are not reduced to our jobs – we have lives outside of work and our careers do not define us; we are so much more than that. Don’t let emotional exhaustion creep up on you. Take some time to brainstorm and plan what work-life balance means to you and how you intend on tackling it in order to feel your best. At this time of tremendous transition, we owe it to ourselves to ensure that we are are putting mental health first, above all. Create the work-life balance you need in order to not just survive, but thrive.