Creating a Work/Life Balance

How do you define balance? My own definition of balance is being able to work without overwhelming stress and to be able to enjoy my family in the midst of work life. Balance is an area that I have been trying to find and keep for many years. When I am balancing work life and home life it all really feels good. I am more healthy and happy. It seems at that time of balance, I am giving everyone in my life the perfect amount of attention and care. Projects flow well at work and my meetings are extremely productive. It is really the place I want to stay.

But there are those times when balance goes completely out the door. Stress attacks with a vengeance and I lose my balance and become totally focused on whatever has demanded my attention. In my case, it is most always my job. Very quickly things begin to go down. My health starts showing the signs of stress along with restless nights. Digestive issues are a key sign that I have too much on me. I begin to work in the overdrive mode which can last awhile, but sooner or later I begin to hit a brick wall and decline. I can push through for a time, but I am left with an overwhelming tired feeling for days. Burn out soon follows which affects my family life. Burn out to me is that I loose total focus. I have lost my vision for my personal and professional life. I get very depressed and just don’t even want to get up and go to work.

Does this sound familiar to you?

After going through this a million times, I have just about figured out how to gauge the warning signs and keep myself clear of a life with no balance. Understanding my limits and putting up boundaries at work has given me such a better outlook on life. My health is steadily getting better along with my attitude. When you are not completely worn out all the time you actually can feel good for your family.

What are some of the warning signs of burn out? These are some of the things to look out for: being mentally tired, a lack of sleep over a period of time, forgetful, putting work before family by missing events with the family, loosing focus, no patience, digestive issues, and many more.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to understand your limitations of how much you can physically handle. We are all different and how much we can handle. For me, I can overload myself by pushing too hard with too many projects. I have since learned to be selective in what projects I can handle. Also, understanding your personality can help you gauge what you can handle. There are some people that can handle only one project at a time and others can handle more very successful.

We all must understand our limits and know when too much is too much. I can tell when I have too much because I start getting stressed out and I bring it home with me. I am usually not a very “fun” person to be around either. I cannot seem to shake all the demands on me from my work. That’s when I know that something has to give. Realizing that a healthy life is so important in many ways is really the key to success in every area of your life.

I challenge you to examine your life and find those happy moments. The times when you are actually happy going to work and happy coming home. Write down all the departments or projects you are over at that time and evaluate how you feel and well are you handling your workload. If you find you are sick all the time due to stress and you are just not a happy person, then this is a pivotal point in your life to make some changes.

Remember that it is time to take care of you so you can take care of others at work and at home.

Creating balance is a sure way to live a healthier and happier life for yourself and others.

~ Chantell Cooley