Don’t Let Work Stop You From Being You
It shouldn’t hold us back and it shouldn’t overtake our lives
Work life balance has always been a very strong value of mine. It’s something that I personally believe is extremely important towards your mental health, your sense of freedom, and your overall well-being.
I’ve always had a firm stance that when it comes to your work versus your sanity, your sanity comes first every single time. My rule was always clear.
Don’t bring work home with you
Short, simple, and to the point— At the end of the day, work stays at work.
I pride myself in having many activities that keep me busy outside of work. To me, it means that my life that doesn’t revolve around the job — I run, write, travel, snowboard, enjoy live music, spend time with my friends, my family, my boyfriend. All of these things play a huge role in who I am. Work is just what helps me keep the lights on.
I understand that for some people, work truly is their whole life. And I would never criticize anyone for having that mindset or following that lifestyle. It’s just something that I don’t particularly believe in.
However, I do have to say that work has recently started to weigh itself heavier on one side of the scale and because of that, it’s been throwing me off entirely.
In work and in life, it’s a constant ebb and flow. There are high times, then there are low times. There are times when things are more on the calm side, then there are times when things seem so out of control that you feel like you’re a sinking ship.
Right now, I’m in the latter phase where things have become so overwhelming that it’s compromising the many parts of my life (outside of work) that I cherish and invest my time into.
And frankly, I hate the effect that it’s had on who I am lately. I hate the person that I’ve become.
I’ve become anti-social, pessimistic, anxious, bitter, and any other adjective that you can think of that’s synonymous to what I’ve already listed. Yet, none of these adjectives describe how I am when I’m the best version of myself…Then again, who’s really the best version of themselves when they’re under tremendous amounts of stress?
In times like these, it’s important to take a step back and check on your state of mind because it will eventually have consequences — On your mind, body, and soul. And even more so, it will have consequences on your relationships with your friends, family, and any other loved ones.
Which is why you shouldn’t let work stop you from being you.
Regardless of the line of work you’re in, you’re more than just your job title. Even as Writers here on Medium, I’m sure we don’t wholly define ourselves in that role — If you do though, so be it.
If you have a strong sense of self and you can pin point the immediate change that occurs within you when the stresses of work take over, you better do something about it.
If you don’t, it will take a toll on both your mental health and your physical health which will eventually render you completely unfit to work productively or efficiently.
I know it’s so much easier said than done and I myself have been having a hard time improving the situation. However, it needs to be handled before any further damage is done. And here are some things you can do to better the situation…
Plan your days carefully.
Use your calendar, whether it’s digital or on a piece of paper, to block out the time needed to finish the tasks that have to get done. Seeing things physically written down, such as goals, make them more attainable because it serves as a tangible reminder and gives us accountability.
When something is on your calendar, it’s less likely that you’ll forget about it. If anything, it’ll give you something to look forward to, anticipate, and prepare for.
Give yourself an outlet.
Whether it’s venting to a friend, grabbing a drink with a co-worker (but, don’t go overboard), or going to the gym, we all need something or somewhere to redirect our stresses in a [positive] way.
One thing that I’ve noticed with keeping my emotions buried inside is that it has only made me a more difficult person to be around. When I finally talked to my co-workers and friends about how stressed I’ve been, it made all the difference in the world.
Sometimes, we just need to let it out.
Don’t forget to eat.
The other day, I found myself “powering through lunch” and realized at 3pm that I hadn’t yet eat yet — highly unlike me. I barely felt my stomach growl and when I did, I completely ignored it.
Starving yourself doesn’t help the situation. As a matter of fact, it just makes things worse. It throws off your internal schedule and working on an empty stomach leaves you weak, fatigued, and agitated.
It’s understandable that sometimes we take on, or are given, more than we can chew. We just have to understand that we’re only one person; that we’re only human. As they say,
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
It’ll take time, but our work will eventually get done. We just have to make sure it doesn’t completely stop us from being who we are. It shouldn’t hold us back and it shouldn’t overtake our lives. Whatever it is that you do, know that you can take a break.
It’s just up to you to say when.