Being unbalanced in the way you approach your work and your home life can cause unnecessary, excessive stress. By using Choice Theory principles it’s possible to create a wonderful work-life balance.
You know that having an unbalanced work and home life is stressful, unhealthy, and ultimately unsustainable. I’m sure you’ve heard lots about the importance of maintaining a healthy work/ life balance. But what does it actually mean? And how do you do it?
It probably means something unique to everyone. But the two most important aspects are: –
•What does it mean to you? If it’s helpful write that down.
•What should it mean to you? This is an important question. Often as adults, we end up taking care of everyone but ourselves. We believe that if we meet everyone else’s needs, our needs will be automatically met. This isn’t true and if we’re experiencing high levels of stress we’re not meeting our own needs well enough.
You may be meeting KPIs at work. You may be cooking healthy, tasty meals, keeping a house and yard your grandparents would be proud of. You may even be maintaining a great relationship with your significant other. But if you’re feeling stressed something is missing. Your work/life balance may be out of whack.
When there’s not enough time to meet your needs authentically, the next best thing is a bit of pleasure-seeking right? Wrong! Pleasure seeking is like skimming the top off your stress to avoid it boiling over. Of course you need some simple pleasures: cake, Netflix, wine and even the odd bubble bath if you can squeeze it in. But spending a significant proportion of your available time doing these things, when you know there are bigger things to address, is going to lead to trouble down the track.
This Sounds Crazy!!
Does this sound crazy to you? Pleasure-seeking is often seen as a legitimate way to achieve a good work/life balance and manage stress. But this is simply not true. If you’re doing this regularly something in your life is out of balance.
One of the clearest examples is a parent who claims they don’t have time to exercise, has a sedentary job, and is overweight. Everything else appears to be working. Their job, partner, kids, even the house are all going well. But they’re ignoring their own health and are overweight. They’re probably choosing pleasure, e.g. watching mindless TV, eating junk food, too much social media, instead of authentically meeting their health needs.
Your Wellness Scale
Grab a journal and create a simple scale from 1-10. 1 is you at your worst and 10 is you at your best. Describe what you look like at an 8-10?
Can you see a version of yourself and your life that’s balanced and healthy? If not, create one. Few people want to see themselves stressed, unfit, overweight, or working so much that they never get to spend any time with their family and friends.
Take a little time to think about this and write it down. It might take a while to get it right. It doesn’t need to be a novel. It can be just keywords but if you find yourself wanting to write don’t stop yourself.
When you’re happy with the vision you have of yourself as an 8-10 put yourself on your scale as you are now.
The gap between where you are now and where you want to be contains the things that you may be avoiding. In this gap are the areas that need addressing so that your work and home life have a healthy balance. Are you overweight or unfit but your ideal vision of yourself is slim and fit? Do you see yourself involved with your church but in reality, you’re lucky if you make it once a month?
There may be a number of different things that need addressing. Prioritise them. Make a plan that’s realistic and achievable to work towards being the person that you know you can be. How you do this is completely up to you. You might choose to work on one area before moving on to another. Or you might work a little each week in a few different areas. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just that you do.
For Best Results Take This a Step or Two Further
If you’d like to take this a step further we have an amazing online course. It takes you through a complete process of understanding where the stress in your life is coming from and what you can do about it. So if you’re ready to really get to the underlying causes of your stress and anxiety click here.