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Stresses of work-life balance - Article by Callum Parker

Life throws all kinds of stress at us. Commonly it’s the balance between work and home life that can be the biggest strain on our brain. Others struggle with their workload, but some people are wired to worry and stress about anything and everything.

One for the Work-life balancer

This is the most common stress most people face, it applies to almost everyone. Do you ever get that feeling that all you do is work? That you just want to press pause on it all and ‘have a breather’. You’d be surprised at how many people feel like that. The worst feeling is when you have a dream about being at work, that’s the sign of a long week and much needed time off.

Stress is awful but there are ways to help with this balance and make it not feel like you are living for the weekend. One of the greatest skills you can master is the art of ‘switching off’. It’s home time, you’re leaving work, but you can’t get out of work mode. You are thinking about tomorrow and the work you have to deal with in the morning. Stop. Once you leave your workplace you need to develop a way to leave it there. Nobody likes to do overtime but bringing that stress home in your mind with you is overtime.

A lot of people have a ‘winding down’ routine at the end of a day, it’s a way for your brain to prepare for ‘home mode’. A few suggestions I have are routines that I’ve had in the past that work for me. One of my favourites is to make a to-do list of what you need to do tomorrow, this works a treat because you leave it on the paper at work rather than in your head until the next morning. Another is to spend your last five minutes tidying your desk and getting rid of any cups and rubbish lying around that may be there, then the important bit is to leave once you’ve done it. Don’t go back to your desk, just try it. Another one that sorts me out is to have a sing in the car on the way home. Get a playlist full of sing-along bangers and have a solo performance. It sounds silly but works wonders for me, Mardy bum on full blast gets me out of work mode in no time.

Finally, one thing that doesn’t help the work-life balance is when you’ve had an awful day at work and you’ve got a bunch of things to do when you are going/get home. Get it all done straight away. Just dig deep and get the tasks sorted and completed. The sooner you get it done then that leaves more time to relax for the rest of the evening.

One for the workload worrier

It’s a horrible feeling when you’re buried under a lot of work. Especially when its time sensitive. I came to the realization early on that my career as a designer is entirely based on deadlines (as a lot of careers are) and that was an awful feeling. I’m always on the clock and conscious of the time that I have for certain projects to be finished in time.

Luckily though, I’m a freak when it comes to planning, my lists have lists. The method I’ve found that works for me is to firstly, list all the work that needs doing. Then I begin to sort them in priority order, this way I ensure the more time-sensitive tasks come first which already makes you feel so much better when you get them ticked off. Then, depending on the project size there will be sub-tasks that make up the bigger tasks. Once everything gets broken down it’s much easier to work your way through them all. The important part is to not take on too much work at once and focus on one task at a time. Jumping between tasks and worrying about the others will slow you down and you’ll become overwhelmed quickly. Now I know that not everyone is programmed this way but if you can begin to bring this into your work life it will help.

The other way to cope with a large workload is one that often gets overlooked. Asking for help. If you have the benefit of working in a team then reach out to your colleagues and see if they have time to lend you a hand. Alternatively, you can discuss this with your manager so you can both set realistic targets and balance your workload out better.

The most important section

Stress is a rotten thing. It’s a thing that we all experience at some point or another. The important part is how you handle it. You need to get ahead of it and try your best not to let it overwhelm you. Ask for help and remember that stressful periods will pass. You’ve just got to stick it out, storms always pass.

If you are chronically stressed and all these self-help blogs don’t work then please seek help. Stress and depression can sometimes go hand in hand and you aren’t always aware. Sometimes people need more help than reading a blog about ‘Top ways to relieve stress’.

There are a few places to get help and I’ve linked a couple below

This is a link to Mind – a charity that specialises in mental health. This is their guide on stress: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/stress/#.XMcF1-hKiHs

Additionally, if you feel you need professional help then get in touch with your GP as they can help you in more ways than you’d think.

Alternatively, there is a new service by the NHS for psychological therapies. https://beta.nhs.uk/find-a-psychological-therapies-service/

Looking after yourself is the most important thing.

 

Written by Callum Parker
Cal is an experienced Graphic Designer with a demonstrated history of working in the learning and development industry. Skilled in Graphic Design, Animation, Communication and Social Networking. Strong arts and design professional with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) focused in Digital Media Production from Sheffield Hallam University.

 

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