A topic that’s been on my mind for a while is our definition of success, particularly when it comes to our professional lives. Ultimately, I believe it’s the source of a lot of stress, and can end up being the cause of burnout and other mental health issues we experience at work.
I was recently listening to the Go2Thrive podcast (episode 1), and as they were talking about the work-life balance, one of the guests brought up the interesting topic of “rest and recovery”.
This sparked something in me. Having previously written that the “work-life balance” can seem pretty binary, and that balance will look different for everyone, it occurred to me that rest and recovery is quite the same.
At the very basic level, we all want to do our best at work (unless you really hate your job). We want to make sure we’re doing what’s required, so our colleagues enjoy working with us and we can keep our jobs.
Whilst we busy ourselves with the basic requirements, there are many things that can get in the way of us doing our jobs properly – and I don’t mean finding a sense of purpose. While it’s extremely important and will help you be more engaged, before you’re able to reach the Holy Grail of purpose, first you need to get through the day.
The work life is balance is a concept that is constantly being sold to us. In particular in today’s context of increased pressure and burnout, we are all running after it as if it were some sort of treasure. Countless articles are out there telling us how to find it, in fact I myself wrote one a few years ago.
Today I’d like to talk about what happens when work takes over your life. By that I mean more than working long hours, I’m talking about when work starts to ruin your social life, your relationships and your health. When it changes you, to a point where you’re not who you used to be. What can we do about this, and how can we prevent it?
If you are faced with some sort of mental health issue, you know that certain situations can “set you off”. If you suffer from social anxiety, going to large gatherings or parties may not be good for you. Or if you suffer from depression, an argument with a friend or a negative comment might start you spiralling into negative thoughts that it’s hard to get out of.
It’s difficult enough having to deal with these situations on a daily basis, but it’s an added challenge dealing with them at work. How can you ensure you will remain composed? How do you keep your emotions under control with your colleagues? How do you get away if you need a moment to collect yourself? I try to provide some answers below…
I’m pretty sure that at least once in your life you’ve thought to yourself: “that’s it, I quit!”
If you haven’t then you are one of those very fortunate people who gets to do a job they love, or else perhaps you’re delusional… Just kidding!
More seriously, I don’t think there are many people who have not gone through a difficult time at work, or considered their career options, without thinking about quitting. It’s natural and perhaps even healthy to question your choices every now again. But it begs the questions of all questions (sort of like knowing who is “the one”): how do I know when to quit? To answer that, I’d like to share my experience.
Last time I wrote about team dynamics in the workplace and how they can affect your mental health. A really important part of that, is how to help someone else when you see they are in need. If that person is part of your team, or a colleague you see suffering, what can you do?
Showing someone else you care is probably the first step towards making them feel better. Remembering the times I was in most difficulty, just the simple fact of someone telling me to enjoy a break, or ask for help, already relieved the pressure a little. So by the sheer fact of noticing, you might already be making a difference.