Live to work or work to live?

work to live
Our choice of career can have an immense impact on our day to day lives. Find one that fulfils you and you’re set. But, what do we do when our jobs become a source of stress?

Living to Work

Most of us spend 40+ hours a week at work. This equates to hundreds of hours a year. When you factor in the time we spend sleeping, we spend the majority of our waking hours at work.  Work related stress is a difficulty that we will, most likely, all experience at some point. For some, it could be worrying about a deadline while for others it can become all consuming.

HSE found that the total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2015/16 was a shocking 488,000.  This equates to 1510 cases per 100,000 workers.  In fact, stress accounted for 45% of all working days lost due to ill health.  For some, a bit of extra pressure from work can drive us.  Many people enjoy working to deadlines and are naturally able to juggle their work and life balance.  However, a lot of people do not respond well to stress and pressure.  Working to tight deadlines, too much responsibility and a lack of managerial support can all lead to low morale and workers feeling stressed, depressed and fed up!

So, how can you help get out of your own way and enjoy an efficient work day and fulfilling work/life balance?

7 Do’s and Don’ts

Do: Set aside enough time in the mornings to get ready without rushing. Ensure you have a wholesome breakfast.
Don’t: Grab breakfast as you rush out the door or start checking and replying to emails as soon as you wake up.

Do: Spend a few minutes creating a ‘to do’ list.  Prioritise tasks and allocate a time to get them done.
Don’t: Do too much at once.  Try to avoid jumping from one task to another or working on several things at a time.

Do: Carve out at least thirty minutes for a lunch break.  Sit down and eat your lunch; enjoying each bite.  Use this time to catch up with colleagues or to go for a walk outside.
Don’t: Inhale your lunch at your desk while you work.  Resist the urge to grab quick, often unhealthy, convenience food.  What we eat, affects how we feel.

Do: Find the courage to speak up when you feel that work is getting too much.  Have a constructive conversation with a manager or ask for advice when you are struggling.
Don’t: Suffer in silence.  Taking on extra tasks because you feel obligated will only make the situation worse.  If managers don’t know you are struggling, how can they help?

Do: Turn off email notifications when you leave the office and resist the urge to check them.
Don’t: Feel obligated to stay in touch.  Unless your job dictates that you must remain in contact, any work emails that you receive will wait until the next day.

Do: Carve out some ‘me time’.  This may be walking the dog, listening to music or an audiobook, cooking a meal from scratch, reading a magazine or taking a bath.
Don’t: Let work take over all aspects of your life.  When you go for a walk or take that bath, don’t spend it mulling over the tasks you need to complete the next day.

Do: Try to get to bed at a reasonable time.  Do your best to avoid watching television in bed or staring at a screen.  When you get into bed, use this time to unwind and relax.  Take a few deep breaths or, if you are a worrier, jot down anything work related that is buzzing around in your mind.
Don’t: Stay up late binge watching TV or checking social media.  You will wake up tired the next morning which will only add to your day’s stress.

I strongly suggest that you try all of the above but we understand that it isn’t always that easy.  A lot of people enjoy watching Netflix in bed and staying up late while others can’t simply turn off their email notifications as the worry of being out of contact can cause more anxiety.  However, we are confident that if you try one or two of our helpful dos, you will soon see an improvement in your level of happiness and wellbeing.

Guest Post by Claire

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