Work/Life Balance in a Burnout Society
I'm not a fan of the things our society chooses to reward, most of the time.
There are awards for high achievement, efficiency, and commitment to work, but never for prioritizing wellness, using self-care for success, or commitment to taking care of our mental health. In fact, never in my history of employment did someone ask during my annual review, "how are you taking care of yourself to continue doing the work that you're doing?".
How about you?
When the focus lies on our productivity and results, we naturally place our needs lower on the list, and here's why I'm determined to help you reframe your thinking about this:
Taking care of yourself and absolutely crushing it in your professional role ARE NOT mutually exclusive. In fact, they are each other's yin and yang.
It sounds easy enough, but putting it in to practice can feel like the opposite of what we've been told to do our entire lives. For example, here are 5 ways that you can take care of yourself during your work day:
☑ Have set start and end times
☑ Take 2, short breaks to check-in with yourself (breathe, use coping tools, etc.)
☑ Go for a 10 minute walk
☑ Allow yourself time to eat
☑ Silence your phone for periods to focus on important tasks
... Are you thinking "who has time for that?" or "that would never work for me"?
The thing about having a healthy work/life balance is that it is completely individual, meaning that employers can't really prescribe things that everyone should do. Instead, it's really up to you to figure out what works best for you.
AND, at the same time
I don't think taking time to breathe, step outside, chew your food in peace, or prioritize important tasks sounds out of the realm of possibility.
If your answer is "no"- that is great. I hope that you find ways to refill and reset throughout the day that honor your uniqueness and current circumstances. I invite you to make this a priority and acknowledge how doing so will only further help you succeed.
Alternately, If this blog is making you feel a little tense or defensive- that is completely understandable. Grinding and giving what we do our "all" is not a bad thing or something you should be ashamed of- it is a very important aspect of how our society views success.
Two questions that may be helpful to journal about or mentally explore:
How much of my worth is connected to succeeding and how much of my worth is connected to my wellness?
Who/ What has made me feel like I need to choose between success and wellness?
I know those are big questions and you can take as much time as you need to answer them.
The thing about growth is that it is always an option for you.
Meredith Waller MSW, LCSW
Based in Boulder, CO and offering online counseling throughout Colorado
-Certified Shame-Informed Treatment Specialist
-Certified Clinical Anxiety Treatment Professional