Going back to University after a decade-long break has been hectic! But I’ve been able to make it work, with the different hats I wear in my personal life such as; being a full-time student, full-time employee, a full-time Mom, and a part-time HR consultant. I’m near my final semester and I wanted to share some gems from this course that I am currently enrolled in called “Work-Life Balance”.
I’ve learnt so much from my Professor and the course readings. Now I have a clearer outlook on how I want to establish and stabilize a sufficient work-life balance for my family. My blog post today is to share thought-provoking course readings/findings that I’ve picked up along the way.
I want to start off by investigating the theory behind how a good night’s sleep can produce efficient and happier people. Research conducted by Barnes 2018 in his article “Sleep Well, Lead Better” touches on the narrative that “sleep-deprived bosses hurt their teams along with themselves: They are more likely to mistreat employees and create a workplace where people feel less engaged and may even behave less ethically.” As a society, we tend to overlook how a full eight hours of sleep will help us balance out our mood and anxiety levels. Barnes states that with a turnaround you can adjust old habits and create a new efficient one that will aid a better motivated and creative individual by “sticking to a regular bedtime and wake-up time; avoiding caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and screen time before bed; tracking your sleep patterns and adjusting your habits accordingly; getting treatment for sleep disorders; and napping during the workday.”
Further research indicates to create a healthier work-life balance you can start by reducing stress levels. Stressors are all around us and our bodies can internalize these stresses. Research conducted by Cryer and colleagues in 2003 in “Pull the Plug on Stress”. Cryer refers to stress as “an internal reaction to negative, threatening, or worrisome situations—a looming performance report, say, or interactions with a dismissive colleague. Accumulated over time, negative stress can depress you, burn you out, make you sick, or even kill you—because it’s both an emotional and a physiological habit.” As we age, we continue to take on more responsibilities, which can increase our stress levels. An unhealthy work environment or imbalance in our personal lives can only hinder us both physically and mentally, leading to long-term health complexions. Most companies offer support to aid us during stressful times, even implementing a gym routine or therapy session could help drastically with stress reduction.
In addition, to what else I’ve learnt from my course the ideology of healthy work-life balance can be achieved by avoiding burnout. Valcour 2016 wrote a piece on “Managing Yourself: Beating Burnout”, which provides some insightful tips on how to prevent burnout and watch out for earlier signs, Valcour states the following:
1. Set Limits on Workloads – By setting limits and boundaries on your workload you are ensuring what you take on is within your scope.
2. Insist on Renewal – Resting and renewing yourself by only working the hours that are in your job description will also help with reducing burnout.
3. Boost Control – Clarify expectations and grant flexibility on where, when, and how you get your work done.
4. Make Recognition Meaningful – Reward yourself for all your wins, even if they are small.
5. Emphasize Learning – Learning something new is a great way to reduce burnout. Take a course on a language, or certificate in something you really enjoy.
6. Facilitate Mutual Support – Ask others if they need assistance and help where needed. Also, advocate for your needs and ask for support to prevent overwork and burnout.
7. Build Community – Encourage healthy communication both in your professional and personal life by sharing some of your stressors.
Overall, the ability to reach a balanced and happier version of ourselves is achievable within our day-to-day. By following a few simple steps such as; changing sleeping patterns, reducing stress, and creating boundaries a drastic shift can be reached. My 2022, the focus is to cultivate the best well-balanced version of myself. How about you?