There is no doubt that these days many of us are adjusting our schedules and are dealing with uncharted territory. Aside from figuring out how to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, many of us are also figuring out how to maintain a work-life balance. Below are three tips that may work to help ensure you are not working around the clock.
Create a schedule: Knowing what you have lined up for the day ahead can be stress reducing. What time you are waking up, in meetings, having lunch, having dinner, etc. are just a few things to include in your schedule. Be sure to also schedule fun activities like watching favorite shows/movies, calling family and friends and playing games. Doing so can help put your day in perspective and remind you about your life outside of work. It can also help you create boundaries with others who may continue to ask more of you.
Stick to your days off: Now that many of us are set up to work from home, it can be too easy and tempting to continue to work after hours or even on our days off. Along with creating a schedule, identify which day(s) you are of. This can be essential to making sure you don't burn out. If you find yourself needing to play catch up, then give yourself permission to perhaps work for part of the day that you are off. But, the goal is to play catch up and not add on more responsibilities or make yourself more available to work.
Remove Temptation: The saying "out of sight" out of mind can really hold true in a work from home situation. Removing objects that stimulate you into work mode is key when trying to avoid working 24/7. Try taking items like your laptop, your appointment book, school books etc., and placing them out of your vision. I personally, pack up my laptop and other work related items into a backpack and then place it in a closet. This way, even if I were tempted to do some work, when I am supposed to be off, I would have to actively unpack everything. Having to do so would at least cause me to think twice about what I am doing.
There you have it. Just a few suggestions to help reduce feelings of stress and potential burnout. What we are going through right now is definitely challenging. While it is great we have the technology to continue doing our work, sometimes the ability to be too accessible makes us forget how to shut down and become inaccessible.
What are tips and strategies you use to help prevent yourself from working too much? Please share them below.
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Many of my clients often ask, "What can I do to reduce my anxiety?" While my response often varies depending on an individual's specific situation, there are three core recommendations I often suggest that can help almost anyone.
1) Identify the Source of Your Stress - understanding who and/or what is causing your stress is the first step to reducing your anxiety. If you are able to identify what is causing your worry/anxiety, the next step is to ask yourself, "Is there anything I can do to change it?" Answering such a question can give you an opportunity to evaluate your situation and clarify any choices, if any, you may have.
2) Learn How To Manage - If you can reduce your anxiety, knowing how you can change it and taking action is important. Whether you are in the process of changing it or even if you are unable to make any changes, learning how to manage the anxiety is vital to maintaining your ability to continue functioning. Engaging in activities you find relaxing or finding an outlet for your worry may help release the negative emotions/symptoms associated with your situation. For some, going to the gym, knitting, watching a comedy, meditation, or simply a nice hot shower are a few of the activities they engage in so as to distract their mind and focus their thoughts on something enjoyable.
3). Try, Try and Try Again - learning what coping strategies are best for you is a trial and error process. What works best for one person, may not work well for you. I often encourage individuals to try various techniques until they find something that helps them relax. Of course, it is critical to first rule out any medical explanations for symptoms you may be experiencing like headaches, digestion issues, heart palpitations, etc. Also, if you are finding it difficult to reduce your anxiety on your own, it is important to understand the role therapy can play in helping you. In some cases, therapy can simply help individuals understand why they are stressed, while for others it is a form of guidance that helps clarify what options are available.
Do You Suffer from Anxiety?
The Oxford Dictionary of Psychology defines anxiety as "a state of uneasiness, accompanied by dysphoria and somatic signs and symptoms of tension, focused on apprehension of possible failure, misfortune, or danger."
So now you may be thinking to yourself, "What does that all mean and how do I know if I'm suffering from anxiety?" Anxiety is basically the reaction one has to stressful events that can cause a person to feel nervous, tense and/or apprehensive. There is no denying that many of us suffer from some form of anxiety but how it affects our daily lives is what we need to look out for when determining whether or not to get help.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you should be reaching out for help...
If you answered "Yes" to most of these questions, then you may be suffering from anxiety. One of the first steps you can take is to schedule an appointment with a physician to rule out any medical conditions. Medical conditions like thyroid problems, diabetes, etc., can cause physiological symptoms like heart palpitations, headaches, nausea, etc., thus causing you to feel like you are anxious. Appropriate treatment usually alleviates the anxious feeling.
If medical conditions are not the cause for the anxiety, you should then consider speaking with a therapist. By collaborating with a trained professional, you both can work together to get to the bottom of what is causing the anxiety. For example, are there life changing events that are causing additional stress? Events like a new job, a new relationship, caring for a loved one, etc. can each cause anxiety. The goal of therapy should be to learn strategies and techniques that you can incorporate into your daily routine so as to help reduce the anxiety and/or minimize it's impact on your your ability to function and feel good.
Do you have any questions about anxiety? Maybe you know of some strategies that have worked for you or someone you know? If so, please share them below.
Christine M. Valentín
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