By Susan Rosenblum, M.S.W.,R.S.W.
For most people, juggling the demands of career and personal life is an ongoing challenge. The stress of “doing it all” can lead some to feel overwhelmed, overloaded, and stressed to the max. Over time, this can lead to burnout.
Being stressed can lead to problems in relationships, loss of interest in sex, sleep deprivation or oversleeping, and a loss of interest in things previously enjoyed.Sometimes people cope with the discomfort of stress by using alcohol, drugs, gaming, or addictive behaviours. Striking a work-life balance takes a bit of effort,and is a continuous process.
What is burnout?
It is an exhaustion that comes from excessive stress and demands caused by jobs, family responsibilities, friends, self, or societal expectations. It zaps our energy, and can interfere with our ability to cope. It evolves over time and accumulates from ongoing stress.
Signs of stress and burnout:
Stress is marked by feelings of being trapped, powerlessness, hopelessness, exhaustion, detachment, isolation, irritability, frustration, failure, cynicism, and apathy. It can make people feel uninterested in the things previously enjoyed.
- Time management. Your time is like your income: it is finite, so try to budget your time the way you do your money. Notice how much time you spend doing your various activities.
- Learn to say no. This means deciding what you need, or want, in your life. It’s OK to say no respectfully. You will make more
room in your life for the activities that you have prioritized.
- Prioritize: Sometimes we want to do more than is actually possible. Set priorities for what is most important. Let go of some of the
- Leave work at work. With technology to connect to anyone at any time from virtually anywhere, there’s no boundary between work and home—unless you create it. Make a conscious decision to separate work time from personal time. For instance, turn off your cell phone, put away your laptop computer, and don’t answer the phone during personal or family time.
- Take control. People tend to feel better when they have some control, choice and flexibility in their lives at work and at home.
Balance does not mean doing it all. Look at your priorities and set boundaries. Be firm in what you can and cannot do. Only you can be the judge of what you need in your life.