Word-Of-the-Week #948: Balance

October 6, 2022 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #948: Balance 

Balance proper prioritization between work (career and ambition) and lifestyle (health, pleasure, leisure, family). 

Do you feel you have the support of your family and friends? Have you created times in your day for taking a break? What is your favorite form of creative expression? 

This week features the second part, “What burnout really is. And ways to prevent it,” by Angela Haupt.

There’s a lot of overlap between burnout and stress, said Inger Burnett-Zeigler, a clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University. But burnout is the result of “exposure to prolonged stress,” she emphasized – not just one or two taxing days at work.

 The pandemic has been a perfect breeding ground for the syndrome to fester: “When we think about burnout in the context of COVID, I personally can relate,” Burnett-Zeigler said. “And I know a lot of folks I work with have been under extreme stress, working longer hours, balancing work with child-care responsibilities, having back-to-back meetings and adjusting to working in a different environment.”

Though most research has focused on burnout in the workplace, some experts, like Nagoski, are adamant that burnout isn’t just an occupational hazard: It can happen to anyone. There’s no estimate of how many Americans are burned out, but anecdotally it has become more prevalent during the pandemic.

  • Dealing with burnout 

Though the onus primarily is on employers, there are still ways for burned-out folks to recharge and recover. Here are some tips from experts: 

  • Seek support from friends and family. “Self-care cannot be the cure for burnout,” Nagoski said. “Burnout is all of us caring for each other.” Aim to be surrounded by a “protective bubble of love,” she said: people who will remind you of your value and who you can lean on as you work through your burnout. 
  • Take breaks. Build these into your daily schedule, Burnett-Ziegler said. Spend your breaks resting or doing something you really enjoy, like reading a favorite book or going for a swim. Take vacations or, when needed, even longer time off from work.
  • After Sides felt like she hit a wall last year, she took a “massive step back” and temporarily shut down her online business. Within a few months, she said, she felt like she had the clarity and energy again to resume working.
  • Prioritize exercise for well-being. We often exercise because of social pressures such as achieving the so-called perfect body. In that context, working out might not help relieve stress, Nagoski said. But judgment-free exercise can. Think “dancing to Beyoncé in the kitchen or punching something in the basement,” she said. Do it for yourself, not to meet anyone else’s expectations of you.
  • Build transitions into your day. At the end of every workday, Weiss knows she could easily log a few more hours – but she’s clear about her values, such as spending time with her kids. She recommends implementing a routine that can help you transition from your work persona into home mode.  “Maybe that’s walking the dog or putting on a soundtrack as you close your work for the day or taking some mindful breaths,” she said. “It’s something that reminds you why the rest of your life matters and not to sacrifice that.” 
  • Get creative. Painting, writing poetry, sewing and any other form of creative expression are terrific ways to push through the chronic stress that defines burnout, Nagoski said. Working with your hands helps you “burn up all your feelings,” she said, by allowing you to channel your emotions into an object or process. 

This week’s focus is on balance. How good are you at transitioning between work and home life? Have you prioritized exercise for your well-being? Do you feel your friends and family surround you with a “protective bubble of love”?

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Word-Of-the-Week #713: Balance

April 5, 2018 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #713: Balance 

Balanceproper prioritization between work (career and ambition) and lifestyle (health, pleasure, leisure, family).

How did you do last week with creating boundaries? Were you able to get out of “work mode” when you left? What one thing did you do for yourself that was lifestyle related? 

This is the second half of Marla Tabaka’s Out of office (really) How to leave work behind at the end of the day”.  

And to recap, “An inability to disengage from work has its consequences, including high stress levels, lowered productivity and damaged relationships. It also puts you in danger of being seen as a very dull person.

  •  Plan your next steps

Planning your next activity, whether it’s cooking dinner or going to a movie, creates a distraction for your brain. I’ll admit that sometimes I don’t want to think about doing anything because I’m exhausted. On those evenings, I imagine myself relaxing with a good book (which may include a glass of wine), and that does it for me. 

Having something to look forward to helps us resist the temptation to keep working. 

  • Perform an anchoring activity

A simple, neuro-linguistic programming trick is to associate an internal response with some external trigger. Using that same trigger at a later point will prompt your body and brain to recall the same feeling or mood. 

When it comes to leaving work behind, it may be closing your office door, calling home or even something that feels silly, like tapping on your desk three times or squeezing the trigger points on the side of your knee. 

Sending such a signal to your brain programs it to trigger a feeling or action that can make it easier for you to stop thinking about work. 

  • Add to your to-do list

Scratching things off your list is a positive action and promotes a sense of achievement; adding to your list helps to organize thoughts and reduces concerns about forgetting something important. 

When I jot down the things I didn’t get to by the end of the day, it eliminates the nagging feeling that I’ll forget something important. 

View your work and personal life with equal importance, rather than placing an exaggerated importance on your work. 

You know you’re less productive when you’re tired and stressed out, so why not close the door on your problems guilt-free and get some rest? 

If you’re a non-believer, give it a try for a few weeks and notice the positive, all-around impact that a little balance brings to your world. 

This week’s focus is on balance. What are the things that you most look forward to doing? Are you like me and LOVE having a to-do list? How many times a week do you plan personal activities?

If you want more ideas on how to create work boundaries I found this on the Inc. website.

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Word-Of-the-Week #645: Time-wasters

December 15, 2016 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #645: Time-wasters 

Time-wastersthings you spend time doing that are unnecessary or do not produce any benefit.

How often do you spend time doing things that are unnecessary or that do not produce any benefit? Are there any people in your life that might fall into that category? Do you have firm boundaries so you can devote quality time to high-priority people and activities?

This is the follow up to last week’s excerpts from Forbes Magazine “6 Tips For Better Work-Life Balance” by Deborah Jian Lee.

“Work-life balance means something different to every individual, but here health and career experts share tips to help you find the balance that’s right for you.

  1. Limit time-wasting activities and people

First, identify what’s most important in your life. This list will differ for everyone, so make sure it truly reflects your priorities, not someone else’s. Next, draw firm boundaries so you can devote quality time to these high-priority people and activities. If you find your time being gobbled up by less constructive people, find ways to diplomatically limit these interactions. Focus on the people and activities that reward you the most.a-time-waster

To some, this may seem selfish. But it isn’t selfish. It’s that whole airplane metaphor. If you have a child, you put the oxygen mask on yourself first, not on the child. When it comes to being a good friend, spouse, parent or worker, the better you are to yourself, the better you are going to be in all those areas as well.

  1. Change the structure of your life

Sometimes we fall into a rut and assume our habits are set in stone. Take a birds-eye view of your life and ask yourself: What changes could make life easier?

Puder-York remembers meeting with a senior executive woman who, for 20 years of her marriage, arranged dinner for her husband every night. But as the higher earner with the more demanding job, the trips to the grocery store and daily meal preparations were adding too much stress to her life. “My response to her was, “Maybe it’s time to change the habit,’” recalls Puder-York. The executive worried her husband might be upset, but Puder-York insisted that, if she wanted to reduce stress, this structural change could accomplish just that. So instead of trying to do it all, focus on activities you specialize in and value most. Delegate or outsource everything else.

  1. Start small. Build from there.

We’ve all been there: crash diets that fizzle out, New Year’s resolutions we forget by February. It’s the same with work-life balance when we take on too much too quickly, says Brooks. Many of his workaholic clients commit to drastic changes: cutting their hours from 80 hours a week to 40, bumping up their daily run from zero miles a day to five miles a day. It’s a recipe for failure, says Brooks. When one client, who was always absent from his family dinners, vowed to begin attending the meals nightly, Brooks urged him to start smaller. So he began with one evening a week. Eventually, he worked his way up to two to three dinners per week.

“If you’re trying to change a certain script in your life, start small and experience some success. Build from there,” says Brooks.

This week’s focus is on time-wasters. Have you identified what’s most important to you? Do you focus on activities you specialize in and value most? Have you fallen into any ruts that it’s time to get out of? How comfortable are you at delegating or outsourcing?

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Word-Of-the-Week #644: Balance

December 8, 2016 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #644: Balance 

Balancehaving just the right mix of work, play, and passion.

Do you feel blessed or stressed with the life you have? Are you involved in things that you are passionate about? How much of a perfectionist are you?

This week and next features excerpts from Forbes Magazine “6 Tips For Better Work-Life Balance” by Deborah Jian Lee.

“These days, work-life balance can seem like an impossible feat. Technology makes workers accessible around the clock. Fears of job loss incentivize longer hours. In fact, a whopping 94% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week and nearly half said they worked more than 65 hours per week in a Harvard Business School survey. Experts agree: the compounding stress from the never-ending workday is damaging. It can hurt relationships, health and overall happiness.

Work-life balance means something different to every individual, but here health and career experts share tips to help you find the balance that’s right for you.

  1. Let go of perfectionism

A lot of overachievers develop perfectionist tendencies at a young age when demands on their time are limited to school, hobbies and maybe an after-school job. It’s easier to maintain that perfectionist habit as a kid, but as you grow up, life gets more complicated. The key to avoid burning out is to let go of perfectionism, says Puder-York, an executive coach. “As life gets more expanded it’s very hard, both neurologically and psychologically, ta-balanceo keep that habit of perfection going,” she says, adding that the healthier option is to strive not for perfection, but for excellence.

  1. Unplug

From telecommuting to programs that make work easier, technology has helped our lives in many ways. But it has also created expectations of constant accessibility. The work day never seems to end. “There are times when you should just shut your phone off and enjoy the moment,” says Robert Brooks, a professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. Phone notifications interrupt your off time and inject an undercurrent of stress in your system. By not reacting to the updates from work, you will develop a stronger habit of resilience. “Resilient people feel a greater sense of control over their lives,” says Brooks, while reactive people have less control and are more prone to stress.

  1. Exercise and meditate

Even when we’re busy, we make time for the crucial things in life. We eat. We go to the bathroom. We sleep. And yet one of our most crucial needs – exercise – is often the first thing to go when our calendars fill up. Exercise is an effective stress reducer. It pumps feel-good endorphins through your body. It helps lift your mood and can even serve a one-two punch by also putting you in a meditative state, according to the Mayo Clinic. “When I talk about balance, not everything has to be the completion and achievement of a task, it also has to include self-care so that your body, mind and soul are being refreshed,” says Puder-York.

This week focus on balance. What does a balanced life look like to you? Do you have a need to make every moment count? Do you take time to relax and “turn off.”  How much exercise are you getting?

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WOW Word-Of-the-Week #271: Balance

October 12, 2009 by · Comments Off on WOW Word-Of-the-Week #271: Balance 

Balance – having just the right mix of work, play, and passion.

Do you feel that you have a balanced life? Are you involved in things that you are passionate about? Do you feel blessed with the life you have?

Our feature this week is an article in Parade’s healthystyle on Eva Longoria Parker titled, “Make Every Moment Count.” In it she says, “My friends like to kid me that I only have two speeds – off and on. And I guess they mean really on, because I’m constantly moving.”

She and her husband Tony Parker share the same kind of drive. “We are both energetic and athletic. We love to travel. We love food and wine, we love beaches, we love laughter and music. We think healthy, and we work hard to stay in shape. I check my schedule constantly to make sure no time is wasted. I bounce between my TV work, Tony’s basketball games, and my charities.”

We Like What Eva Likes!

We Like What Eva Likes!

“The key is balance and common sense. I love to enjoy every moment. I’m really blessed to have the life I have. I do a lot of work with less fortunate kids, so I know I have nothing to complain about.”

And that off switch? “Part of my schedule is a good night’s sleep. When things get overwhelming I look forward to a weekend home with Tony. I love to cook. Sometimes we stay in bed all day watching the Discovery Channel.”

“You have to make a choice to be an active citizen of society. I want to contribute in a positive way, whether it’s through my work, entertaining, or the love I give to my husband and family. We can all make a significant mark on the world.”

This week focus on balance. Do you have a need to make every moment count? Do you take time to relax and “turn off.”  What are you most passionate about?

Reader Responses

“Kristen and I look forward to those weekends where we don’t have anything planned. Since we both work, we split up the duties of taking care of the kids and other activities during the week. There are times when we just want to sit and read the newspaper or magazines or books. Usually it is when our girls are asleep at night. We do enjoy every moment we have with the girls, and we make sure to take advantage of those because life goes so fast. We are blessed with beautiful girls, good health and good families. I have no complaints about my life. There are things that I still want to accomplish in my life, but I find that my life at home really gives me a great perspective, and my wife and girls always remind me of the important things. This weekend, if it does not rain, I need to scrape the railing at the backdoor of our house. I promised Kristen a couple of years ago that I would do it, so hopefully I can do more work on it. Hopefully we can relax a little more this weekend also, because the next two weekends will be hectic. We do get plenty of rest in the evenings, and that keeps our energy and health in good shape. Great word, Susan. Keep up the great work. Take care. Have a wonderful weekend. “Warrior” Joe Moran.”