Common Sense in the Digital Age…

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Enter the phrase ‘work life balance’ into any search engine and you will end up with more information than any working adult has the time or will to read.

When it comes to balancing your work life with your personal life in this 24/7 switched on digital age, you must come to a common sense approach that fits your life and your career. There is no magic answer and no one formula fits all. So what works for an ER surgeon will not work for a store greeter.

1. Realise that setting boundaries with your boss is a sign that you have a healthy self-esteem. A good boss respects his or her employees and values them as resources to the company. They want you at your best and value you in your time off as much as they do when you are on the clock.

2. Ensure that you and your superior/reporting manager are in agreement about what is expected of you. A hospital doctor will know that being “on call” at certain times is part of the job, but a hairdresser would not. Negotiate the terms of your availability if you have to, but ensure the negotiation ends in agreement.

3. Draw a firm line between the work part of your day and the rest of your day. Doing something symbolic like changing out of work clothes when you arrive home or leaving laptops at the office, serves as a subliminal reminder that you are not at work. Leave work (and work problems) at work and leave home (and home problems) at home.
“East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” (Kipling, 1892)

4. Understand that work-addiction can be as bad for your health as a chemical addiction. The inability to say no to your boss (or your family) can wreak havoc on your health. Stress is a killer.

5. Engage in a little self-talk. Remind yourself that self-care is not selfish. Taking care of yourself with healthy eating, sleeping, and exercising patterns improves your physical and mental ability to complete any task. A physically, mentally fitter you is a better you in any situation. Talk to professionals if you need to.

6. Do things you enjoy and spend time with people you like and love. It’s that simple. Of course, simple doesn’t mean easy. But when you engage in activities and spend time with loved ones, you are feeding your soul. Try to appreciate that caring for yourself is nourishment to your mind, body, and soul.

It’s just plain common sense that a person who is satisfied and content in their personal life will bring his or her best self to the job resulting in a better employee. The opposite is also true – a person who is satisfied on the job will be happier in their personal life.

It’s a win-win situation when you strike a balance and reach harmony between the two. And that’s where balance becomes a delicate issue of the utmost importance that must be carefully and thoughtfully addressed.

Just use common sense.

What works for you? If you’ve successfully applied a common sense approach to juggling work and life, we’d love to hear ALL about it? Please comment below with any advice, tips, stories, and sources you think might be of benefit.

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Stress: When the Body says No

I recently attended the Recovery 2.0 conference where I heard Canadian Dr Gabor Maté make a bold statement about pain being our body’s call to healing. I realised then that while it is good to strive for balance and harmony in our work and homes – it is also necessary to strive for balance and harmony between our mind and bodies. In fact, it is of the utmost importance that we understand what happens when we don’t each achieve that much sought after balance and harmony. We MUST comprehend at a deep level that our bodies, more so than our minds, send us warning signals.

Any discussion of the work-life balance that fails to take into consideration the devastating effect of stress on our lives is incomplete. Stress in any area of our lives will have a negative effect on all other areas of our lives. A stressed person is a stressed person at work and at home. While you may not be talking about the cause of your stress while at work, you will be carrying your stress with you. Stress isn’t like a jacket – it’s not something you can wear just when the weather’s right.

I have found no better voice on this subject than the brilliant Canadian Dr Gabor Maté.

Combining scientific research, case histories of everyday and famous people, and his experience as a palliative care doctor, his book When the Body Says No:  The Cost of Hidden Stress presents a unique perspective that both compels and empowers people to promote their own healing.

Feelings of stress are messages from our bodies!

When the Body Says No:  The Cost of Hidden Stress provides answers to important questions about the effect of the mind-body link on illness and health and the role that stress and one’s individual emotional makeup play in an array of common diseases.

When the Body Says No:

  • Explores the role of the mind-body link in conditions and diseases such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, IBS, and multiple sclerosis
  • Draws on medical research and the author’s clinical experience as a family physician
  • Shares dozens of enlightening case studies and stories, including those of people such as Lou Gehrig (ALS), Betty Ford (breast cancer), Ronald Reagan (Alzheimer’s), Gilda Radner (ovarian cancer), and Lance Armstrong (testicular cancer)
  • Includes The Seven A’s of Healing:  principles of healing and the prevention of illness from hidden stress

Listen to this informative TVOParents.com talk by Dr Gabor Maté and hear him explain, in his own words, how stress can cause disease:

 

Have you ever been so stressed you needed time off work? Were you afraid to take time off work because of stress or mental health problems? Have you noticed how more physical/body-related diseases such as cancer receive a different response from employers?

How do you handle stress? Do think personality plays an important role in how an individual chooses to cope with stress? Do you think it’s time you learned to listen to your body and to say no?

Do you have any advice for people who are stressed and sick and tired but afraid of how time off might affect their jobs and family?

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Ted says…

I’ve put together my list of the best Ted talks in recent years about finding balance in work and life. Whether you are a mother, father, child-free, single-parent, immigrant, working abroad, a student, or a CEO, I am sure you will find something in these talks to make a difference in your struggle to balance it all.
1. Michelle Ryan is a Professor of Social and Organisational Psychology and Dean of Postgraduate Research at the University of Exeter, UK, and Professor of Diversity at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. With colleagues she has uncovered the phenomenon of the glass cliff, whereby women (and members of other minority groups) are more likely to be placed in leadership positions which are risky or precarious.


2. Public policy expert Anne-Marie Slaughter made waves with her 2012 article, “Why women still can’t have it all.” But really, is this only a question for women? Here Slaughter expands her ideas and explains why shifts in work culture, public policy and social mores can lead to more equality — for men, women, all of us.

 

3. Work-life balance, says Nigel Marsh, is too important to be left in the hands of your employer. Marsh lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time and productivity — and offers some stirring encouragement to make it happen. He presents and writes on business and personal life — and how the two interact. He is the author of “Fat, Forty and Fired.”

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It’s a Man’s World after all…

 

 

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Perhaps you’re a new father. Perhaps you’re a father changing careers. Perhaps you’re just like all the other fellas out there who spend day after day slogging their guts out to bring the bacon home to the wife and kids.

 

On more than one occasion, you might even have wondered to yourself “what does she do all day?” when you get home to find that the house is a mess, the kids are cranky, and the wife’s already on her third Pinot Grigio.

 

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Where does a man’s man go to find the help he needs? Sure, there are truckloads of women’s mags, and mommy-blogs, and mommy-support groups out there to support women in stress. But where does a man go when he struggles to balance family and career?

Worry your tender-heart no more. I have found the very place for you AND you, too, can be a #manwhohasitall.

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Follow @manwhohasitall on Twitter

#manwhohasit all is a Twitter  page and a facebook page whose sole purpose is to provide top tips for men juggling a successful career and fatherhood. #manwhohasitall gets you. #manwhohasitall understands.

#manwhohasitall has inspiration, advice and wisdom for every situation. And if he can do it, then you can too.

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Follow #manwhohasitall on facebook

 

And if you have a supportive wife who’s fairly good at helping you with the kids and the laundry, I’d recommend asking her to follow #manwhohasitall too. That way, you can both benefit from the shared wisdom on offer. She can start to meet your needs before you even realise you need them.

Good luck, guys. It is a man’s world out there, but it won’t be for long if you don’t start taking control of your lives and find that balance. It can be done.

How are you doing it???  C’mon, share your secrets. We all know want to know how men do it!

 

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All Mothers are Working Mothers…

 

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All mothers are working mothers.

Lindsay Cross’s 2012 Grindstone article boldly claims that women who take advantage of company benefits designed for working parents, for example, flexible schedule and telecommuting, are penalized for making those choices.

She goes on to say, “Ladies who tough out their “work life balance” without these niceties have a better chance of keeping up with their childless peers – i.e. men. Because while there’s definitely a gap between moms and child-free women, being a dad actually increases the likelihood that you’ll get that next raise.”

So is the fact that we are even discussing work-life balance a sexist, gender-based discussion? Do men stand around the water-cooler and discuss how hard it is to keep up with work, manage the house, and raise the kids?

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Is there a Working Father magazine?

The Double Parent claims to still need feminism because people still talk about working mothers, but never talk about working fathers, and asks when you ever heard anyone ask a man when he was going back to work after the baby?

Print media offers Working Mother magazine to help mothers deal with the stress of balancing kids and career, and there are probably a million “mommy bloggers” sharing their concept of the work-life balance and what works for their family.

Is there a Working Father edition that we don’t know about? Are there as many “daddy bloggers”? Mommy bloggers and mom-entrepreneurs have built a successful multi-million dollar blog, product review, and conference enterprise around the whole concept of giving women a work-life balance by blogging from home. But obviously, not everyone can blog and work from home and more workers can’t than can.

So what can we do for the rest of the working mothers out there?

First we need to realize and accept that mothers who work full time caring for their families still work and they still need balance. Women are not sacrificial lambs on the sacred alter of family or work. All mothers are working mothers. Whether or not women stay at home or work part or full time outside the home, women do seem to be more at risk of not finding balance in their lives. This lack of balance is often felt as guilt.

Mothers feel guilt because they face more pressure than men face when it comes to “juggling” the various aspects of life – mother guilt is real and it is dangerous. Mothers feel guilty when they take care of themselves. Mothers feel guilty if they work too much and they feel guilty if they (appear to) work too little. In fact, no matter what they do, mothers feel guilty.

So perhaps what mothers need is more self-acceptance and less self-criticism. Perhaps women need to stop criticizing other women (for how they look, don’t look, parent, don’t parent, work, don’t work etc. etc.) and become more supportive of other women and mothers both in and out of the workplace.

Another woman’s success doesn’t diminish your success in life. Men simply need to be more supportive of women in all areas of women’s lives. Freeing ourselves from negative judgment makes room for positive acceptance. That would certainly help bring balance and harmony.

Let’s try to understand that what works for one may not necessarily work for us and that in the balancing act of life, there is no absolute rights and wrongs.
(Then there’s that old joke about working women needing what working men have – a wife at home! I’ll save that one for another time and place.)

Are you a single mother looking for support as you juggle kids, life, and career, then I recommend The Double Parent blog and facebook community for sympathy, support, advice, and humour – and most importantly, a much needed sense of community.

What works for you? If you’re a working mum, we’d love to hear how you manage? Please comment below with any advice, tips, stories, and sources you think might benefit other working mothers.

 

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