If you’re feeling stressed, and more and more people are reporting high levels of stress in the 2010s, then it may be a symptom of an unhealthy work-life balance. Many jobs are getting more and more demanding, with managers demanding greater results with less resources, and stretching more hours out of their employees for less pay.
If you’re able to, it can help your state of mind to take a look at your work life balance and ensure you really are leaving work at work. If you’re checking for emails before brushing your teeth, and logging on in the evening to finish projects, you’re caught up in an unhealthy psychology that could see you burned out, and it’s time to change. If your current job won’t give you the flexibility to do that, it’s time to change jobs.
If you decide to make a commitment to leaving work at work, it doesn’t mean that life immediately gets easier: for one thing, you may need to reorganise and re-prioritise, either fitting more work into the working day, or taking on the tough job of communicating that you have more work to complete than anyone can in a regular working week. You also have to teach yourself to relax again.
It’s not an easy skill to relearn. It’s even harder if you work from home: for a lot of freelancers their home is their workspace, so they don’t have the benefit of a psychical change to help draw a line between being at work and relaxation. You can help to signal to your body that you’re done for the day by changing clothes – a notable physical change, and ritual that tells your body work is over and it’s time to relax. Slipping into your Sliders Slippers sends a signal that you’re done with work for the day.
Whatever your domestic situation: an anonymous London house share, close friends in a flat, living with a partner, or with family, try to make sure the chores of cooking and cleaning are evenly distributed. This doesn’t necessarily mean a rigid rota needs to be in place, as long as everyone is respectful of the other’s time and effort. As long as you’re not overburdened with domestic work after your salaried job is done for the day, you can start to rediscover relaxation, whatever that means for you. It could be reconnecting with old friends, getting adventurous in the kitchen or marathoning movies you’ve meant to watch for years!