These days, with the help of technology, it’s gotten difficult to separate personal life from work life. What you could only get done at work, can now get done on the go – receive and send emails, create presentations, edit and view documents, with apps like Gmail, PowerPoint, Word, and Acrobat, all your smartphone. Technology has its perks, obviously; but for the most part, a lot people no longer have private lives, and that makes them ticking time-bombs.
Even trying to find a balance between work expectations and life expectations has become a chore; a chore that stresses a lot of people out. The present state of the economy doesn’t help either, but another topic entirely.
Stress can be tough to get a handle on, especially when it’s being faced on both personal and work fronts. Common stressors, irrespective of age, career, gender, and status, include ailments, bad bosses/supervisors, family issues, financial challenges, personal distress, personal injuries, task deadlines, and technological malfunctions. If these go unchecked, the long-term effects of stress can either be physiological or psychological. Both may have adverse effects on the quality of life of an individual. The physiological consequences of stress include burnouts, heart complications, high blood pressure, and ulcers. The psychological consequences include anger, depression, irritability, psychotic breaks, and resentment. Stress, however, isn’t always a bad thing. For example, optimal stress, unlike high stress and low stress (which are bad for the health and overall well-being of an individual), brings out the best performance on the job and in private life as well.
As an individual, the key to a balanced life is quantity at work, quality at home. This simply means putting in a considerable amount of time being productive when you’re on the job/at work – attending meetings, completing projects, meeting up with appointments, responding to emails, and so on; giving your family, loved ones, and yourself your undivided attention when you’re off the clock/at home – laptop and phones off when you’re with them, playtime with young children, bonding activities with teenage children, date/movie night with your partner, weekend/summer getaways, and so on; and on your own, engage in your favorite pastime, take up a new hobby, try yoga, live a healthier lifestyle – more physical activity, less processed food, more water, less alcohol and fizzy drinks, get a full medical checkup (contrary to popular belief, what you don’t know will hurt you, bad) at least twice a year, and so on.
As a business owner/manager, it is your responsibility to help your workers find a middle ground in which they can perform optimally. Some ways to help employees deal with long-term stress is through peer counseling or hiring psychologists (in addition to the on-site/close proximity medical facility), encouraging exercise and physical fitness through the mandatory use of available company facilities or provision of subsidized fitness programs, and the implementation of mandatory sick days or stress leaves (with or without pay) depending on the stressor. In situations where the supervisor is the stressor, frequent supervisory reviews should be done, where subordinates individually and anonymously rate the leadership style and performance of their supervisors. This could help the supervisors improve, and make the subordinates feel valued. When employees are content and happy, they are more engaged and productive.
A balanced life is a happy life, and you owe it to yourself to be happy.
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