A friend of mine quit her stable, salaried job to pursue her dream of being a freelance writer. When friends and former colleagues see her they remark on how much younger she looks. “What are you doing?” they ask.
“I left the stress and I’m taking care of myself,” she responds.
Since leaving her job, she’s gained time to start swimming, which she does two to three times a week. She cooks healthy meals rather than grabbing food on the run. As a result, she’s lost 20 lbs.
And it’s not that all of her stress is gone; building a business produces stress. But it’s “my own stress,” she says, “that God, my husband, and I can manage.”
We’re killing ourselves
Studies show that work-life imbalance is a recipe for poor health. We’ve heard it – too much stress can result in stroke, heart disease, anxiety, and depression – yet, Americans still work an average of 47 hours a week, almost a whole workday above the average standard. But we sleep seven hours or less each night. For what?
A bigger paycheck that we don’t enjoy because it’s going toward all the debt we incur from all the stuff we keep buying?
A spouse and children who rarely get any of our time because we’ve always got a phone call to answer or a stack of papers to finish?
Friends we talk to in passing because we don’t have enough hours in the day to fit in some socializing?
Aches, pains, high blood pressure, expanding waistlines, and popping pills for energy, then to calm down, then to go to sleep?
Get off the merry-go-round
Let’s be real; a healthy work-life balance rests solely on our priorities. While we all aren’t able to quit our jobs like my friend, we all can shift our priorities:
- Say “No” to requests that you don’t need to fill.
- Leave your desk for lunch.
- Build in regular exercise, at your best time.
- Take a day vacay or staycay with your spouse, your family, or some friends.
- Use all of your annual vacation time to actually go on vacation.
- Start that hobby you’ve been interested in.
- Stop all work at a reasonable hour to attend to family and yourself.
Bottom line – take time to take care of yourself; because nobody else will. We’ll just miss you when you’re gone.