Hands up if you do any of these . . . . .
If you have a work email that can be accessed on a device at home?
If you sleep in the same room with the device that delivers the work email?
If you open work related emails and documents in your private time, in the evenings and weekends?
If you doze off to sleep thinking I need to do that work related thing tomorrow, or wake up in the middle of the night thinking about and work-related issue?
If you pick up your phone, and look at your phone before saying hello to your partner in the morning?
These are normal happenings in our life, they are situations that increase our stress and although at the time you don’t think it, they are work related stresses and as a result they are work related stressors, they fill our work bag of stress up without us knowing.
The incursion of work-related stresses in our home life blurs the line between work and rest, increases our levels with cortisol production, the stress hormone, and it affects our mental health.
So what do we do . . . . . We Struggle In & We Struggle On
The simple fact is that we are now being asked to do more, in the time we have available, some say more for less, but I don’t necessarily think that that is the case I just think we have to do more in the same time, and we all have the same time 168 hours a week, 1440 minutes a day.
Now I’m not saying that we don’t have to take our work home, I’m not saying we shutdown are computer at 5:30 PM pack a bag, walk out of the office and make our way home with the sun on a face, a smile from ear to ear like we’re walking through a meadow of buttercups, I mean it would be nice wouldn’t it but it’s not real.
The real world is that we do have to take our work home, we often have to do things that are urgent and yet not important, in our private time, but we also should be scheduling working times into our private life, so it doesn’t access all areas and become what I call an ‘always on culture’
Because stress affects us all, at different times at different levels with different results, and the reality of stress is that we often don’t talk about mental health in our workplaces until it’s past the point of help, a third of us now will suffer increased anxiety, stress or mental health issues within our lifetime, and Covid aside, they are responsible for 30% more absences in the workplace than any other reason, 30% more, and yet We Struggle In & We Struggle On.
Mental health is extremely complex, and I’m not for one minute saying that I am a specialist, but we all have mental health, everyone here today has mental health, and this much we do know, nobody wants to struggle with mental health issues, nobody wants to be off work with mental health issues, nobody doesn’t want to live a life of fulfilment because of mental health issues, they don’t want to struggle with the routine of life, they don’t want to find it difficult to speak about their issue, for fear that no one will listen, or will not understand, or will manage them out of their positions, the worry about support and a support system within an organisation is very real.
So We Struggle In & We Struggle On, filling up our stress bucket more and more until we get to that point where we simply can’t cope and are forced to speak out and ask for support. Many are signposted to the GP and simply signed off for two weeks.
We say we don’t Like Change
The events of the past two years have led to unprecedented changes in all our lives, and we humans, especially as we get older, don’t like change, we are creatures of habit, we like to wake up cursing our alarm clock at the same time each morning, we like the same breakfast, we wear the same uniform and go to work doing a very similar role every day, we come home and socialise with the same people and that’s how we like it, it creates a safe secure environment.
Change creates uncertainty, if we look changeup in the dictionary, it describes change as to alter, modify or replace, especially something of the same kind that is newer call better
Change Creates Opportunity
Change creates new opportunities, it forces us to reassess our direction, to live outside of our comfort zone and find better ways forward. And it has the potential to mobilize entire groups or organizations to ultimately become more effective and more valuable, but only for those who recognize and seize them.
Change will happen, it always has, and it always will, and as I have said at a faster rate than at any time in history, but we can cope.
We do have a Choice
We always have a choice, we have the choice to do nothing, to carry on as we were and not use the opportunity to make changes, and that’s okay if you don’t want personal development but Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, so if we want to have a different result we must make a change.
The question we should be asking ourself is, am I willing to change?
Embracing The New Norm
And if I am, how do I make that change, first thing is to embrace the new norm to think that one day it will settle back down to how it was is wrong because the reality is that it won’t, the new norm is a fast paced changing world, but we are hugely adaptable, better than we give ourselves credit for if we just look at the events of the past two years and flip our mindset, stop to take a moment to look what you have done, we have all done incredibly well even if we’ve struggled. When was the last time that you paused for a second gave yourself some credit you deserve for how far you’ve come, how are you dealt with not any events of the last two years but since becoming an adult the person you’ve become the journey you’ve been on transformation that you’ve experienced, it’s never plain sailing, lessons are tough but you should be proud of yourself, when was the last time you told yourself that? Well we should do, just like we do with our children, we congratulate them, and focus on the areas where they’ve done well, not compare them to other children and make a decision whether they have done well or not. Life in many ways is tougher than we think it’s going to be, but we are also tougher than we think we are going to be, I have now run a total of 22 marathons every single time I run a marathon no matter where it is, what the weather is like, who I run it with I always think, WOW, this is a long long way, this is tough, but I always complete it because we can cope.
Check In & Check Out
We can cope by checking in on ourselves and checking out the well-being of others. We must start with ourselves, we must understand about our own bodies which includes our physical being and our mental being, our emotions. Like most things the more we do this easier it becomes, how you do that is personal, whether it’s in the form of a daily journal, meditation or breathwork.
Our body is our support vehicle for life, if we don’t have it we don’t exist, neglecting ourself he’s letting ourself down
We need to check in with ourselves on a daily basis, Help ourselves by checking into our components of life, the things that together and up to us being as happy as we can be, relationships with the ones closest to us family and friends, our health, exercise, our career employment and that links into wealth and financial security, a social life, a psychological and spiritual, these are all areas that we must continue to work on to have a life of fulfilment, we don’t have to have every single one of these in our life but we better have most of them otherwise we’re going to suffer as a result.
Working on being in the present, enjoying the moment, our sleep, nutrition, hydration, Establish work boundaries where possible. Take your lunch break away from your desk, there are lots of ways that you can try to improve your experience in the workplace
So working on these areas, setting aspirations and goals towards these, creating new habits always helps us to feel better about ourselves, if the growth of our life is going in the right direction then there is a proven link between that and happiness, yes there are things that can affect happiness events that can make us incredibly sad or extremely happy but we will always improve our life by checking in on ourselves, and checking out the well-being of those around us.