How to avoid the negative effects of balancing between career and private life?
A healthy work-life balance is something that probably all of us are aiming for. During our Women’s Week in the beginning of March, we invited four specialists to discuss how to avoid negative stress, burn-out or anxiety.
The panel discussion of our event was led by Patrizia Luchetta, with four panelists who all work with people who are trying to find a better balance to life: François Altwies who is a Bio- and Neurofeedback trainer; Irene Masiku, who is a Life Coach and a Healing Practitioner in energetic kinesiology; Annica Törneryd, independent Confidence and Motivational Coach; and David Büchel, Work Psychologist from the Chambre des salariés du Luxembourg.
Admitting that your work-life balance is not in order can be hard for many of us. Many adults in the world struggle with how to be better, how to be successful; we try so hard that we mess things up for ourselves. According to our panelists, in order to prevent stress, we need to start by lowering the high expectations we put for ourselves.
Since the event, times have radically changed but the objective of aiming for balance remains; currently the situation between work and family can be even more unbalanced than usual, as both happen at home; parallel and in between. During the times of social distancing, some of us are closer to our immediate families than ever before - some of us lonelier than we’d hope to be. May it be one way or the other, many of us are struggling not to let the walls fall on oneself during home-quarantine.
Some tips we gathered from the panel still remain valid:
— Listen to your body
— Don’t be on your phone 24/7 and turn off notifications
— It’s okay, even needed, to take breaks
— Ask yourself how you are doing
— Put yourself first - health is more important than work
— When you feel something is wrong, don’t hesitate to get help
— Lower high expectations – stop trying to be perfect
— Be positive, you’re enough, you don’t have to be better than good
But what can we learn of all this, in the light of the current situation?
We contacted our panelists to revisit the topic from the current perspective of many of us working from home, not being able to socialise nor work in the usual way. Annica Törneryd explained - as probably the other coaches must have too - how she must have seen the full spectrum of attitudes through her clients; persons who are taking this situation very well, even secretly and discretely, but profoundly enjoying and appreciating it; to those who are really struggling with feelings of overwhelm, a decrease in self-esteem due to experiencing lack of productivity and slipping into the grip of fear. We all need to adapt and embrace these times the best way we can. We’re not alone.
We got some recommendations from our panelists on how to get through these tough times.
In regards to how to maintain a good work-life balance at home, David Büchel recommends that it is important to define a specific work area, preferably an isolated space, so that you can escape the demands of your children. This will give you the impression that you can let go psychologically when you leave this space, and vice versa.
Irene Masiku’s top three perspectives on how to be productive working from home and have a successful private life at the same time:
1. Letting go of the old ways. Accept the situation because it is what it is.
2. Know that there will be an in-between time where the old is gone but the new isn’t fully operational. This is what will make or break the outcome of the change - the neutral zone. This is when the critical psychological realignments and repatternings take place. Do not run away from the challenges of this in-between time. Persistence will pay off as long as you have Positive mental attitude, goals, routine and support.
3. When you follow through the first two points above, you will come out of transition and start making a new beginning. This is when you develop a new identity. Experiencing new energy, and discovering the new sense of purpose that makes the change begin to work!
According to Irene, it depends on your resistance to the psychological phase 2 mentioned above, how fast you adapt to the change. This is where seeking help when things look and feel confusing is necessary. Irene refers to this quote from Anatole France: “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind is part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another”.
During some in-depth talks Annica had with her clients about what this period has changed in our global mindset, she states one major take-away from this situation: the sense of what truly matters.
“We hope that core values such as family, happiness, and togetherness will take the lead on materialistic and superficial values like luxury, money, and status. Before this crisis, all the leaders of the world were talking about global warming and how nature is collapsing under our brutal way of life. Everyone had ideas, Greta said "do something now", but nobody was ready to make the sacrifice. And look at this, only after a few weeks of the virus lockdown, reports are being shared on the incredibly positive impact this lockdown is having on nature.”
However long this exceptional situation lasts, we hope many of us can remain positive; as concluded by Annica, “we have to be grateful for the good that will come out from this experience.”
Photo credit: Laura Pakasiene Photography — Facebook and Silje-Marie Molland