In this economy, people have to work harder than ever to be successful. The cultural concept of working hard to make it to the top is nothing new, especially in America. Going from rags to riches is an idealized lifestyle that many people want to see come to fruition. But sometimes, working too hard can be a bad thing.
When you prioritize your work over other necessary parts of life like your social and personal time, you’ll find yourself suffering. Don’t let your work dominate other aspects of your life. Make sure to make a conscious effort to create a healthy balance between your work and other important elements of life.
The dangers of overworking
Overcommitting time to your work life can have detrimental effects to your life in various ways. For one thing, you’ll be sacrificing your relationships with your family and friends. While you may not notice your time with your loved ones withering away when you become consumed with work, they will definitely be taking note of your absence. This can endanger even your closest of friendships. Nobody wants to continue inviting someone out when they always say no.
Losing your friends and not giving enough time to your family will also inevitably lead to a decrease in your happiness. Maybe you think you’re okay with being a lone wolf, but social isolation is proven to have major impacts on our happiness and even our lifespan. Even the most introverted of people need to have human interaction and socialization. Being around others helps us to relax, destress, and just have fun. It’s a part of our lives that we need in order to be well-rounded.
Perhaps you still aren’t convinced that working so hard that you end up isolating yourself is a good enough reason to cut back on the hard work and take some time to relax. If you knew your health was on the line would you care more?
Working too hard, stressing yourself out, and staying up into the late hours of the night to meet deadlines will eventually catch up with you. Losing a little sleep every now and then may not have any big effects, but continuously missing out on sleep makes you susceptible to sleep deprivation and its unfortunate effects including loss of concentration, obesity, and even risk of heart disease.
Working hard is important, but it’s vital that you know where to draw the line for the sake of your relationships, happiness, and health.
Creating a better balance
At some point, you have to realize that you need to set aside time where work is not in the picture. While you may not be able to avoid needing to bring your work home with you, you can still decide when and where you draw that line to separate your work from your personal life.
A time and a place for work
Rule number one: never bring your work into the bedroom. This should be a place for rest and relaxation where you can recharge for the next day. Work in your living room, dining room, or office space if you must, but never let it enter your bedroom.
You also need to force yourself to step away from work at some point. Set a timer forcing yourself to stop after a certain time limit. You’re never going to be able to finish everything you need to, so you’ll just have to learn how to be okay with moving tasks to the next day’s checklist.
Ending the all-nighters
As tempting as it may be to try to rework your body clock to allow you to maximize more hours of the day and cut back on sleep time, this is something you should avoid at all costs. Adopting healthy sleeping habits will be vital to your overall health and it can help improve your focus and concentration to make you more productive in your waking hours.
Focus on consistently getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep. While the quantity matters, the quality of your sleep is even more important. If you struggle sleeping, try to assess what’s holding you back. Sleeping with lights interfering, loud noises, or a mattress that causes you pain can interrupt your quality sleep. Find ways to work around this sleep disruptions to get the rest you need.
Setting aside “me time” each night
Develop a consistent routine that helps you shut off your work brain and relax in the evenings. About 1-2 hours before bedtime start a wind down routine that forces you to dedicate more time to yourself. Shut down the brain-stimulating electronics, take a warm bath, and do something that you enjoy whether that be some light yoga stretches, working on a puzzle, or reading a book. It’s important to take time for yourself and your own enjoyment.
Socializing on Saturdays
Your weekdays may be consumed with work, but don’t spend your weekends working your life away. Dedicate Saturdays to your social activities. Spend time with friends, reconnect with your family, or go on a day trip. Taking one day off out of the week won’t kill you, and your loved ones will be thrilled to have more time with you.
If you don’t prioritize your own mental health, you’ll feel the negative effects seeping into all aspects of your life. Even if you think work is too important to neglect for a few hours in the evening or for social time on Saturdays, you should recognize that without taking care of yourself you’ll eventually overload from all the stress. Take care of yourself now by learning to balance your personal life with your work life to prevent a burn out in the future and live a more healthy, well-rounded life.
Author’s bio: Laurie Larson is a freelance writer based in Durham, NC. When she isn’t busy writing she loves spending time outdoors with her two dogs.