Mental Health: A Balancing Act Among Therapy Professionals

Are you stressed out?  Feeling sick and drained?  Do you dread answering a page or opening your email?  You are not alone, especially during the current coronavirus pandemic. 

The demand placed on the health care leader has escalated to the point where individuals are feeling overwhelmed from the stress of work life and neglecting personal and family life.  Finding balance in life is not an easy task, however being aware and following a few tips may assist the leader in finding joy and renewal in their career, while maintaining relationships and purpose when out of the office. 

Write down what really matters to you personally.  

Some things may be professionally based; others are more than likely personal desires.  Separate the list into career and personal and rank the items.  What is most important?  What gives you joy?  The art of writing down your thoughts helps to make them concrete.  These things matter to you – they are real.  Keep the list and refer to it daily.  It will help you to focus on what really matters and not get caught up in the things that do not.

Get out.  Go outside.  

Put yourself in a work/stress time out. Taking a few minutes to clear your head has been shown to elevate mood, increase innovation and reinvigorate your mind.  Sometimes a walk in the rain is what you need to re-evaluate where you are and what you need to accomplish.  

Exercise.  

Do not forget your physical body – this is the machine you rely on.  Make time for physical exercise – whether that is walking, running, organized classes, team sports, etc.  Participating in exercise activities with family and/or friends can be an added win/win for both your mind and your soul.  In addition, it may help you get some much needed time with the people you cherish the most.

Watch what you are eating. 

In times of stress, we tend to either eat too much (and often not the right stuff) or not eat at all.  Be aware of what you are (or are not) putting in your mouth.  Are you drinking so much caffeine that you are feeling on edge and moody?  What about your alcohol consumption? Look into “super foods” which provide those essential nutrients you need without adding extra sugar, fat and calories.  Examples are:  Asparagus, Almonds, Fruits, berries.

Sleep! 

Make sure you are getting enough sleep. It is essential.  If you are sleep deprived, your ability to concentrate and work productively may suffer.  In addition, being fatigued may hinder the quality of time spent doing the activities your really enjoy.

Spend time with your family and friends.  

Maintain social relationships.  Research has shown that the top indicator of happiness and personal joy are the relationships we have with others.  Unfortunately, many times, work life interferes with family life.  Balancing both can be tricky, but necessary.  It is hard to concentrate on work when the kids are calling, and likewise, it is hard to watch a baseball game when work is paging.  There needs to be segregation of work and life at times.  During big events, turn off the pager, cell phone and/or blackberry.  Enjoy the moment.

Talk to others.  

It may be good to talk with someone that handles work/life balance well.  In addition, it is important to openly and honestly discuss your time concerns and limitations with your loved ones.  Promising that you will be at an event, and then not attending, may lead to more frustration in the future.

Relax.  

Schedule in downtime in your day.  This is your break.  Take it.  Avoid adding things into your downtime (because it is free time)!  Do not feel guilty about having some relaxation in your plan for the day or weekend.  

Get rid of things that do not add value to your life.  

It is alright to say no when asked to contribute or do something that will not add meaning to your life, either professionally or personally.  

Seek professional help.  

If the balancing act is becoming overwhelming to you, it may be time to seek out the professionals.  You can seek help from a therapy practice either in-person or online. BetterHelp is one place online that strives to make online counseling a pleasant and affordable experience.

Having a career that you enjoy and family and friends that you love may lead to an extremely fulfilling life; however, balancing the needs of both can lead to frustration, stress and anxiety.  Finding the balance between work and life is pivotal to being successful in both avenues of life.