Work Life Integration and Your Mental Health


” I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent.  Caring for myself is an act of survival” 

-Audre Lourde

Spring is a great time to create a new way for approaching your life.  If you have been living in a place where stress is king and there aren’t enough hours in the day, then you might need a couple of adjustment to get your life back in sync.

Being the master of your day, understanding where to focus your time and attention is an attainable goal.  It’s an essential goal needed to support and nurture good mental, physical, emotional and psychological health.  Mind, body and soul must be nurtured to thrive.

Can you take better control of yourself?  Is it within your power?  The numbers associated with depression, stress and anxiety keep climbing and we are on the verge of a mental health crisis.    Drug companies benefit but how about you?

Technology, rather than decreasing our work week and busy time is instead increasing the anxiety and stress of everyday living.  We seem to be increasingly defined by technology.   Isn’t this a case of  the tail wagging the dog?

Not enough money( never enough), not enough time(never enough), no control over technology and work demands(given away).  Isn’t it exhausting just thinking about it?  How did you give up control?   How do you get it back?

How is this fast paced, technologically entrenched lifestyle working for you so far?  If it is, that’s great.  Congratulations you have figured out a way to  make it work for you. If not, what can you do to change things up so that you are back in the drivers seat?

The answer isn’t out there it’s in each of us.  Does it have to  take a life threatening or life altering event to redirect our attention to what is truly important?  What is the current cost to ourselves, our partners, our kids if we ignore the signs of stress and anxiety and don’t take back control?

We are not lemings after all.  There is  no need to get ever closer to the edge of the mental health crisis cliff?  What is required to step back?

What would it take to redefine goals and change the concept of success?   We’ve all seen that bumper sticker “He who dies with the most toys wins”.  Is this really what a well lived life represents?   How can you change your definition of success and redefine your goals?

Perhaps a life review with some simple adjustments can make a big difference.  This list may help get you started:

  • Schedule regular and non negotiable time for family and friends.
  • Create clarity in  work by setting realistic priorities and establishing good boundaries
  • Focus on  integrated work life solutions with good boundaries, instead of trying to achieve the unachievable through the overused and often impossible concept of work life balance
  • Understand work life integration on your own terms.  Make a work life integration plan.  There is no way to keep work separate from non work life.  The fusion has happened, technology is the glue.   Rethink how to control the time to engage or not.
  • Sensible exercise and good nutrition
  • Create a different and better reality for family through engaging  in healthy outlets such as outdoor activities and play.
  • Keep technology in your control.  Take back power over  emails, phone calls, computer use etc
  • Get enough sleep.  Keep the bedroom a place of quiet, a technology free zone.  Your bedroom is your sanctuary for rest and relaxation.
  • Drink lots of water and eat well
  • Breathe-once you feel your heart racing, simply stop  and take 10 deep breaths (in through the nose and out through the mouth)
  • Exercise naturally.  Walk as much as you can, take the stairs often, park away from the mall or better yet leave the car at home.  Exercise doesn’t require an expensive club membership.
  • Make to do lists.  No need to keep everything in your head

In short, be conscious, be smart, be clear about boundaries and establish a plan to integrate work and life in a way that respects both.  Perhaps it’s time to think about what you need to change to become the master of your life again?  Happy spring!