Pssst… it has nothing to do with ‘taking time to get a massage or a vacation’ or whatever else the magazine at the supermarket checkout tells you to do! Find Part I of this work/life blog series here.
In writing Part II of the blog Post on Work/Life Balance, I discovered there’s a lot more to say than I originally thought, so:
1) Here’s the Good News About Today’s World and Finding Work/Life Balance and
2) How to Work With Your Belief Systems about Work
In Part III you’ll learn how to decode your own signals of imbalance and finally, get some solutions!
Here’s the Good News:
Research done by Social psychologist Ron Friedman, who specializes in human motivation, shows that organizations that allow employees to have flexible schedules maximize productivity. This shows up in the following ways:
1) Employees are motivated to “repay’ their employers who give them freedom, with greater effort and intensity in their work.
2) Also, this flexibility allows for people to resolve critical matters when needed and has been linked to several positive outcomes such as the ability to incorporate:
· taking a Yoga or exercise class or,
· picking kids up from school or,
· caring for elderly parents.
· It also honors people’s internal clocks; night owls can work into the night and sleep in, while morning people can get things done at the crack of dawn, and naps can be sprinkled in when needed (Friedman, 2015).
The downside of this freedom is it also creates a collapsing of the boundaries between life and work. For example, texting a client while you’re at your kid’s sporting event and missing crucial plays in the game.
So circling back to Part I of this blog, overworking is actually counterproductive (because it drains you of your power, presence and warmth) and w/l balance is a common struggle, due to changes in our economy and work environment.
Next let’s look at some common reasons you may be putting self -care on the back burner. To do this, it’s helpful to get clear understanding about your personal beliefs, or convictions, concerning “work” and “self care.” As a psychotherapist, I’m trained to examine the sources where a person’s belief systems originate. These sources can be as seemingly innocuous as idolizing a childhood hero, or an implicit or explicit message received from the family you were raised in.
In Adlerian theory, taken from the work of Alfred Adler, The rules and convictions we live by is called our “lifestyle.” Some examples of your “lifestyle” having to do with work include your:
· Family Atmosphere- What were the attitudes of your parents about work and life?
· Family Values- What was important to both parents?
· Family Constellation- What was the interaction like between your family members? For example, were you the “responsible child,” or “the “good child,” or the “easy child”?
When determining lifestyle, it’s important to remember: It’s not what happens to us, but how we feel about it. Life is how each individual experiences and interprets it.
For example, perhaps you have a deep belief in the concept of sacrifice. Like there was some payoff in overworking. Perhaps you think, in life there always has to be a trade-off. Somebody has to be unsettled, uncomfortable and unsatisfied. Life is give and take. You always have to “pay the piper,” there is “no free lunch.” Perhaps you feel you have to “prove” your worth by getting more accomplished than other people. You can see how that’s a set-up to overwork. It’s as if your life depends on it.
These are known as “belief systems,” which in some cases people like to abbreviate as “BS,” which include their picture of the world. Belief systems also include how people perceive everything external to themselves; how they view life and others including what’s expected of them. Belief systems could be moral or financial standards like “honesty is the best policy” or “a penny saved is a penny earned.” None of these are “bad” belief systems, it’s just when they become enflamed, that they become unhealthy.
Here’s some more examples:
Work is hard
Work is stressful
I’m not a “techy” person
Change is scary
Money is the root of all evil
So, from here, if you want to begin to engage in an exercise to examine your belief systems about work and self-care: On a sheet of paper, list your belief systems about work and yourself as an entrepreneur, employee or caregiver.
Stay tuned for Part III of this blog post where you will:
1. Decode your own signals of imbalance and
2. Get some solutions!
Written by Julie Schmit, MA, LAMFT
©2018 Julie Schmit, Shakti Bodyworks, LLC, DBA Jumpstart Counseling Studio
Freidman, R. (2015, March 27). Work-life balance is dead. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/glue/201503/work-life-balance-is-dead.
Photo credit: pexels.com