At a time when more of us are opting to start our own business to cultivate a meaningful work-life balance, the desire to build a successful business could have an adverse affect on our health and wellbeing.
From working overtime at night, weekends and even on holidays in order to achieve ‘success’, it can be very hard to switch off and take care of ourselves. Take Arianna Huffington’s personal experience of collapsing with exhaustion (the catalyst for her best-selling book Thrive) as a case-in-point.
While the opportunity to work from anywhere at anytime is exciting thanks to mobile devices, Google Hangouts and WiFi, when does our pursuit for balance cross over in to burn out?
Here are 3 signs your day-to-day striving for the ideal work/life balance is not measuring up and how to fix it:
1. Guilt And Anxiety Drive You
You’ve quit a high paying job in order to follow your dreams and manage the school pick up each day, but you’ve still got bills to pay and mouths to feed, so you’re well aware of the pressure on you to make this new gig work out.
Not only do you feel guilty for building a new path on your own terms (because you’re wondering, ‘who do I think I am?’) but the anxiety around the need to make money, for your new path to be a viable, sustainable option, has you reaching for your fourth cup of coffee before 9am. In your quest to be a success, you’re left feeling nervous, hostile and impulsive.
Breathing has been found to be the most efficient way to take your anxiety levels down a notch with several deep conscious breaths. If you feel anxiety and stress getting the better of you, try breathing in through your nose for a count of 4, holding your breath for 2 seconds, than exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds. Repeat this method as long as you need to.
2. Relationships Suffer
When you first start a new business your family and friends understand you need to sacrifice some time with them initially to get it off the ground. But soon the weeks turn in to months and they start to resent all the time you spend on your phone and rescheduling catch-ups.
Then one day you notice your friends don’t call you as much anymore and your kids don’t bother asking how your day was because they know you’re too busy. Of course you love your job and are pumped to be doing your own thing, but when work becomes a priority over relationships, ask yourself whether: Am I using this new biz to hide from something or fill a void?
3. Your Health & Wellbeing Declines
When you’re busy juggling demands on your time, it’s very easy to reach for a can of soft drink and a few Tim Tams to get through the day. Let’s face it, eating well and getting 20 minutes of exercise is cutting in to your time, and time is money, right?
When you start to drop meals to get more done in the office and ‘accidentally’ forget to nourish your mind and body with simple self-care techniques, your body can only return the favour with a serious smackdown.
Suddenly you feel sick all the time, you’re lethargic and you’re blood pressure is through the roof…but you keep trucking.
Is this lifestyle really what you had in mind when you started a business? Instead, investigate ways to become more efficient, delegate tasks that are not a priority (or say no altogether) and find the courage to set your own clear boundaries in order to build a healthier, heart-driven path that’s right for you.
Tell us in the comments below, which sign resonates with you? What do you think you could do to turn it around starting today?