Remember we are only a benefit to those we serve if we are able to have true balance in our lives. Here are some suggestions in moving toward a healthy work life balance:
A. Identify one positive/healthy thing that you would love to incorporate into your work day. Make it a point to try to incorporate that thing into your week somehow.
B. Write down all your sick leave time, vacation time, and mental health days. Start planning ahead now, whether that means a staycation, a massage, spending time with family, or seeing friends, make it a point to dedicate time to yourself.
C. How can you make an appointment with self care? Does that mean writing it on your calendar, signing up for a class that involves a hobby or making plans with friends? Hold yourself accountable.
D. Remember that the labor movement and countless individuals worked hard to create weekends, breaks (for example in Oregon, non-exempt employees must be given a 30 minute meal break for every shift that is 6 hours or longer), and more humane working conditions. Make it a point to honor the labor movement by agreeing to a sustainable work schedule and sticking to it.
E. Similar to the point above, reflect on and set healthy boundaries with your work. For example, when you go away from work, really leave that role; no checking email, texts, etc. Make sure that you actually get mental and physical time away from work.
F. Provide yourself with compassion on a daily basis:
a. Think of someone who showed you a great deal of compassion. I encourage you to think of someone who you do not or did not have a complicated history with. This could even be a pet or a fictional character. Hold them in your thoughts for a moment while you remember what it felt like to be in their presence.
b. Recall a time when you were particularly hard on yourself. Ask yourself what your deepest fear was at that time, close your eyes and replay the situation in your mind, image how you could have responded to yourself more compassionately. Notice how it feels to respond in a more compassionate manner.
c. Notice the times or situations when you lose your sense of compassion. Generate a list of three people or situations, in your life, where you think an increase in your compassion could significantly alter the dynamic. Make an intention to approach one of these people or situations with an increase in compassion, each month, for six months, pay attention to the difference by writing it down.
G. Before starting your workday stop and think; Why am I doing what I am doing? Literally write this down. Remind yourself on a regular basis why you do the work that you do, especially on difficult days.
H. Consult with another professional in your field on a regular basis. Choose a trustworthy person and ask for feedback.