Maintaining a work-life balance is hard for anyone. Solutions can be difficult since what constitutes such a balance can be different for each person. Here are two experiences that may provide some wisdom for your benefit.
In 2004, I returned to live and work in Australia for the second time and for good. With a wife and child in tow, we decided to settle here because my wife is much closer to, and more reliant on, her family than I.
My wife had no trouble finding a job. She had, in fact, been practically head-hunted before we even left Canada. As for me, I intended to continue working amongst and with youth. I quickly landed a position in a school in Victoria until I got a call from a church in NSW.
The gentleman on the line asked me if I would consider interviewing to be their Minister. I had sent them an application because they were advertising for a Youth Pastor but, unbeknownst to me, they also needed someone for the senior role. It didn’t take much reflection for me to realise the time had come, this was the moment.
Stepping up into the role of Minister in a church, from a position as a Youth Pastor, is a typical progression. As my first experience in the lead, this church provided me with a good experience. However, it took only 3 years for me to succumb to burnout. The anxiety and panic attacks were very worrisome and even scary.
Luckily, I caught the symptoms relatively early and sought help. I did not need to leave my employment for any extended period. Counselling, a change in diet, a commitment to exercise, renegotiating the expectations of my role all helped me to recover some semblance of work-life balance.
While I am much more sensitive now to the symptoms, to notice when I am feeling overwhelmed, and I am much more comfortable with saying “no”, I am always at risk of losing control. Maintain a proper and healthy work-life balance for me is key, as it is for everyone.
In an article for Entrepreneur Asia Pacific, journalist and New York Times bestselling author Nicole Lapin shares her own experience of burnout. Described by her as, “A complete and total mental, physical and emotional breakdown”, Nicole’s experience was much more severe than mine. This also makes her wisdom on the subject perhaps more compelling. Nicole lists 7 Ways to Get From Burnout to Balance:
- Define balance for yourself
- Say yes to saying no
- Work less, do more
- Start each day with intention, not your inbox
- Set boundaries and stick to them
- Put your phone down
- Practice self-care before burnout symptoms arise
Nicole’s list certainly includes some of my own strategies, but does not include diet and exercise, which is a shame. Nevertheless, her description of these strategies are well worth reading in advance of our upcoming Whisky Circle event opening up conversation on the topic Work Life? Get your tickets now!