Latest research into the workplace is proving what we’ve suspected for a long time – all work and no play makes Jack or Jane a stressed, unhappy, less productive person.

The triggers can include, working too long hours, not taking breaks, constant access because of technology and taking work home with us, job insecurity, unhealthy work environment and excessive demands of time and delivery. You can’t switch off.

Is the daily grind grinding the life out of you?

You are not alone. One in five Australian’s are currently experiencing mental health problems and one of the key contributors is workplace stress and not having time out for yourself. Our body is usually sending us signals.

Does any of this sound like you?

  1. Your physical health is suffering Not having time to look after your health properly. Poor sleeping hygiene, eating unhealthy food, drinking too much alcohol, caffeine, taking prescription and illicit drugs, forgoing exercise, putting on weight or losing weight unintentionally.
  2. Your Mental Health is Failing Working more may be making you less productive and less communicative possibly developing poor work habits that not only affect you but your your workmates and your company’s reputation. You may start to become more irritable with colleagues, “fire up” unnecessarily, experience anxiety attacks which can start to pull you down and make you depressed.
  3. No Time for Relationships You may start to realise you don’t have any meaningful relationships, and if you do, they’re starting to strain. You may find your other half complaining about how you’re not giving your relationship any attention. It could also be that you’re no longer able to attend your children’s birthday party or any family events due to work.
  4. Office and home becomes a working blur You already spend about 8 hours in the office, but to you, it just isn’t enough. You may feel as if you have lots of work to do, so you work overtime or take work home with you The office and home become a blur and you can’t ‘switch off’
  5. Failure to Deliver You feel your workload is overwhelming but can’t keep up and are barely keeping up Your performance and productivity is down, management may be on your back.

Finding your balance

As psychologists we work with clients who suffer from differing degrees of all the above. We work with a range of people who feel emotionally empty and unhappy to clients who have diagnosed stress, anxiety, depression and even for some ‘burn out’. The earlier you identify the problem the quicker you can recalibrate

Tips to moving forward

  • listen to your body
  • listen to the people who care about you, friends, colleagues or family
  • have regular checkups with your GP
  • get back into a healthy work and life routine
  • turn off the technology that links you to work
  • exercise, eat well, minimise to use of caffeine and alcohol
  • take breaks during the day
  • try to avoid taking work problems home with you
  • get into regular sleep routine
  • enjoy the moment or the challenge, have fun
  • take holidays
  • rediscover hobbies or other outlets that interest you
  • do you feel valued at work, do you need to change jobs or the role?
  • work somewhere that looks after people’s wellbeing

Taking control

Taking care of your career doesn’t have to be done at the expense of your well-being and relationships. There’s more to life than just your work, and if you want the best out of both worlds, you need a degree of balance, and you have to maintain it. If you’re struggling to find this balance, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

By:  Janice Killey

Principal Psychologist

Psychologists Southern Sydney