Working Harder and More - Left Feeling Tired and Worn?
Lately, I have been hearing more from friends, colleagues, and my patients about how hard they are working!—and how tired and discouraged they sometimes feel. It’s not that they don’t like their job, they just feel like they have too much of it, not enough time to do it in, and by the weekend they are out of gas. They have the impression that the assembly line has been slowly speeding up—and now it feels impossible to keep up.
I understand their viewpoint. Sometimes, I feel the same way. What helps me keep my perspective is to step back and look at the big picture, seek solutions, polish my attitude, and to work on the biggest challenge of all in modern life— finding balance.
The big picture
When I was growing up in the 50’s, there were newspaper articles about how technology would improve the quality of life. Workers would have so much leisure time that they wouldn’t know what to do with it! Sociologists speculated how this would create new challenges. Were they wrong!
In fact, technology (computers, cell phones, etc.) generates more demands for workers. Work cell phones ring all day long, work email pops up on smartphones, and many employees log onto their work computer from home (yeah, me too). It can seem like the work day has grown longer and eaten further into family life. Many high-tech companies have cultures that expect their employees to toil 50-60 hours a week. Sure they are paid well, but they feel exhausted. Technology has changed the shape of our lives, but not by adding leisure time.
It is good to remember that most of us are in the same boat.
Venting to friends and family doesn’t really help. Sometimes singing the same sad song just makes you feel sadder. Better to consider possible solutions. What can I do to make things better for myself? While the heavens may not open wide, you may find that this question generates ideas that can reduce the load. Sometimes saying no to a request is necessary. It may be scary to do so, but setting limits is important. You can’t be everything to everybody…
Focus on the positive
I am like everyone else. Some Monday mornings I imagine sleeping in, drinking a lazy cup of coffee, and putting my feet up. On those mornings, the last thing I want to do is go to the office!
But then I remember how fortunate I am. I had the good fortune to be born into a family that valued education, nurtured my belief in myself, helped me obtain a good education, and encouraged me to go to graduate school to become a psychologist. I “get” to go to work every day and help people grow and develop into the human beings that they want to be. Wow! I am truly fortunate to have this opportunity! When I remember my good fortune, my attitude changes and I feel good. While we don’t have control over the big picture, we do have control over our outlook.
Finding balance and peace in the middle of what can seem like a race to the finish line (falling into bed exhausted at the end of the day), is the challenge of modern life. There is no doubt in my mind—we are all too busy. But it is possible to find and create small oases in our over-cooked lives. Reading a chapter of a good book, taking a short walk, standing and stretching for a moment, a moment of prayer or meditation, or simply closing your eyes and breathing are recipes for relaxation.
In our weekly life, there are more possibilities—exercise, taking classes, and spending time with your family on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Nurture and water those activities and seeds will sprout and grow into strong healthy plants in your garden.
Share what has helped you!