Stress can affect us in many different ways. In recent times, our lives have been more uncertain and varied, we’ve had increased workloads and the world continues to cope with a novel virus. These factors, combined with our regular everyday stressors, can wear us down.
“Chronic work-related stress impacts our body’s ability to maintain balance and resilience,” says Dr. Marnie Luck, Toronto-based Naturopathic Doctor.
It’s important that if you’re struggling with stress, you seek the help you need. But you can also work towards finding balance on your own, with no more than a pen, paper and a few quiet minutes.
“Balance isn’t something you find, it’s something you have to intentionally create. Take inventory of what’s going on in your life to guide the necessary changes,” says Dr. Luck. “Work through this exercise focusing on the three R’s of rebalancing: Re-evaluate what’s going on, Reconnect with ourselves and Revisit how we’re doing.”
List the top five important things in your life outside work (specific people or activities). Then for each one ask yourself, How can I add these into my life?
Look for areas where you can improve efficiency in your life. Techniques like time-blocking can be useful. Consider what you can delegate to others. Then ask yourself:
- What systems are benefitting me?
- What systems are holding me back?
- How can I alter my system to be more efficient?
What are the boundaries you can put between your personal life and work life? Do you unplug after work hours? If you work from home, do you have a separate space? Then ask yourself:
- Do I currently have appropriate boundaries between life and work?
- If not, what’s a boundary I can set this month?
You’ll want to take the time to reconnect with yourself emotionally, taking stock of the good things in your life. Reconnect with yourself physically, doing an appropriate amount of exercise, eating healthy and getting enough sleep. Give yourself a score from one to five on the following questions:
- How do I currently feel emotionally?
- How are my stress levels?
- How is my diet?
- How is my sleep?
- Am I connected with those around me?
- How socially supported do I feel?
Set a regular interval for yourself to go through this exercise, whether it’s once a month or another time frame that works for you. Compare your scores for the Reconnect section—have you improved? What’s working? What’s not?
Keeping notes while you complete these exercises will make it easier for you to track your progress and appreciate the affect that these conscious changes are making in your life.