5 ways to combat work life blues
Within a couple of months into professional life, daily stress caught up with many of my friends, including yours truly. Everyday, I used to come to office at around 10 am, slog till around 8:30-9 pm and then trudge back home. My Saturdays were working and sometimes the Sundays turned out to be working, too. Even if I was not attending counsel briefing conferences on Sundays, all I used to do the whole day was sleep and be plain lazy. I felt as if I was shutting myself up inside a hell-like-shell, with nothing to look forward to. Facebook updates about people still in college made me feel horribly nostalgic, compelling me to blog about the college days. I cribbed about my lack of enthusiasm in life to everyone who cared to listen patiently. Then, one day I decided to buck up and take charge of the situation.
Recently I met two of my friends, who shared the same feeling of ‘losing enthusiasm in life due to work pressure’ with me. I remembered that in college we all thought how much fun we would all have once we started working, given that factors like finance and independence would not be a problem; yet when we are finally at it, we don’t feel like taking actions along those lines any more. This has been the case with almost all the people I know, from across different professions. Common status messages in Facebook and Gtalk revolve around work stress, the need to take a break and failed attempts to introduce that old zing in life.
I thought of sharing 5 ways to combat work life blues, all of which were used by me to recover from the same.
1. It’s very important to do something apart from work-related everyday. That way, you can keep reminding yourself that you have a life apart from work. It can be anything that you like e.g. reading few pages of a book, watching favourite shows on the television, listening to music on your ipod or something fitness-related e.g. swimming, yoga, running/jogging, any sport etc. I would suggest the second one since it would also prevent you from bloating up while sitting in your workstation the whole day. During the season, I used to go for swimming classes every morning and never let any late night come in the way of my routine.
2. We know weekends are meant for sleeping like a log, but wake up! Unless you utilise your weekends in refuelling yourself for the next week, you will never feel enthusiastic enough to start the next week. Since I stay at home, I use that one precious day to have long chats with my parents, with whom I hardly have time to talk throughout the week. If you don’t stay with your parents, do the same with your roommates or friends staying in the same city. Call up your grandmother and make her day. It’s important to stay connected. Moreover, not every weekend is required to be spent doing household-related work; you can let yourself relax sometimes, curl up with a mug of coffee and a good book or have gossip sessions college-day style. The shopping for cushions can wait till next Saturday.
3. Its important to take short breaks during a day in the office. The work load is usually varying – sometimes back-breaking, sometimes relaxed. After finishing much of the work, you can always reward yourself with a break. I usually drop in to chat with colleagues, or go downstairs for my evening snacks and tea. Even, when I am at my desk, I stimulate myself with a game of Scrabble or keep myself updated with The Hindu’s latest news tweets. It feels better to start work again.
4. As much as it’s important to remain connected with old friends, it’s equally important to meet new ones. Socialise hard. It doesn’t mean that you have to party everyday after office hours. You can join a group or a hobby class like salsa, glass painting etc. Unless you move ahead, you will constantly feel pulled back by those wonderful care-free days of college. I joined Couchsurfing and started blogging, which led me to interact with a diverse group of people. It’s also important to take your online interactions to the offline level. So I have attended CS gatherings and also plan to attend the upcoming blogger’s meet. All these have acted as wonderful reminders of a life beyond Outlook.
5. Go for a short trip, or if you have managed to get your leave application sanctioned, a long vacation. A change of place and surroundings is crucial to rejuvenate yourself and fight work life monotony. I finally managed to go to Diamond Harbour and spend two quiet days at the house of the maternal uncle and aunt of my mother.
I no more feel the work life blues as intensely as I used to feel initially. I have learnt to enjoy the process and fight the occasional bouts of stress. Friends, try the above tested formula and see whether they work for you or not. I liked what Shah Rukh Khan said in the Farah Khan show “Tere Mere Beach Mein” – “When I come home from work, however much I am tired, I never say that in front of my family; I am supposed to spend quality time with them and I cannot deprive them of the same by giving the excuse of being tired.” That is what essentially is work-life balance – one part of your life shouldn’t clash with the other part.