I am thinking a lot at the moment about the balance between my work and the rest of my life. I am the kind of person who gives my whole heart to the things I do, especially when I truly care about something, and I do truly care about my work. I’ve had bad jobs, good jobs, almost unbearable jobs, but this is the first job I’ve ever had where I truly care about my work on a personal level as well as a professional one. It’s also the first time I’ve been so senior, had so much responsibility, and consequently, so much opportunity to do something wrong, or for things to go wrong and me to be blamed (and while there’s certainly a difference between those two things to me, to my bosses…not so much).
So this job has changed my attitude to work/life balance. I check my emails a lot outside work hours, which I never used to do, because I really want to know. I worry about my projects after work, on the weekend…First thing in the morning, I often go straight into my work email to see what new problem is waiting for me, and I spend the first hour of the morning psyching myself up and getting my ‘head in the game’.
But going on such an amazing holiday has made me look at the way I’m working in a new light. For probably the first time since I started this job, I truly switched off. I didn’t think about work. I didn’t look at emails, I didn’t worry about what was happening without me, I just switched off. It was blissful. It let me truly relax.
Which made me realize, although I love what I do and I like to spend loads of time doing it, the way I’ve been working has led me to never quite turn off, never quite relax. And I think that leads to a sort of resentment, and it certainly leads to a lot of stress.
One of the things I will be doing in the coming months is going off my anti-anxiety meds, which I have been on for many years and have been very happy with. It’s quite scary to me. But the drugs are not good for babies in utero. various problems have a slight increase in probability, which, when the whole point of my drugs is to help with anxiety, seems like it would leave me PRETTY anxious if I kept taking the drugs (which my dr said was an option).
So I’m going off them. But stress and anxiety are also bad for fetuses. So I am going off my drugs, but I really need to find ways to reduce my existing stress to help my non-medicated self.
I think one way is going to be a real attempt to switch off. To completely leave work at the office, and to not think or worry about it (as much as possible) when I’m not in the office. Last night B and I walked the dog when I came home from work, which we don’t usually do and certainly not together, and I found that to be a good method. I think Iceland has made me appreciate nature more, and the ability of nature to relax. So , yes, yet another change I’m going to try to make in these next few months…