Ambition and hard work are ingredients for success. However, ambitious women like ourselves often work even harder than needed. Perhaps we push ourselves because subconsciously, we still feel the need to prove ourselves due to a history of inequality in the workplace. But as successful and high achieving women who work, it is sometimes easy to let our drive get the better of us. While putting in extra hours and taking on extra tasks can open doors and help climb the corporate ladder, it is important to recognize when to draw the line, before work consumes you.
Here are 6 points of reflection to make us aware of when it is time to take a break, slow down and reset:
1. Listen to your body
Under times of stress, our body sends us warning signals that we need to pay careful attention to. Because we focus on meeting deadlines and the consequent rewarding feeling of accomplishment, we might not be consciously aware when too much is just too much. Warning signs that we need to slow down include a combination of headaches, fatigue, interrupted sleep, muscle tension, and knots. Additionally, if you start to notice that you are confusing your words and that your emails suddenly are not making sense this is definitely a sign that you need a timeout.
2. Limit your after-hours working
I can’t be the only one that is guilty of working from a hospital bed? Sure, there are times when we all need to work more than the “9 to 5”, but when this dynamic becomes a regular more than an occasional evening, you might want to rethink your priorities.
3. It is OK to take a break
Take that leave that you have been putting off because you are saving it for the holidays. Taking time of is healthy and neglecting to take a break can hinder your performance in the long term and result in burnout.
When we have too much on our plate, we can feel overwhelmed and not know what where to start, which increases anxiety. The best way to get through your workload systematically is to create a ‘To-Do List’. Jot down everything you have to do and then number them. Start with the item that is causing you the most anxiety. It is important to be realistic when determining how long a task will take and when
setting goals. More often than not, you do not have to finish everything in one day stop putting unrealistic expectations on yourself.
5. Keep a journal
Sticking to the theme of writing things down, journaling your thoughts can help you find clarity in a scattered state of mind and can provide introspection into how you really feel. Reflection is important when we are in denial of our mental state. Keeping your journal next to your bedside is also useful in capturing thoughts about work that creep up on you late at night.
6. Your health is your wealth
As cliché as it may sound, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle when working round the clock. Do not skip meals, especially breakfast (coffee does not count as breakfast!), and stay properly hydrated throughout the day. Sitting hunched over our laptops for extended periods is detrimental to our health; make an effort to get fresh air at a park run, a walk on the beach or yoga and meditation. Remember
that at the end of the day, your health is your wealth.
7. Be more social
When we bury ourselves in work, technology becomes our new best friend and it is easy to lose touch with friends, family and relationships. Make an effort to connect with the people who matter most. Remember, you are a superwoman and know that doing your best is enough.