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Workplace Wellness for Parents: How Not to Lose Your Sh!t at Work

Before I became a coach, I was working in the corporate world like a lot of other parents.

 

When you start a career, you have no idea that it will be just the beginning of a long and sometimes winding process that will be filled with highs, lows, and everything in between.

 

If you’re like me, you likely worked a little here, worked a little there, and finally came to rest in a position or industry that best suits you. There are days when you love it and hate it but it’s what you do.

 

Then, you partnered up or get married, and along come the kids.

 

If you’re one of the lucky ones, this plot twist didn't make too much of a ripple in the narrative. For others, there are stormy seas or capsized ships.

 

No matter what the extreme, it’s all the same, something changed, and that something was you.


Even if you were able to continue putting in 60-hour work weeks, things were a little different.

 

You get tired faster, you’re more irritable, patience may be shorter, and your most frequently used comment may become, “Just bottom-line me.” AKA, get to the point! LOL

 

When the shift happens, the dual roles of parent and employee (or boss) start to collide, and one of the most important casualties can become your personal health and wellness.

 

If you’re doing everything you can to stay balanced at home, you must do the same for work.

 

We think of our work environment as something we have little control over. You go there or log on, you do the work, you leave or log off. What we have to remember is that what happens in between plays a huge role in continuing to be happy in the role and managing the impact it has on your overall wellness.

 

To make sure this happens, it’s important that you put in place everything you need to create balance in your workday.

 

Here are a few ways you can keep the ship afloat, cheerfully.

 

Block Your Time

 

When looking at your calendar, block time for tasks like responding to emails, project work, meetings, future planning, and the all important “me time” or breaks.


Blocking time helps maintain focus and tells you clearly what needs to be done. The “me” time is just for you; lunch, a walk, cat nap, whatever you need. Hold it sacred and don’t let anyone encroach on it.

 

Prioritize Your Tasks

 

If you use a “to-do” list, put it to work. Take your full list and mark the important tasks in red, should-be-done tasks in orange, and the nice-to-have tasks in green. Take the three most important tasks from the red list and make them your priority. When you knock those out, move further into the red list until you finish. If you finish the red list, the three most important things on the orange list are now your reds (priorities).

 

You’ll get to everything eventually, but you can’t do everything at once.

 

Establish a “Golden Hour”

 

This is one of my favorite things. If you’re working on something important to you, make it one of your “blocks” and deem it your "Golden Hour."  This hour is for working ONLY on that task and ensures you touch it every day. Before you know it, it will be done.

 

This is an important tip for beating procrastination because the “Golden Hour” is non-negotiable.

 

Remove Clutter from Your Space

 

You can’t work in a mess, you just can’t. You may think you can but, no, you can’t. Keep your desk surface, files, and general workspace organized. Throw out what you don’t need.


Organize the files on your computer as well. Visual clutter is disorienting and will stop you before you can get started.


Set Limits


At work, don’t give until it hurts. Yes, work hard, provide a quality effort and result, be a team player but don’t be a martyr. You don’t have to say yes to everything and pick up the slack for everyone. You have a job description, set boundaries around the task, “Other Duties as Assigned.”

 

It’s all about boundaries and it’s important to protect them, this is how you do it:


  • Be clear on your limits and communicate them to those that need to respect them.

  • Speak up when something pushes your boundaries, or you feel taken advantage of.

  • Set expectations and be an example to others in defining what you will and won’t tolerate.

  • Remove yourself from a situation or project that no longer serves you.

  • Seek help in learning to set limits and keep them if you struggle with doing so.


Advocate and Promote Others

 

Along with setting limits, make sure the “work wealth” is being shared.


If you know someone in your department is looking for a chance, advocate for them to get the next assignment instead of you. Be a cheerleader for those around you so management knows you’re not the only game in town. This balances the workload.


And if you are the boss, delegate!!! Just because you did it, doesn’t mean it’s great or correct. Keeping everything to yourself is likely dragging you down. 

 

Spread the work around. You’ll feel better, and others will develop their skills, it’s a win-win.

 

Stay Connected with Others

 

No one should work in a vacuum. We often get so consumed with our work; we forget to connect with those around us. Remember to stop and talk with your colleagues to hear about their lives and how they are doing. Their well-being is important too. Strengthen those work relationships because they may sustain you in your time of need some day.

 

Try Holistic Methods

When you need immediate relief and walking or leaving your desk is not an option, chill out where you are.


  • Grab the Air Pods and listen to some calming music, guided imagery or meditation.

  • Keep a coloring book and colored pencils at your desk. Pull them out and get going.

  • Dab on or smell some essential oils.

    • Lavender is thought to be calming and able to balance strong emotions. It has also been used to help with depression, anger, and irritability, and can help in some cases of insomnia. Lavender can be directly inhaled, used as massage oil, or sprayed.

    • Peppermint is an energizer and can be used to stimulate the mind and calm nerves at the same time. Best used in the morning, peppermint oil can be inhaled directly, diffused in a room, used as a massage oil, or sprayed in the ai.

    • Similar to peppermint, Rosemary is an uplifting oil used to stimulate the mind and body. It may even improve cognitive performance and mood. Rosemary oil can be directly inhaled, diffused through a room, or used as a spray

    • Bergamot can be used to relieve anxiety, agitation, mild depression, and stress. This mood elevating and calming oil can also be used to relieve insomnia. To use bergamot oil, use as a massage oil, diffuse through a room, or use a spray on clothing.

    • While lemon oil may be among the more expensive oils, it is also one of the most studied and more effective oils. It has been shown to help calm and relax people who are dealing with anxiety and insomnia, improve memory and ease indigestion. Lemon oil can be inhaled directly, diffused, sprayed, or applied directly to the skin as a massage oil.


Do (or explore) Something New

 

This is one people really don’t think about or know is possible. If you are feeling stressed or bored in your current role, look around at other roles in your company. Ask if you can explore moving into one of them.  Maybe there’s one with less demand but helps you learn a new area or skillset.

 

We are reluctant to ask because we think the answer will be no or the need to slow down will be looked on as weakness, but I can tell you from personal experience, a company would rather retain you in a different role, than lose you.  Facts!


Know When to Jump and Plan for the Landing

 

Sometimes, a role is just no longer a good fit for you. There’s no shame in that. Should you quit tomorrow? No. There’s a process to that as well.


If you know it’s time to move on for your own well-being and you don’t have the means to float you until you land your next gig, start to dream right where you are.


Think about what you need in that next position or company. Do some research and begin to learn about companies, schools, careers, and people that work in roles you might be interested in.

 

Make connections where you want to go to help get introductions, attend webinars, and start to gather information. Once you know enough, start to apply.

 

When things get to be too much and you must go, plan for that as well.  Don’t let stress push you out the door unprepared. Double down on the tips mentioned above to help you cope while finding a way out.

 

Finally,

 

If things are good where you are but just a little hectic try these tips, and always remember to practice gratitude for what you have been able to do in your role and look forward to the future. This mindset will help keep you balanced and motivated while you work through the tough days.

 

Okay parents let’s go to work!❤️

 

Take care and be well,

Courtney

 


Man happy at work.
You CAN find balance in the workplace.

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