Throw a dart into a pile of rom-coms and chances are it’ll hit a holiday season movie with work-life balance as the major problem. Someone is working too much, another person feels neglected, the kids are going down a bad road without both parents there to guide them, and in the end you discover the true meaning of the holiday season. We’ve seen it a hundred times. Old news for the holiday season.
Well, it might be old news but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening anymore. The reason those movies are so popular is because so many families can relate to the theme- a depressing reality for these normally jolly holiday movies. But that’s why they should be viewed as educational material; to learn from the mistakes of the misguided protagonists.
Your personal life should bring you at least the same amount of satisfaction as your work life, that’s what work-life balance is. Read a book, go for a walk, watch a movie, go out with friends, do whatever you need to do to get your fun bar up (tip of the cap to The Sims there). If you’re unhappy in one aspect of your life, you will be unhappy in the others as well. It’s a ripple effect and everything is touched by it. If you work 12-hour days for a week and only have time to eat before going to sleep, then unless you have the most soul-satisfying job in the world, you’re going to crash. You’ll start resenting the thing that keeps you from having any free time: your job. This will impact the quality of your work and damage your reputation with the company. Numbers don’t lie and the higher ups will note the change in your annual review. Your work-life balance is a gauge of how your life affects your work and vice versa.
All you end up with is stress, and that combined with relaxation deprivation is a dangerous combination for any immune system. There are significant scientific studies that link the two to sickness, and I’m sure the last thing anyone ever wants to be is sick for the holiday season. I guess you’ll get to skip work then which is okay, but wouldn’t you have rather spent your sick days on the slopes for the holidays instead of being buried in a pile of used tissues? Work-life balance, my friend.
Take the time to take care of yourself first. Employers want their employees to be well-rested and healthy. That’s why vacation time exists and you get holidays off. Having an employee take off a week of work and come back with the vitality of a 20-year-old for the next few months is much better than having a tired employee instead. The holiday movies teach you about how an unhealthy work-life balance will affect your family life, but they don’t often explain what happens to you. If you want to see how bad it can get go see Black Swan. Hopefully that will wake you up. Take time off this holiday season, and enjoy the holidays!
Are you a workaholic? Did you take time off this over the holidays to be with your family, or did you spend it at your desk? Share with us in the comments section below!
IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by theilr