Having goals as a working professional tends to give you tunnel vision. Looking at the tasks or goals ahead of you, putting your head down, and doing the work can be great. This buckle-down approach can feel good and even help you to be successful in your chosen career. However, when you are struggling with addiction or have in the past, this can be problematic. To stay sober, it’s important to have a good work-life balance.
Balancing the needs of work and the priorities you have in other parts of your life allows you to practice better self-care. Your needs outside of work might include spending time with loved ones, exercising, or going to the doctor. Being in recovery, especially if you are new to it, can feel like things are hanging in a precarious balance. It takes time to learn what is healthy for you and how to balance all aspects of your life. Doing so, however, will decrease your risk of relapse while staying true to your goals and ensuring you don’t develop a replacement addiction.
The Ideal Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance has become a commonplace term. The term implies the ideal balance you strike when you can be successful and involved at work without losing your connection with your community and other non-work aspects of your life. While the concept is simple, finding the exact work-life balance that works for you can feel daunting.
If you are unsure of your ideal work-life balance, know that you are not alone. There is no ideal work-life balance that fits every person. This balance tends to be a unique blend of work and other parts of life. The balance must fit your unique needs, goals, and beliefs. As well, this balance will change over time. When you are first out of treatment, it may look different as you have certain pressing needs as you navigate life newly sober. However, as you continue to grow and improve, your balance will shift.
Building and Improving Your Work-Life Balance
Learning to build your work-life balance in recovery starts with finding appropriate treatment. In treatment, you will learn to identify your needs. This is the foundation of a healthy work-life balance. Everyone has a unique set of needs that help them to feel good and stay sober. For some, this may look like working part of your week at home to minimize a commute, while others may thrive while working in the office.
The exact balance needs to be created by you and for you. However, you should most likely consider including the following aspects of life balance in your plan:
- Exercise and other healthy habits
- Stress management techniques
- Family and community connections
Benefits of Work-Life Balance in Recovery
In recovery, the goal is to build a new life in which you can stay sober. If you’re just out of treatment, this means finding a new work-life balance that supports your recovery. By improving your work-life balance, you will improve your mental and physical health. You’ll discover the benefits of connecting with others, You’ll learn to manage your stress levels more effectively. These are all important pieces of the puzzle in living your life without drugs or alcohol.
Having a less balanced work-life balance can manifest, in extreme cases, an addiction to work, otherwise called workaholism. Workaholism is associated with many health concerns such as depression, anxiety, and lack of sleep. Therefore, by building your life around work alone, your health suffers both mentally and physically.
Finding a better balance will help you to improve your health. This is because a balanced work-life balance includes self-care practices like exercise and stress management. For those in recovery, this is incredibly important. Researchers who published an article in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine have found that self-care helps to reduce your risk of relapse. By integrating these practices into your life, you will both feel better and be more successful in your recovery.
When you come out of treatment, it is well-known that having a supportive community can help you through more challenging times and remain sober. Communities provide support and care. However, they are also fun, which is a great outlet for physical and mental energy. Due to these factors, including a community in your life can make a difference in your recovery outcome.
However, developing a supportive community takes time. When building or becoming part of a community, you must spend the time to get to know others and build rapport. Once you have a community, it takes time to stay connected and engaged with them. While this can be informal or formal, sharing about your life and learning about others is something that is not always quick and easy.
Including community in your life means rebalancing the scales of your work-life balance. It may mean drawing more clear work hour boundaries or taking on less. While this can be hard to do at first, it will help you to feel better in the long run. It will also help you to find and create a sustainable life where you can stay sober.
As a working professional, it is normal to focus on your work and make it a priority in your life. While this can help you succeed in work, it can throw your life out of balance. Regaining a better work-life balance can help support you mentally and physically. It is particularly important in recovery. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, we believe each client needs to build a unique balance of work and life to fit their needs. Our programs help you to identify your needs and build the skills needed to meet them. If you are a working professional struggling with addiction or a mental health disorder, we can help. Call today at (949) 426-7962 to learn more.