(To see what I was bouncing back from, read How I (Almost) Wrecked My Life)
I was fortunate in that we were still doing OK financially after I lost my job, but I had done major damage to my relationship with DH. While I was unemployed, my #2 priority (#1 was looking for a new job) was a world-class attitude adjustment. I knew that getting the job was only Step 1; Step 2 was making sure that I didn’t repeat the cycle and get canned from this job because no one there could stand me either.
First, I reminded myself of what my purpose in life is. As a Catholic married woman, one big part of my vocation is helping DH get to heaven. (Evidently God thinks I can handle a challenge.) But he’s not going to be very inclined to listen to me if I’m not doing a good job in other aspects of marriage. So, I made sure that every night, I take some time to have a glass of wine with DH and chat. If I have a day off and he has to work, I spend at least part of the day cleaning the house, and then make dinner. DH is a bit of a clean freak, so coming home to a clean house really helps his mood. And of course, Date Nights are a must!
Next, I put more focus back on God. As you might expect, during my year of workaholism I didn’t have much of a prayer life. Heck, sometimes my work schedule made it impossible to even get to Sunday Mass! I made a few rules for myself where my spiritual life is concerned:
- Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. No exceptions. If I have to get to work late or leave early, too bad, I’m going.
- Prayer every day. Again, no exceptions. I’m ashamed I even had to make this rule.
- Daily Mass and Adoration when possible. I feel like a new woman every time I go.
- Regular Confession. Regular meaning at least 3 times a year.
Then, I renewed my efforts to take care of myself. I went to the gym regularly when I was in grad school. Aside from being a workaholic, one of the reasons I stopped going after I graduated was that I’d been using the university’s gym, which of course is students only. Shortly after starting my current job, I found a gym close to work and started going at least once a week. It’s done wonders for my mood and my energy!
Finally, I made some rules for separating work and home:
- No checking work e-mail at home. This is where I find out about work-related problems, and half of them are things I can’t do anything about at home.
- When I have to do work-related stuff on my day off, I set a time limit on it. I regularly have to do continuing education to stay on top of my field, so I really can’t avoid doing some work at home. Setting limits is imperative or else I’ll spend my whole day “off” working. I set alarms on my phone to remind me to stop working, and when looking at journals in my field, I’ll pick the articles most relevant to my job, then read those but no others. Sometimes that’s half the issue; sometimes it’s just one article.
- Vent in the car. When I’m driving home, I say all the things I wish I had told those jerks. It’s very cathartic. (Not recommended if you carpool or have children riding with you.)
- Take vacations, and if you’re sick, CALL IN! Again, I’m ashamed I even had to make this rule.
So, that’s how I (mostly) defeated workaholism. What are some of your strategies for a good work/life balance?