Published On: Fri, Sep 20th, 2019

Finding Work-Life Balance in Washington DC

Washington, D.C., is a lot of things. It’s our nation’s capital, a cultural center, a thriving city, and a great place to build a career, to name just a few. But one thing that Washington, D.C., definitely is not is laid-back.

Sure, D.C. is a lot of fun for visiting tourists. But for those of us who live and work here, D.C. is a real pressure cooker. It’s a cutthroat place where the rising stars work long hours and burn the candle at both ends.

But be careful. Success in your work matters, of course, but allowing your work-life balance to slip out of control can have serious consequences.

Stress and the fast-moving city

D.C. professionals put in long hours and are still cutting deals and making moves late into the night — often from the bar. But if you’re getting home late at night every single day, then you’re putting your mind at risk. Study after study has connected poor work-life balance and high stress levels to all sorts of mental and physical illnesses. The most obvious and immediate consequence of lousy work-life balance is burnout, which is exactly what it sounds like: If you “burn out,” your work will crash to a halt and you’ll have to deal with serious mental health symptoms.

That’s why you need to take work-life balance seriously. Here’s how to do that.

Setting boundaries

You know the symptoms of poor work-life balance: You work too late, you work through lunch, you work after you’re home and you’re not really supposed to be working anymore. Work, work, work — and no life. Not much of a balance.

To start correcting the situation, you need to stop working at some of those inappropriate times. But resolving to be better isn’t enough. The best way to make sure that you make progress is to set boundaries and rules. No work after 8 p.m. for example, or a mandatory lunch break of at least a half-hour. Start small, stick to your rules, and build up as you’re able.

Public domain photo/Wikimedia commons (cropped)

Location, location

Just as important as when you work is where you work. It’s one thing to stay late at the office and come home to crash into bed; it’s another to answer work emails on your phone in bed and then struggle to fall asleep because your brain begins to think of your bed as a stressful and work-related place.

Be smart about where you work, and ban work from entire spaces in your home. When you’re answering emails, consider heading into a home office to do so. When you have a lot to do, stick around the office or head to the library. Your home should be a sanctuary, not a satellite office.

Taking vacations

The little rules that you make and keep every day will go a long way toward restoring work-life balance. But there’s another issue related to time off that D.C. residents (and Americans in general) tend to get wrong. We’re notorious for leaving our vacation days on the table.

That’s a bad idea. You may think that your work needs you in D.C. no matter what, but skipping vacations will make you less productive and put you at risk of burnout. For the sake of your career and the people you work for and with, take a break. Get out of D.C. and, if you can, get out into the wilds — time in nature is great for our mental health and calms us down.

Getting help

You won’t always be able to protect your work-life balance. When a big bill is coming up for a vote, political workers need to be all over it. When a big financial issue comes up, it’s all hands on deck on K Street. We get it. But you do need to do your best, and you shouldn’t go through this alone. You go to a doctor for a physical checkup at least once a year, so why aren’t you caring for your mental health in the same way?

Even if you don’t have a major mental health issue, you can get a lot out of therapy. Therapy is about examining the ways in which you think and behave, and it can give you tools that you can use to become a healthier, happier, and all-around better person.

Author Bio:
James North is a young entrepreneur, who has accomplished a great feat in the world of marketing and advertising. He is the husband of a accomplish writer, and the father of two young adults. He has been contributing to digital platform for quite some time now. He loves to share his innovative ideas and thoughts so that readers could be benefited. He loves playing cricket at his leisure time.
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