REALISING IMPORTANCE OF WORK-LIFE BALANCE. DEALING WITH STRESS

I am back from my holiday and happy to be writing my blog posts again. The holiday was in Hungary,  Budapest, where I went with a friend Gillian who had been there several times before. She told me about the wonderful healing waters of Hungary and how good they were for general health and relaxation. So I could not resist. Especially because I needed a holiday really badly.

The past 18 months have been truly stressful in many ways. My daughter is a teenager, and last year I had to deal with a bad case of her being bullied at school by a group of boys. She is in many ways a different child, a bit of  a rebel, and stands out among her peers.  She is very artistic, and has exquisite tastes in clothes and personal appearance, forever experimenting with it – having shaved a side of her head, and stretched her ears in the past (which was one of the causes of stress for me incidentally).
The bullying started escalating, and Alex was coming home more and more subdued. I decided to ring the school, even though I was forbidden by my daughter from doing it.  But I had to. It took some time to sort it out, but luckily they were efficient and dealt with it quickly. The bullying stopped after that, but it did leave its scars.

While the bullying was going on, my daughter developed anorexia. It lasted 18 months. She started skipping meals at school, then lying that she had eaten loads, then refusing to let me cook for her. She was eating cereal for breakfast, skipping lunch, and had some fruit for dinner. Her body weight plummeted, and I had to take her to the doctors, but it was a wasted journey, and we dealt with it ourselves. Alex realised that she could not go on like this, and started eating little by little. She is much better now luckily, and has gained her weight back, but all the stresses took a toll on my health. And apart from it, we argued continuously about almost everything. To add to it financial worries, and I can honestly say that I was at breaking point a couple of weeks ago.  So the holiday was truly a salvation…

Hungary was beautiful. The spas are very very old, are incredibly well run, and are very pretty inside and outside. The waters are full of sulphur and its components, which is said to do wonders for joints and the skin, as well as general health. There are a number of pools in each spa, all at different temperatures – from 40 down to 16 degrees C. We spent 4 full days (out of the 6) in them. All of my aches and pains were gone even after the first day.  And the mind and body were in a state of total bliss.I cannot recommend it highly enough. Considering the prices – 10 euro for 1 day in a spa, we had an incredible deal. It was a very low cost holiday. So if you feel stressed and are into spas – go to Hungary! We also visited the biggest lake in Europe – Balaton. It was a hot day and a bit of a painful journey – the train stopped several times without any announcements being made, but we managed to get there. It was a day of the regata, which we did not know about, so there were lots of sail boat out in the lake. The lake itself is very shallow, but vast and beautiful.

My holiday has made me realise how important it is to take regular breaks, and not grind myself to the ground with work and family issues. I also realised that my daughter and I needed a break from each other to avoid getting dissolved in each other’s issues.

I am a workaholic by nature. I work until 3-4 am sometimes. Rest and relaxation are the last on my list of priorities. Somehow I used to think that the more I spend in front of the computer, the more productive I would be. But the result is totally different. I have realised that combined with the various family issues, my punishing work schedule is actually taking me in the opposite direction from success. It is making me ill while not letting me achieve what I want, since I am too tired and stressed to work productively.

So, as a result of my holiday and thinking afterwards, I have made the following pledge to myself:

• Plan my day the day before
• Work to a timer
• Have a 15 minute break after  90-minutes of  work
• Have 1-hour break after every 4 hours of work – go for a walk
• Keep my head cool and make every effort not to get stressed over anything – be constructive rather than self-destructive in the way I react to events
• Eat healthily – less rubbish which clogs the system, more light foods like salads and soups
• Exercise regularly – at least twice a week  for an hour (swimming does it for me!)
• Walk every night (I do it anyway, so it’s an easy pledge)
• Take regular breaks away from home, at least for a weekend, every 6-8 weeks
• Stay away from “energy suckers” and surround myself with positive people
• Stop worrying about what other people think about me, because it really does not matter
• Shift focus back onto myself and my own life rather than other people and relationships.

Has there been a turning point in your life which made you rethink  the way you live it, and want to make changes – either major or just some adjustments? I would love to hear what you have to say!