Handling stress and work-life balance

Published May 17, 2022, 3:30 PM

by Dr. Kaycee Reyes

For you to look good, you also have to feel good

When we make ourselves healthy and in optimum condition, we just do not focus on the aesthetics of our face and body but we also focus on using proven wellness therapies that can heal us internally. Because I firmly believe in this principle: For you to look good, you also have to feel good.

If we really want a better quality of life, we cannot just wait to be healed from sicknesses that we are already experiencing. That’s because there are so many “silent” diseases with symptoms that are not so obvious now, but we are definitely going to feel them when we get older. This includes silent inflammation, which is behind a lot of chronic illnesses. In this column, we are going to talk about work stress. This is relevant because our body experiences silent inflammation when it is constantly stressed.

Lots of people nowadays have been experiencing burnout, anxiety, depression, and stress.  And most of the time we just see on our social media news about the unnatural death of people who we did not expect had been in a personal/professional crisis and just ended their lives for no apparent reasons. 

Self-awareness is a very important skill to develop when it comes to managing stress. When we are self-aware, we can recognize what is appropriate to do in a particular context. To develop self-awareness, you need to be mindful. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help practice mindfulness:

What am I feeling right now?

Am I in the right mindset?

Am I in the right emotional state?

What do I need to shift?

If you’re feeling particularly stressed, take a break, ask yourself these questions, and observe how this helps you become aware of what you need to in order to manage yourself and your stress.

One of the renowned life coaches in the field of executive coaching for work-life balance is Sheila Tan. She has been a life coach for a decade now and is currently doing executive coaching for top leaders of companies in the Philippines and abroad.  According to her, there are so many things that the pandemic magnified in our lives. Before the pandemic, we had a lot of distractions and people could kind of “run” from the problems that they had to deal with. But being in quarantine, without our usual distractions, really forced us to deal with our many issues. And because we are almost always inside the house, we do not have as many physical boundaries that separate our work or school lives and our home life. All of these changes magnify stress. So during the pandemic, you will notice there are a lot of resignations happening and a lot of relational problems surfacing.

Sheila also highlighted that stressful situations can happen anytime. We have no control over that. We do have control over helping our body manage stress when it happens. One of the things she teaches her clients is that we can control how we respond to stress. This is where an intervention like coaching can be very helpful.

Many people want to pursue beauty on the inside and out. Coaching, so to speak, really builds on that inner part—your inner life.

Sheila Tan always asks her coaches:

What part of your life do you want to shift in? What do you want more of?

What are things in your life that you don’t want to be there?

In coaching, she helps her coachee detect how they think, their behavioral patterns, and she challenges them on it so that they can change, move forward, and be the person they desire to be.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help practice mindfulness:

What am I feeling right now?
Am I in the right mindset?
Am I in the right emotional state?
What do I need to shift?

I asked her if she has any actionable tips for someone who is going through a stressful time at work right now. “I would say, revisit the boundaries you’ve set,” she says. “And if you haven’t set any yet, now’s a good time to establish them. There are three boundaries you can set. Time boundaries, which is communicating when you can do certain things and when you can’t. Physical boundaries, if it’s possible to have a separate space where you can just focus and work. And emotional boundaries. Set what your needs are and your expectations. This way, you don’t leak inappropriate emotions in inappropriate contexts. This is an actionable tip for anyone right now: Have a conversation with the people you live with and work with about boundaries. Go into that conversation with intent to be heard and a willingness to listen as well. In communicating our boundaries, we don’t just say it and leave it at that. We also have to consider how we say it because this plays a huge role in how people will receive what we’re saying.”

If you guys have been experiencing stress lately, whether from work or other things, I hope you were able to learn a little something from this column that will make your lives healthier, a little more relaxed, and even more beautiful.