Member Article

Allowing Work Pressures to Impact on Family

Steve Black, also known as Blackie, is well known in the sporting world for his positive mind, fit body approach. More recently he has been using that knowledge to help businesses, individuals and community groups through his latest venture Protean Solutions.

Here he looks at how work pressure can impact on homelife, personal relationships and how to avoid ‘crash and burn’.

“All too often the pressures at work spill into a person’s family life. This happens in several ways – it can take up precious time that you should be spending with your family, or it can affect your mood, the closeness of your relationships, your physical health or your mental health.

“Not spending enough time with your family will cause strain and resentment; and the other drawbacks, of course, cause unhappiness all round. Whilst we all need to strive to be the best we can, we also need to maintain a life/work balance, and if it isn’t possible short term while you deal with a large project or deadline, then some coping mechanisms to make sure work stays at work are needed.

“Here are five tips from me on getting through those tough periods whilst keeping your home and social life balanced.

“Start your day earlier: If it’s a short-term challenge at work, then get up earlier. It is easy to squeeze a couple of quiet hours in at the desk/dining table whilst everyone else in the house is asleep. The beauty of this is that you can do it without showering and dressing, then just start your day at the normal time you would. These quiet hours can be very productive, as you are fresh, focused, uninterrupted. Two hours at this time of day, are often worth four later. This can cut down on working ‘late’ and keep some family or social life safe.

“Be strict on a finish time or a break time: make a pledge to turn off your laptop or stop meetings at a certain time even if it’s later than normal, but still leaving time to do something non-work related prior to bed. There is also the option to break and return to work later, which works very well if you have young children or look after elderly parents. You can spend time with your family, cook tea, do homework, give the kids a bath, walk the dog, all the things you normally would do…. Then forfeit your TV time to dedicate to work. It gives you less rest personally but maintains the family status quo. It also helps attending social functions. I recommend driving and not having a drink, as it means you can do a couple of hours work before you hit the sack when you get in. Balance with compromise.

“Look after your health: firstly, if you are working harder and under stress then make sure you are eating healthily and staying hydrated. Without the right, regular food and lots of hydration your body and brain won’t function at their best. Mistakes are easy made or exhaustion sets in sooner. It is also important to get fresh air – aim for one walk a day, even just 10 – 15 minutes. Work with a window open, and every now and then stretch from your desk and go to an outside door to breathe in the air. This keeps your brain alert and active, helps circulation and breaks up routine, much better for the human body. And if exercise is part of your normal day, do not let this slip. It releases endorphins and is your form of happiness, so you will feel worse without it. Cut it down to 20 minutes sessions rather than cut it out if time is pressing, and rather than travel to a gym, set up an area at home or in the office.

“Make sure you minimise digital exposure in your down time: This should be common sense but one of the first things we do during down time is check into our social media channels to see what everyone else is up to. This is a source of anxiety, comparing your life to others. YouTube, Netflix and everything social takes you away from important people where you could be spending quality time. Unless of course, you watch a family film together!

“Use the mind box: this is my final tip and probably the one I get the most feedback on, in fact one female CEO said it had been a life saver for her. When you get to a point where you can finish work for the day, visualise everything you will do tomorrow, visualise anything that is bothering you, and visualise what you have achieved today. Then (in your head) put them into an imaginary box – it can be any type of box as long as it has a lock. Mine is a study wooden box with the word “tomorrow” engraved into it. Put everything in and shut that box tight, turning the key. Tell it when you will be back to open it and push it to one side. Every time a thought creeps into your mind during your personal time, keep a journal close by to write it in so you don’t forget and then get back to your personal time. Trust me, after a few days if you give this a chance, you’ll love the technique.

“These five tips are great for keeping balance and reducing stress, protecting any negative impact on your family and your social relationships. Most of them are best employed for a short-term work crisis. If your working hours and stress are long term, then you need a regular mentor and more support in the workplace.

“Always remember we do what we do to support the lives we want to have with people we love. We want to make positive impact, but work can be replaced and business will carry on. Family, friends, living life fully is what shapes and fulfils us. Don’t waste important time!

“Stay safe and God Bless everyone. You know where I am if you need further tips!”

Blackie’s portfolio is impressive, with big names including Kevin Keegan, Rob Andrew, Jonny Wilkinson, Jonathan Edwards and Glen McCrory endorsing the former Newcastle Falcons and British Lions rugby coach. He now works with companies including Cascade Cash Management, The John McEnroe Academy and Fairstone to name a few.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Anna Toms .

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