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Many of us feel that in order to be professional we must be on top of our game at all times. It’s not delusional or neurotic to think this way; after all, many of us have lost jobs, or have had friends and family who have. The economy is recovering according to the economists and newsmakers but it still feels as if we’re on shaky ground.
With the advent of email, smartphones, laptops and iPads, work is virtually a plug-n-play phenomenon. The convenience of “working from home” on days when you may be ill or taking care of someone who is can become a bit of a never-ending nightmare where you are continually, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, “on call.”
Weekends and time off are important, not only as moments to catch up with work you’ve not had time to complete during the rest of the workweek, but also to rejuvenate your spirit, rest, and get a real, much-needed break from work.
If you never rest, your capacity for stress will actually diminish rather than increase; your tolerance for tremendous amounts of work will go down, and you may end up with stress, fatigue and in worst-case-scenarios, serious health problems as a result.
It’s important to draw boundary lines because, even though you want to be the best you can be at work, and even though you have many people counting on you to continue to do well, you’re still a living, breathing, dreaming being with personal, emotional, psychological and health needs. Ignoring emails and phone calls from your boss is all right for some, but terribly nerve-wracking for others. Finding a way to maintain your sense that you are doing what is necessary to put your best effort forward while still maintaining your sacred down time is part of the ongoing struggle to find a work/life balance.
Only you can tell how much is too much and how much is not enough. Some workplaces, like some relationships, will take things too far, taking advantage of their best workers until they’re burnt out and either leave or fail to maintain their level of performance.