Trust issues: Remember to find the right ‘work-life blend’
by Chris Brook-Carter, chief executive of the Retail Trust
I’m proud to have worked in retail for over 20 years. And during all that time, what’s struck me the most is the way that it’s bound together by collective values of hard work, ingenuity and resilience, underpinned by in my opinion the most passionate people of any industry in the UK.
Now, with the cost of living rising, there is increased pressure on everyone to work harder and longer to make ends meet. Particularly with retail’s ‘golden quarter’ looming when they will be working hard to help to create a successful festive season for their business after two disrupted Christmases.
But amidst all that hard work, passion and resilience, achieving a healthy work-life balance remains critical for everyone as without it, staff can risk feeling resentful and burning out. It may not be easily but it’s by no means impossible, and that’s why we’ve launched new ideas and inspiration on the Retail Trust’s website this month to help people make changes that could help.
We believe the first step is to change our view of balance as being like a see-saw, piled with work at one end, and leisure time at the other. It’s less work-life balance, more “work-life blend” as Andrea Woodside, Retail Trust’s lead wellbeing trainer likes to refer to it. “Work-life balance is unachievable on the best of days,” she says. “But a blend is more flexible and means you can adapt to what each day brings.”
And it’s important to be aware of the key warning sign that your work-life blend is out of balance: resentment. This may be resenting working a certain shift, being emailed by your boss out of hours or taking on particular duties at home, but it’s a sign of burdening stress that could end up leading to burnout, poor mental health or even an elevated risk of stroke and heart disease.
In this situation, it’s important to recognise that something has to give and there’s nothing wrong with reaching out for help from colleagues, managers or friends and family. Meanwhile rest, simplifying your life and rediscovering your passions and the things at work or at home that provide you with real joy should take priority.
It can be scary to find yourself in this situation and it requires courage to take steps to remedy it, but the alternative of burning out would be much more painful in the long run. Visit our website to find more advice that will help and don’t forget that a Retail Trust counsellor can also help you to see the bigger picture and deal with any difficult feelings.
Five steps to achieve a better work life blend
- Reach out: Ask your colleagues, managers, family and friends for help
- Schedule and prioritise rest: Take some time out and completely disconnect. Ensure you are getting all the rest that you need
- Simplify your life: Reprioritise your life in order of what you care most deeply about. From commitments to possessions, let go of what’s unnecessary
- Rediscover your passions: Give yourself permission to be creative, have fun and do what brings you joy.
- Know that things can and will change: Our bodies are brilliant at bouncing back and small steps will lead to big outcomes
Call the Retail Trust’s wellbeing helpline on 0808 801 0808 if you’re struggling to find the right blend, or discover more top tips at retailtrust.org.uk/work-life-balance.
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