Well-being Vs Resilience

Jan 16, 2019
January the beginning of a fresh new year with hopes, goals, aspirations and resolutions.  Often that spills over from personal into professional life and it's an opportunity to reflect on how the previous year has been but also a good time to put some structure on the coming year.

Regardless of where you are in your studies you may find you are being stretched in your efforts to manage a busy audit season, or perhaps year end or even just to complete study and exam prep along with managing life and all of the things that can be thrown  at you.

Historically the phrase work-life balance has been bandied about as though it was something we should all strive for - however, one size does not fit all and so we now know that everyone's 'balance' can be different and can differ at various  career stages.
This 'balance' is being replaced with a more personalised concept of 'blend' so whatever the work and life blend you choose the key is that it is healthy and manageable for you.

Furthermore in creating this blend, traditionally we talk about well-being and resilience to last the distance.  Career coaches, hr practitioners and even individuals have developed this concept further and have found that too much resilience isn't necessarily a good thing.

In a 2017 Harvard Business review study on resilience the writers look at the potential negative side of our increasing resilience.  Showing up every Monday morning in dark winter months to do a role you know isn't for life but is just for now is admirable and indeed a trait that is necessary at many stages in life and career.  However, when every day feels like a cold wet windy Monday morning, and where the work is neither stimulating nor challenging your resilience could in fact be holding you back from moving on to something more exciting and positive in your life.

Conversely you may find that each day is too challenging, that each decision is too demanding, that requests are bordering on unethical or immoral or the hours of work are dangerously high - resilience is not your best friend here.  The article goes on to highlight the blinding nature of pushing on and ignoring the warning signs not just for yourself but possibly also for your team - not reading the signs or expecting too much are not good leaderships traits .

So what can you do? Begin to monitor your work, your energy, your health and your downtime, if you feel that any of them are suffering begin an audit of what can change, even the smallest tweaks such as cycling into work can mean you get some exercise, head space and still get in on time.  Perhaps you haven't had a Saturday off in months, is there an opportunity to do something about that, even a conversation with your manager to confirm an end point for constant weekend work can in itself be a light relief.  Reflect on what it is that you need to do to ensure that your long term health, positive mental health and well-being are maintained.

A shift from dogged resilience to well-being and self-care can in the long run last the pace and can ensure that you enjoy the journey and view it as a marathon with the odd sprint thrown in - it's where the entire journey mirrors a sprint is where your perseverance can take a bashing. Far from the days of chin up and put your best face forward, we are increasingly reminded that the ‘always on’ mentality and environment in which today’s generation exists should be managed with care rather than become something to be endured.  Long term this mindful approach to self-care will pay dividends that far outweigh salaries or status.

Ciara Tallon
Career Coach & Recruitment Specialist 01 6377322