There is such a frenetic drive to produce, keep current, stay on top, and avoid slipping in the employment environment. Competition is real in the workplace, and many feel anxiety over their employment situation. If the boss is emailing you at ten-thirty on a Saturday night, are you supposed to respond? What happens if you do? What happens if you don’t? What happens if that obnoxious coworker who sits next to you responds before you do? Does that mean she’ll get status and favor over you?
And what happens if you are the boss emailing at 10:30? If you are a counselor, therapist or pastor, the blur between home-life and work-life can be even more hazy, and the need to stay connected can feel even more real. What if a patient needs to get ahold of me? What if there’s an emergency at the facility? What if that new email is a business opportunity I can’t afford to miss?
Feeling disconnected produces anxiety for both the employee and the employer, because work is money and money is security.
As the boundaries between home, work and access blur, you may decide that if you can be online, you should be online, whether it’s during typical work hours or not. So you feel compelled to be online, constantly checking “the flow.” Not knowing what is happening and what you’re missing is stressful. It makes you anxious, so you relieve that anxiety through constant monitoring.
It’s said, “No vacation goes unpunished.” It plays on the cliché “No good deed goes unpunished” and is just recognition that in today’s world, with the flood of information we have to deal with, being disconnected from work for very long carries its own punishment. There’s all the extra work to prepare for a vacation, then all the extra work to recover from one. I’m sure there are some jobs where you can just leave and have all of your tasks, duties, and obligations handled by someone else in your absence. However, that is certainly not the case when you are counseling and assisting individuals with complex, sometimes life threatening issues.
Sometimes it can seem too troublesome to take a vacation that it hardly seems worth it. I read a story recently about the amount of unused vacation time American workers leave on the table every year. Last year the figure was $67 billion—that’s billion with a “b”. We’re not using all of our vacation, and more and more of us, even while on vacation, are making sure to go online to work at least once a day to clear out email and just keep track of what’s going on.
If you feel like your life and technology use is out of balance, I encourage you to take time and truly address this issue. Perhaps you need to prescribe yourself a technology detox. Or maybe you really need a week-long retreat to revamp your work-life balance.
Together with the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), The Center • A Place of HOPE has developed the Professional Health and Wellness Program especially for professional counselors like you. Join with your very own team of world-class professionals for a one-week, exclusive and private program in a luxurious setting. For more information about this unique program, call 888.726.8125.
Whatever your self-care plan may be, take the time and space you need to disconnect from the technology around you and truly connect with yourself.