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2 minute read

IGNITE June 2019

Finding your balance

Many opportunities in the area to unwind

In our stress-filled world of long working hours and tight project deadlines, it is important as young professionals to find a healthy balance of work and life. Without balance, it is easy for work to mix in with your personal life – and vice versa – at unhealthy levels. Feeling like you cannot get away from work takes a heavy toll on your personal life, just like bringing your personal life into work can affect your productivity at work. Health, relationships, job performance and friendships can suffer when you are unable to put work aside and enjoy life.

Waking up feeling like you have to check your email to see how a previous shift ran, anxiously waiting to hear about the next problem facing you when you walk in the office, projects running over budget with no end in sight, etc., are all examples of what we may find ourselves doing as stress levels rise and emails start coming in from bosses looking for answers.

The interesting thing I have discovered about work-life balance is that there is no magic formula to figuring out what works. As an analytical person who likes to have equations and detailed analysis to solve problems, this concept has taken a long time to sink in after years of trial and quite a few errors. When I made the decision to move back to the Rockford area last fall, after not living in Illinois for a few years, I was nervous I would have “nothing to do.”

What I found in the last six months couldn’t be more opposite. In 2011 when I left to go to college and eventually moved out of state for work, Rockford was nearing the top of the “undesirable” lists. High crime, declining property values and unhappy residents played a part in my decision to leave. Now, eight years and a lot of hours invested by dedicated individuals later, there are so many good things happening in this city that it would take this entire column (and more) to list them.

Organizations like Transform Rockford, Next Rockford, IGNITE Rockford and many more make me proud of my community. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of work left to be done, but with the progress made in the last few years, this area has a bright future and makes achieving work-life balance a lot easier.

Once I leave work, I do not have to look long to find something to help me unwind. I love to golf and fish. If those aren’t for you, there are many other things to help ease stress. The Rockford Park District has multiple recreational sports leagues you can join. We have one of the best state parks in Rock Cut. We have bike paths and running trails, museums, breweries, young professional groups and more.

I encourage everyone to find a few minutes to take an in-depth look at what your ideal work-life balance should be and make a concentrated effort to work toward that every day. If you make the effort, you might just be surprised at what you discover.