You work long hours; work fills your waking day. Solving problems, supporting clients and colleagues and it takes all of your conscious thought, your energy and your time. At the end of the day you fall into bed. You slip into unconsciousness or your brain is on hyper drive. You spend the night wrestling with problems or that voice in your head which goes over and over the things you should or shouldn’t have done like a scratched record. You may sleep for a while but wake in the early hours and toss and turn unable to get back to sleep.

Alcohol becomes an integral part of your day. You socialise with clients and colleagues. You feel you have to administer bon home to be part of the crowd. Drink becomes your preferred wind down tool –after all you deserve it, you have worked very hard.

Your diet relies on business lunches or hurried snacks grabbed on the run as you rush to the next meeting. Some days you simply go with out as you didn’t have the time or the energy to get something more nutritious organised. You have noticed your waist line is expanding and you feel sluggish in the mornings. Fresh fruit and vegetables are thin on the ground.

No time for exercise; there simply isn’t the space in your frenetic timetable. Never mind, the occasional game of golf as you discuss business will suffice.

If you have a relationship it takes second place to your work. Oh you might protest that you are doing it all for your loved ones but your drive to work, to succeed is paramount. You find yourself defending the hours you work. You only listen with half an ear as your partner or children witter on about their day. You find it easier to debate the “important stuff” with clients or colleagues – none of that emotional stuff. You can always justify you need to spend time with clients as they pay the bills.

The recession doesn’t help. You fear loosing your job. The firm might go under and you need to be seen to be working hard. Younger more energetic members of staff are constantly nibbling at your heels. You have an ongoing sense of anxiety; it’s faceless and hard to get a handle on it. You feel unsettled and threatened or trapped by your sense that you should be grateful for having a job. You can’t afford to tell the management what they can do with their job, no matter how much you want to. Those who are partners or owners have an even greater load of all, the families who rely on the wages paid by your organisation. It is a lonely place to be.
You are driven, hard working and have an insistent need to succeed and be valued. You are a workaholic.

Deep inside your body struggles, trying to keep its sense of equilibrium. Your body is constantly producing stress hormones. These are released at any sign of threat real or perceived. They are designed to trigger the fright and flight mechanism- to out run predators or assailants. No problem if you burn the hormone off – it is all in the run or the flight element. They raise your blood pressure, to help get vital oxygen and energy to the cells quickly and efficiently so you can run like hell. In the short term it causes no problems. Trouble is, modern day living means that the stress hormones simply stay in your system. Your blood pressure stays raised, you get head aches, a churning in your gut which upsets your digestive system. In the long term stress compromises the immune system, the circulatory system. It is pernicious and dangerous threatening health and a sense of well being. It contributes to burn out and should never be taken lightly.

If you recognise yourself in the article above it is time to take action. NOW! Stress can kill and you should take medical advice if you recognise ongoing symptoms.

Do you have to put up with the negative effects of stress? Well the answer is entirely in your hands. You can take control of your life and choose for things to be happier.

Are you truly fulfilled by the life you lead? Even on Sundays or at Christmas?

If the answer is no then it is time to take action and to change the aspects of your life which are unfulfilling.

Here are ten steps to creating a fulfilled and balanced life:

1) Be absolutely honest with yourself

2) Do a thorough audit of your life. Use the life wheel on the website. Think about what makes you feel excited – how much time do you spend time actually doing it?

3) Consider whether you are still working on patterns which used to be successful but are no longer working. We often create a pattern of behaviour which helps us to solve a difficulty. We then use it and use it until its very success begins to be a straight jacket.

4) Create a blue print for your perfect life. List all the elements you would like to include. We often have more idea of what we don’t want rather than being specific about what we do.

5) Match the audit of your current life and the plan you have created of your perfect life. Notice where you have already have a match and with others where there is a mis match.

6) You are an expert in planning in your working life context. Translate those same skills into planning how to achieve your perfect life.

7) You get what you focus on so you need to put as much time and energy into creating your perfect life as you do creating your perfect project.

8) Create a list of what you would consider to be the perfect attributes of the perfect best friend. How would they treat you, how honest would they be?

9) Start to treat yourself as that perfect best friend would.

10) Get some help. You’d call in an expert to repair your boiler so why not get some help in redesigning your life.

Making the best of this life is important. Make every day count and live it fully.

Author's Bio: 

Gina Gardiner is one of the UK's leading Leadership Coaches.
Gina supports people at individual or organizational level to develop confidence, leadership and people skills. Gina is the author of two books “Kick Start Your Career” and “How YOU Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively and is also a Neuro Linguistic Master Practitioner and a qualified coach.
To download her free management ecourse...