People aren’t as good at controlling when to go to bed because they’re not listening to their bodies.’ HELENA COOPERTHOMAS, RIGHT
corporate career left her feeling empty on the inside.
‘‘I wanted to be a perfectionist, the best athlete, the best employee, the best aunty, I just wanted to give all I could to the people around me,’’ Joe says. ‘‘I was on the hamster wheel, I had everything but felt shallow.’’
Starting as an accountant for Price Waterhouse 23 years ago, Joe moved through several areas of the business world, eventually working for New Zealand Post in various roles for nine years.
Her final job, as a product manager, was unbelievably taxing, she says. She wanted to prove herself to her boss so she worked 60 to 80 hours a week for three years.
‘‘Part of it was saying yes to everyone,’’ she recalls. ‘‘I thought having a high-powered corporate job was success but if I really knew myself better and what I wanted intrinsically, and that was to have a healthy mind, then I would’ve said no and not given in to social pressures.’’
Joe thought her threshold was pretty high until she had a mental breakdown that left her seeking professional help.
The way employees recharge after work is crucial to helping the body and mind recover after a long day on the grind, says Professor Cooper-Thomas.
For some that might be vegetating in front of the TV, doing hobbies that use their hands, colouring-in books, gardening, pottery. Diverting focus from work. For some people it might be learning a new language or dancing.
Earlier this year American researchers found a direct link between deep breathing and keeping calm.
Stanford University scientists performed experiments on mice brains, removing neurons that control sighs and short breaths, similar to those in humans, and found that when mice were forced to take deeper breaths they were calmer.
So before booking your flights to Bali and embarking on an expensive self-discovery journey, the start of a more blended work and personal life is remembering to stay in the present.
Take a breath.
A doctor told Omar Ibrahim, above, that overwork would kill him, while lana Joe, left, hated being on the ‘‘hamster wheel’’.