At the annual OTTIAQ conference last November, we heard from not one but two psychiatrists (Gilles Vachon and Josée Blondin). Both addressed the issues of happiness and life balance.
The assumption was that translation professionals are at high risk of getting the blues because so many of us work alone and social interaction is so important for our mental health.
But translators aren’t the only ones working in isolation. Truck drivers, artists, stay-at-home parents, academics, and writers all spend many an hour without seeing another person. If you spend the majority of your professional life on your own, then you may want to lend an ear—the tips these two psychiatrists offered up will probably make your 2013 brighter!
- If the goal of life is happiness, then love your job.
- Understanding your stress is half the battle won! These days, many of us are in a permanent state of anxiety because (1) we’re faced with too many choices, and (2) the life span of our technological tools is shorter than the time it takes to learn how to use them. So take it easy and see the world as a place to learn.
- Adjust your attitude: Think “could” not “should.”
- Vary your setting. Get outdoors, go to the gym, or go for a coffee. Change will help you feel and work better.
- Give your brain a rest. Do something that isn’t “useful.” Sculpt a shoe out of polymer clay (don’t laugh, I’ve done this), nose around in an antique shop, or bake a cake for your mother-in-law.
- Find ways to better yourself. Take a photography class, volunteer at the local SPCA, or quit smoking.
- Be creative! Write a poem, build a table, or do something out of the ordinary, like learning to fly an airplane.
- Once in a while, make something other than your job a priority. For instance, schedule your workweek around a trip to the spa and not the other way around.
- Don’t be defined by your profession—it’s just one slice of this pie called life