On June 10, 2022, Dr. Cesar Soutullo, Professor, Vice Chair and Chief of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Director of ADHD Outpatient Program was the guest speaker for fourth session of the UCSC 2022 Staff Recognition Virtual Workshop Series. Dr. Soutullo spoke on the topic of work-life balance, which is increasingly more important these days.
Starting off, Dr. Soutullo defined work-life balance as a state of equilibrium where a person equally prioritizes the demands of their own career and their personal life. While most of us know this intrinsically, Dr. Soutullo mentions how important work is to each of us and why it’s important to find enjoyment in our professions. “Since you have to work, you need to find something that you like and that is meaningful. You’re spending at least eight hours of your day at work.” The goal of work, Dr. Soutullo argues should be to do something you find significant as money does not bring us success; rather our feeling that we play a significant role in our work will bring us more satisfaction.
The presentation continues with Dr. Soutullo describing that we often have a difference between our expectations and reality. Often our plans for the future are fraught with crises or unexpected events that have potential to derail our expectations. “Have low expectations. Things are not like in the movies all the time. Have reasonable expectations and then do small things and build from there,” Dr. Soutullo says. He goes on to provide examples of different models on work-life balance that take into account how much time each daily activity takes up in our day.
When creating goals, Dr. Soutullo also states that “Success, no matter how big it is will not make you any happier.” It’s good to have goals as we seek to maintain a healthy work-life balance, but we should remember that part of a healthy mental balance is also enjoying the ride.
There are sources of unhappiness that may hinder our work-life balance. Dr. Soutullo mentions that time is often a source of unhappiness, and he encourages everyone to do something memorable when they have any time off - “even if you just have a weekend or something.” Aside from time, other sources of unhappiness can be health, interpersonal relationships, economic conditions, lack of free time, or lack of flexibility. Ultimately, all these sources showcase a lack of control which Dr. Soutullo argues is the a larger source of unhappiness.
Dr. Soutullo offers some ways to fight these sources of unhappiness by giving examples of cognitive therapy. “You can change your perception of situation, depending on what you focus on.” If we focus on negative aspects of a situation, that will be what we remember later after the event is over; but we always have the option to focus on positive aspects as well.
Dr. Soutullo’s presentation shows many different examples of how to utilize a better perspective when encountering a stressful situation as well as how to set healthy goals for a successful work-life balance.
You can watch the UCSC Annual Workshop Session 4 with the link below.