Workingwise.co.uk gives some tips on how to retrain and stay sane.
Record-breaking numbers of people in their 50s are seeking to retrain, to gain new experiences, better job satisfaction and more opportunity. Many of them find this time inspiring, energising and exciting, but it can also be exhausting.
The additional time and pressure of studying on top of your day job, family commitments and household tasks can be debilitating. How can someone retraining in their 50s make sure they have a good work-life balance?
It’s important to remember that your training is a short-term pressure. While you may be struggling to balance study time with work and family, it’s only for a few months. You should do your best and accept that it will be tough at times.
Make sure you clearly prioritise the demands in your life so that you can focus on what’s important. Do your coursework, spend time with family, keep on top of work… but you can put that redecorating project on hold!
You might need a few late nights to get on top of your workload, but don’t make a habit of it. Getting enough sleep is important for your health and stress levels. Eat healthily and make time for exercise – a 30-minute bike ride or walk will do wonders for your wellbeing and give you useful thinking time.
Feelings of stress and that you don’t have enough time are much worse when you feel disorganised. Spend five minutes listing out important tasks and their deadlines – this will help you manage what you need to do and give you a better sense of control.
If you really are struggling with delivering on your commitments, flag it. Be honest with your employer about what you’re juggling – they may agree to more flexible working patterns. If your coursework is the issue, ask for an extension to the deadline. This is common practice on most courses.
Some people swear by creating a network of fellow trainees – meeting up for a coffee or even sharing ideas and insights on a Whatsapp group can help you feel less alone and help overcome challenges.
You’re retraining for good reason – keep reminding yourself of this and the reasons you set out on this path. But also take time to notice the little victories along the way – things that have gone well, work that you’re proud of – to motivate you as you make progress. You’ll have achieved your goal before you know it!