What is Work-Life Balance?
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by all the “stuff” you have to get done? A project due for work, emails waiting to be sent, a paper due, friends to visit, children to raise, a workout to complete, and so on? This feeling is due to imbalances in our work + life and when these things are out of sync, it can lead to increased stress, anxiety, mood swings, irritability, and illness. It used to be that our work lives would not interfere with our home lives, but with advancements in technology as well as an increasing pressure to perform, the delicate balance of these two areas has shifted greatly. If you feel like you need some balance in your life, please read on!
How can we achieve it?
If you are working (or going to school) there will always be a need for balancing the demands of work and life. In order to do both, we need a plan. Below are some ideas that can help:
Just say no. Saying no is hard to do, especially when we have a fear of letting others down. Respectfully declining additional work is okay to do, and will ultimately help you set boundaries.
Leave work at work. Technology has made everything easier, except being able to “unplug”. Avoid linking your personal cell phone to work emails or documents and leave your work phone somewhere out of reach. Cut down on checking email to certain times; the morning, afternoon, and evening. Leaving what needs to be done for work at the office frees up time for more personal interests!
Ask for work options. Discuss with your employer if there are any options you may have in regards to a work schedule. Flex hours, job sharing, and compressed work weeks can help you choose when you work, help you gain control, and lower your stress in the long run.
What about Lifestyle Changes?
Stress can be combatted with a healthy lifestyle and assist you with achieving your work-life balance! Here are some easy ways to be healthy and goal oriented:
Allow time for fun. Put aside time to go for a hike, read a book, or play a game (Pokemon Go, anyone?!). Do an activity with friends, loved ones, or by yourself for some quiet time.
Get your Z’s. When we sleep, our body is allowed to recuperate and repair. Too little sleep and stress levels go up, as does the chances of getting sick. Put down the phones and tablets at least one hour before bedtime so your body doesn’t fight as you try to doze!
Eat healthy. Consuming healthy foods will increase energy levels throughout the day, allowing you to work more efficiently and supplying you with energy for fun once the work day is done.
Exercise. Being physically active is proven to lower stress levels. Not only is it good for lowering anxiety symptoms, exercise betters your overall health so you miss less work and have more stamina for that evening soccer game with friends.
Go easy on yourself. Remember, striking a balance for you may be different from someone else. Exploring ways to enjoy your work and your downtime is key, and don’t stress about doing it perfectly! Allow yourself to unwind and be mindful of your life and interests outside of work!