5 Work Life Balance Tips to Keep You Healthy
Have you ever felt that work has taken over your life? Skipping lunch breaks and working beyond close of play are steps many people take to keep on top of their workload.
During challenging times, when many people have had to adapt to working from home, it is important to set healthy rules to ensure you maintain a healthy work life balance. With so many people losing their jobs many feel fearful in their roles. As a result, many are going above and beyond to satisfy a longing for job security.
Are you exhibiting any of the following behaviours?
- Working long periods at your desk without a break
- Checking emails at weekends
- Working outside of your contracted hours
- Working at weekends
- Eating meals at your desk
- Distracted by work when with family or friends
- Poor quality sleep due to work worries
If you can answer yes to any of these, it is clear that your work life balance is out of kilter. If you feel under stress and spend more time in your home office than looking after yourself and your family look at the five tips below to improve your wellbeing.
1. Managing expectations and inserting boundaries
Set yourself boundaries and make them known to colleagues. Nobody will begrudge you for outlining when you are working and the best times to contact you. Your employers should not expect you to be available 24/7. Chances are, if your bosses know how to treat their staff correctly, they would be sad that you’re under stress and will help you achieve a work life balance that is better for you.
The issue plenty of people face in the workplace is being a ‘yes’ person. Whilst this shows dedication and loyalty, it can put you under immense amount of pressure. You can say no. You can negotiate deadlines. You can offer solutions. Employers want happy and healthy teams who enjoy their work and would much rather you say no when appropriate than take on too much.
2. Focus on productivity rather than hours
Unless you have a job which requires you to be on call, chances are you have set start and finish times. This may be the same every day or you might have a shift pattern. Either way, you know exactly how long you should be working and when to take your breaks.
It can be tempting to go above and beyond your hours, steaming through work to ensure you stay on top of everything. However, sooner or later this will result in burnout. At this point you will need time away from work to focus on yourself. Rather than clocking hours and hours, why not focus on productivity? Surely two hours of focus followed by a break and a snack is better than painfully sitting at your desk for the entire day suffering with brain fog? You will feel much more satisfied completing tasks in a timely manner and stepping away from your desk at the end of the day than trying to battle on for the sake of getting hours under your belt. Time spent does not equal quality work.
3. Ensure exercise and a varied diet is priority
Whilst food is fuel can be somewhat of a cliché, it certainly can benefit both your working and personal life. Making sure you have the correct nutrition means you can finish your workday and still have the energy to do the things you love. Whilst we aren’t suggesting getting technical with micronutrients, having three meals a day and work break snacks will keep you alert and energised (which also helps your work efficiency). Some great foods to incorporate into your diet to fuel your body include:
- Nuts and dried fruit
- Whole grains and pulses
- Oily fish
- Dark chocolate
Going hand in hand with nutrition is exercise. Not only will it keep you in tip top physical condition, but it can also help relieve stress and clear your mind. You can even incorporate desk exercise into your day, allowing you breaks when you may not be able to leave your workstation. Whether it’s a dog walk before work, a quick HIIT routine on your lunch, or a bike ride at the end of the day, remaining active improves your health and also allows you time to yourself.
4. Take all your annual leave
Do you want to look back at your career when you’ve retired and think, I really should have used my holiday allowance every year? Your annual leave is there to give you a well-deserved break and there is no glory in not using it all up. In fact, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Book those holidays. Take long weekends. Do whatever you need to do to keep yourself happy during the year.
Many employers do not allow you to carry unused holiday over so our motto is, if you have it, use it. If you haven’t taken all of your legal holiday entitlement you’re not having enough of a break; who wants to work day in day out? This will not only lead to you resenting your job, but it will ultimately result in your burning out. Annual leave is there to be enjoyed, whether this means a staycation or jetting off to far flung corners of the globe.
5. Achieving family life balance
If you live with a significant other, children, or pets, you will need to factor family life balance into the mix. Creating an equilibrium between work, family, and time dedicated to yourself is important. All too often we put our families and work before our own wellbeing. Doing this can have a detrimental effect on the areas of life that we cherish. For example, how can you play with your children and work productively if you are not looking after yourself? Being the best version of you will have a positive impact on both work and family life balance.
If you have children and are remote working if can be difficult to juggle the two, particularly if they are young and school or childcare are not on the cards. This is when it can be wise to utilise family or a babysitter, not just to allow you to focus on the working day, but so you can spend some time doing what you love. This could be indulging in a hobby, heading to the gym, or decorating a room you have wanted to improve.
Achieving balance can be tricky. However, by trying these steps above you can make more feel less consuming and free up time to focus on your friends, family and – most importantly – your own wellbeing. Even during challenging times achieving work life balance is key for your physical and mental health.