Why your work-life balance is important and how to do it successfully
Do you regularly find yourself living for the weekend or your days off? Do you live to work instead of work to live? If that’s the case, then it may be time for you to check in with yourself and assess your work-life balance. It’s often difficult to counter-balance the ‘always on’ culture we find ourselves in; from work pressures, to family life and social demands, we can often feel burnt out, lacking in energy and like we never have time to unwind. Finding the perfect work-life balance can all too regularly seem like an impossible feat, and many of us can easily feel tired and drained.
Though it’s normal to look forward to the weekend, sometimes we can get so caught up that we forget that the weekend is only 28% of our week and that just because we have to work the rest of the time, doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy those days too. It can be all too easy to get carried away with work in our pursuit of happiness and forget to live and enjoy life. People say it all the time but having a good work-life balance is truly important for your physical and emotional health. It can help prevent burn-out, stress, improve your productivity at work and help you live your life to the fullest. Here are Bach’s top tips to help you achieve a healthy work-life balance.
The first step to improving our work-life balance is to learn to live in the present and appreciate every day. Practising mindfulness and meditation every day could help you keep yourself in check and focus your energy on the positive aspects of your day. If you don’t know where to start, grab a pen and a notebook or a piece of paper and write down the best part of your day. Just one thing, one moment, however big or small, that made you happy. Doing this every day can help you learn to tune into the positive moments, instead of letting the more negative moments take over.
2. Eating Well
Not only will eating a healthy, balanced diet, help improve your physical health, making you feel more energised day-to-day, but the act of cooking and eating delicious food can also have a positive impact on your emotional wellness. There’s nothing better than eating an amazing home-cooked meal after a long day of work. Since you might not always have time to cook a nutritious meal, consider trying meal prepping on your days off. Think of two to three meals that you would love to have that week and spend an hour or two on your day off cooking and freezing the meals. Make this a fun activity by playing some of your favourite music and having a boogie or a sing-along in the kitchen while you cook. Try to include a source of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats in every meal, as well as a couple of vegetables. Remember that nutritious and tasty meals don’t have to be complicated or time consuming!
Learning how to manage your time is one of the best things you can do to improve your work life balance. When you get into the office, jot down all the things you need to get done for the day, so you know what you need to work on and when to complete it by. Make sure not to jam pack your day though; leaving buffer times is essential as other things are likely to need your attention during the day.
Assess when you are most productive, are you a morning or afternoon person? And then assess what the first task you undertake is when getting into the office in the morning. Make sure you are tackling big tasks when you’re most productive and your energy levels are at their highest, and the less important tasks such as checking emails when your energy levels are lower. Getting things done efficiently will leave you with more energy after work to enjoy your evening and relax.
4. Regular exercise
Pressure releases adrenaline in the body and exercise helps to reduce it, by producing ‘good mood’ substances in the brain, such as serotonin. Incorporating exercise into your daily routine can help you improve both your physical health and emotional health, helping you to better manage your mood, feel more energised, productive, and healthy long-term. Go for a brisk walk around the block when you feel tense or try some regular exercise after work or even during your lunch break to clear your mind, re-focus and re-energise! The important thing is to find a type of exercise that works for you, so that it doesn’t feel like another task you have to complete, and that you actually find yourself looking forward to it. If you like dancing, then why not try a Zumba class? If you like sports, then why not join a local club? If you get satisfaction from being able to see your progress, then weightlifting might be for you. Remember that exercising regularly doesn’t mean you need to workout intensely every single day. Just find something that genuinely makes you feel good – even if it’s only for 20 minutes a day.
5. Healthy sleep
Sleep is essential for the body to function properly, but stress and sleeplessness can be a vicious cycle. When we’re stressed, we might struggle to sleep, and when we don’t get a good night’s sleep, we might feel even more stressed the following day. Though you might be tempted to open your laptop and check your emails late at night, try your best to separate your work time from your down-time. The end of your working day should really mean you do not think about work until the next day. If you work in an office and can leave your work laptop there, then maybe try that. If you’re working from home, then make sure to put away your work equipment, ideally in a place where you won’t be able to see it.
Practicing good sleep hygiene is important, so take some time every evening to settle down and get ready for bed. Make sure to switch off all electronic devices at least an hour before bed as these can interfere with your body’s internal clock, preventing you from getting to sleep. You could also include steps in your routine such as turning your room into a relaxing space, with candles, calming music and dim lights, reading a book, journaling, meditating, taking a bath and going through a relaxing skincare routine to get you ready for bed.
6. Creating space and taking a deep breath
Knowing when to create space is an important step to improving your work-life balance. Though working hard and being determined are great traits to have, know that it’s ok to take a break. Make sure that you’re taking your holidays when you can and that you’re taking a proper lunch break every day. We know that some days might be busier than others and that you might need to work a later than usual – and that’s ok – but make sure that this doesn’t become a regular occurrence. Feel empowered to speak to someone if your schedule is getting out of hand. If you’re feeling under pressure, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and think of one exciting thing you’re going to do today – even if that’s just cooking a nice meal when you get home.