June 14, 2021
Does work feel like an endless cycle of stress you can’t break? For too many people, each work day bleeds into the next, with catch-up tasks bleeding into the night and days starting the moment they hear a “ding” from their smartphone.
Balancing your work and your personal life is critically important to your overall health and well-being. When you don’t feel that balance, you may have a difficult time recharging and begin to experience stress. Stress has many negative consequences, ranging from minor headaches to serious health issues.
Work-life balance doesn’t just pay off when you’re off the clock — it can also make you more effective when you’re on the clock as well. Here’s how to strike the perfect balance:
Establish boundaries to your workday. Give yourself time in the morning to eat breakfast, exercise, and start your day before clocking in. During the day, take short breaks at regular intervals to keep yourself refreshed and allow yourself time to engage in personal endeavors during those times. When you end your work each day, do so at a set time so you can establish an evening routine.
One of the best ways to create balance is to ensure your work does not follow you home at night. Set goals for each workday on what you aim to achieve, and allow yourself a reward when you achieve them. Stay focused during the day and work efficiently, particularly around big assignments. When busywork or huge projects pile up, that’s when they can encroach on your personal life.
When you get home, try your best to avoid any technology that allows work to intrude on your personal life. It’s okay to disable alerts, power off your phone, and set yourself to “away” on your work email and chat platform. If you work on the computer all day, be sure to spend some time away from the screen to relax your eyes and engage in stress-relieving activities: exercise is a great start!
Downtime is good for everyone. Having too many activities on your calendar — even if they’re not directly work-related — can lead to the feeling that you never get a break and cause stress to compound. When volunteering your time, do so at a level that you can sustain while prioritizing your own health and well-being.
Your job provides you with those vacation days for a reason — take them! People often leave vacation time unused, but the opportunity to get out of the office and spend time improving yourself are important elements to fully achieving balance between work and the life you want to lead.
Finally, remember that work-life balance is different for everyone. Don’t measure yourself against your peers to determine what it takes for you to feel recharged and happy. You’ll know you’ve found the perfect balance when you feel the stress begin to dissipate and that alarm on Monday morning doesn’t seem so ominous.