It’s All About Balance
September 23, 2019
There’s a lot of talk about work-life balance but is it really possible to be well-balanced? With so many of us staying plugged into our job all hours, juggling family responsibilities, and trying to maintain friendships, it’s no wonder that according to a new poll, Americans are the most stressed people in the world. This isn’t healthy or productive.
The good news is that you can achieve balance in your life with a little discipline and planning. Use the following as your guide.
Tune Out. The same technology that’s enabled us to stay connected compels many of us to constantly check it or face inbox overload in the morning. Let others know that you’ll stop responding at a certain time each night. Disconnect completely from all digital devices an hour or two before bedtime and at least one full day on the weekend to give your brain a chance to unwind. Use the time for relaxation or reconnecting with family and friends. At work every hour or so tune out for five minutes. Get outside or simply walk to the water cooler. Brief breaks improve productivity and reduce stress.
Just Say No. Many of us are willing to stay late or work through lunch to help a colleague. That’s fine, but be sure to draw some boundaries when you need to or you’ll lose whatever personal life you have. Ruthlessly cull those activities that don’t add value to your life. Let go of toxic relationships too. Surround yourself with positivity and people who support you. Saying no takes guts, but the reward of self-preservation plus additional free time will soon outweigh any guilt you may feel.
Maintain the connection to family and friends. You may think your company will not survive without you, but it will. Block out time to spend with the important people in your life. Whether it’s a date with your spouse or coffee with a friend, it’s often easier to commit if you make it a recurring event. And, if you schedule during the week, it’ll force you to get out of the office on time. Don’t neglect personal relationships. These are the people who care about you and add meaning to your life.
Invest in some “me time.” Taking time for yourself is one of the most difficult things for the overworked person, but it’s essential for increasing happiness and achieving balance. Have a spa day, start a journal, sign up for yoga or simply sit in a park. Practice mindfulness, or being in the moment, aware of your feelings in a non-judgmental way. Prioritize those hobbies and activities that bring you joy and schedule time for them.
Pay attention to your health. Too many of us wait until there’s a crisis to focus on our health, but obviously it has a huge impact on your quality of life. We’re happier and more productive when we’re eating healthier, sleeping well and getting enough exercise. Staying in shape increases your tolerance for stress and keeps your immune system strong. Consider adding vitamins to your daily regimen to make sure you’ve got your nutritional bases covered, too.
Being perfectly balanced every single day is not realistic, but it can be achieved over the long haul. Some days you’ll need to focus more on work and other days on your personal life. The key is to stay flexible to a changing schedule and carve out personal time when you can. Start small by integrating one or two of these tips and build from there.