Finding the balance between work and personal time can seem like an almost impossible mission, you most likely find yourself wishing there were more hours in the day to get everything done, yet still having no time for yourself.
A recent survey conducted by The Office Group found that 51% of respondents said that they were working beyond their contracted hours and 42% struggle to separate their home and work life.
There are a few tips and lifestyle changes that we recommend trying to incorporate into your day to day for a healthier balance.
How to identify if your balance is unhealthy.
It’s easy to slip into a routine of working late and normalising high stress in your day to day. There are a few key signs which show your work life balance is non-existent (Forbes,2016):
Your body is always in pain. Suffering from chronic headaches or neck and shoulder pain is often a sign that you're living in a constant state of strain. It means that it’s time to step up your self-care routine. Draw yourself a bath at night, make time for that hot shower in the morning, and get an oil diffuser in your office to disperse tension-relieving aromas or treat yourself to a spa day. The pain you're experiencing is your body’s way of telling you it needs a break and some attention.
You are always tired. Maybe you’re lucky to get six hours of sleep at night or maybe you're experiencing persistent fatigue despite getting in all eight hours. Persistent fatigue could be your brain's way of saying it’s on overload and can’t keep concentrating or making decisions at the pace you are pushing it to.
Your patience is wearing thin. When we have no work-life balance, we often start to lose our temper quicker and hold on to resentments a little tighter. If you find yourself getting short with co-workers or the cashier getting your change, occasionally that’s normal, but take note if it starts to happen daily or multiple times a day. Try starting and ending your day with a daily gratitude list to train your mind to focus on the positive.
You can’t remember the last time you enjoyed yourself. When we are overworking ourselves, our concept of time is often distorted. Take a moment to really think about the last time you had a belly laugh or did something you love. Often, we don’t realize how long it has actually been. Make sure you are engaging in at least one task each week that you truly enjoy and aren’t being obligated to do.
Your relationships are struggling. Sure, you spend all day conversing with the people around you, but how long has it been since you spent time with friends or had a real conversation with your family? If people are always complaining that they never see you then it’s probably a sign you need to reprioritize how you are spending your time.
You’re glued to your phone. It’s harder than ever to leave work at the office with email and cloud-based communications and it can feel as if workers are expected to be available at the drop of a hat. However, it’s important to have a conversation with your employer about after hours responses before assuming they expect you to respond to every email after you leave for the day. Oftentimes they send it when they remember, but you don’t need to respond until you are back in the office.
What does a well-balanced lifestyle look like?
The concept of a healthy work-life balance is subjective to each person individually; it is ensuring you are feeling satisfied in all areas of your life, having a clear cut off from work and letting your mind & body rest.
A few things you can do to help with the balance:
-Putting aside set times for hobbies, sports or social activities is important to have that clear detachment from your work environment.
-Making sure you have enough time to rest, not using your phone before falling asleep to get the best sleep possible.
-Eating healthy meals regularly to increase focus and productivity at work. Food and rest are the recipe for brain fuel, eating breakfast helps to keep you powered throughout the day.
-Drinking water is essential, feeling dehydrated can lead lethargy, lack of concentration and lower tolerance to stress.
- 'Work smart, not long'. To prioritise your workload - allocating a certain amount of time per task and ticking off a list.
-Ensure to take proper breaks at work, a lunch break is essential for your brain to rejuvenate before the afternoon. Bonus: go outside or leave the workplace if you can.
These are just a few examples of what you can do to ensure you are achieving a healthy work life balance. Though it’s easier said than done, it is important to have a divide between work and personal life to achieve your optimum greatness; rest increases productivity, meaning you will perform better in the workplace and be happier in general life.