Some people argue that work-life balance doesn’t exist but I beg to differ. Many of us have to work to bring in an income but we also have to live our lives, take breaks and do things that make us happy. That being said, there is a never-ending struggle to find the balance between work and living life.
The negative effects of a bad work-life balance can be quite severe. You may find yourself exhausted all the time, emotionally stressed out, anxiety ridden, and sleep deprived. It’s not a fun feeling even if you are making a ton of money at your job.
If you’re looking to improve your work-life balance this year, here are a few ways to improve it.
Do Something Small For Yourself Each Morning and Night
When you get up each morning, instead of thinking about everyone else and what you need to do for them, prioritize yourself and your needs first even if it’s only for five minutes. Allow yourself a few minutes to decompress from your busy day right before you go to bed as well.
This could mean brewing a cup of coffee and tea and just looking out the window or reading a few pages of a book, taking a hot bubble bath, meditating, writing in a gratitude journal, taking a walk around the block, etc. Taking 5-10 minutes to do something for yourself won’t really cause your schedule to go haywire so you really have nothing to lose.
Ask For Help at Work
It’s important to understand your role at work and determine whether it’s realistic or not. If you have way too much on your plate, you need to speak up and tell your manager or boss about it. If you’re trying the best you can and performing well, don’t see it as complaining or beat yourself up about it.
Your boss may appreciate your honesty and be willing to work with you. In other cases, they just might not realize that your workload has increased or seen that you need help unless you say something. This is what happened with the manager at my previous job. He was overworked and spread too thin but afraid to bring it up to our boss because he felt he’d come across as whiny.
The company was growing consistently each year and everyone was taking on more tasks. Once he finally spoke up, our boss ended up hiring another person to split his entire workload with.
You can always ask coworkers to help out too when you have too much on your schedule since, at most jobs, teamwork is key.
Get Comfortable With Unplugging
How much time do you spend away from your phone and email when you’re not working? Always feeling connected can be stressful and prevent you from being able to relax. This is true even when it comes to social media.
Since I work from home, my mindset is to always check and respond to emails as quickly as I can. I know that people like prompt responses and I don’t want to get too many unread emails in my inbox.
However, that mindset leads to me to check and answer emails constantly, even when I’m, technically off work. Trying to answer every email or be connected 24/7 is a losing game because the internet never sleeps. There will always be something you need to do so be sure to set time aside to completely unplug each day.
Lose your phone, put your laptop away, and turn off email and social media notifications so you can enjoy life and be completely present with friends and family.
Take Your Vacation Time
You’d be surprised at how many people don’t take their paid vacation time each year. You need that time to rest and escape work. Even if you don’t have any travel planned, if your employer is offering you paid time off, be sure to take it before it expires.
Just like with email, work will be there when you get back and there will always be something to do. However, if you don’t want your entire life to revolve around work, be sure to make the most of your time off.
Make Time For Exercise
Exercise become more important as you get older. It not only helps your body stay healthy and in shape but it makes you feel better and has more energy as well. If you’re not doing any type of physical activity, just setting aside 30 minutes 3 times per week to exercise can do wonders.
You don’t even have to pay for a gym membership if you don’t want to. You can workout right at home, get outside, or even exercise or take walks during your lunch break.
Reorganize Your Routine and Budget For Fun
All in all, improving your work-life balance all comes down to reorganizing your daily routine. You only have 24 hours each day to work with, so make it count. Write a to-do list to keep track of your goals for each day, sleep in and plan and prep your meals on your off day, decide whether you want to exercise before or after work, stop wasting time spacing out during the work day so you can get more done, and set aside time and money to provide self-care and treat yourself.
You don’t have to spend anything major, but just knowing that you’re not working solely to pay bills and living expenses can even improve your mood and your work-life balance.
How do you plan on improving your work-life balance this year?
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