Top Tips on How to Achieve a Healthy Work-Life Balance
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Top Tips on How to Achieve a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Advice on reducing stress and finding the right balance between work and social life.


Top Tips on How to Achieve a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Stress, in its many different forms, is now a familiar part of everyday life for many people. Work pressures, family life and financial concerns will all impose themselves on everybody at some point, regardless of how old or successful we may be.

Researchers of stress and its effects on health now split those who suffer from it into one of two different categories. People in Category 1 experience occasional stress due to current work situations, i.e. working long hours to complete a certain project, or temporarily taking on an increased workload which affects other aspects of work and social life. Occasional bouts of stress or anxiety may be so frequent that once a person in Category 1 becomes aware of the stress, they simply try to meet the concern head on and devise a way to overcome it, rather than letting it build and build until it becomes difficult to deal with. In some professions, this stress is simply part of the job.

Then there are those in Category 2 who feel like they are under constant pressure, be it at home or at work. People in this bracket are at great risk of suffering from stress-related illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and even death in the more extreme cases. Some of the short-term effects of stress include unwanted or unnecessary surges of adrenaline, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, anxiety and fatigue.

In small doses, stress can actually assist many people to become mentally and physically stronger, in turn helping their careers or providing them with valuable life experience and understanding. For individuals in Category 2, however, it can put many on a downward spiral of perceived hopelessness which can lead to the development of more serious medical conditions. Reducing stress levels is therefore an important part of working towards a more balanced lifestyle, and here, we offer some tips to help achieve this goal.

1. Time Management

It can be hard to make time for friends and family when a work schedule is full, but it is crucial to plan family events or nights out with friends in advance, and to ensure they remain part of a weekly or monthly diary. This may mean leaving the office earlier than normal once or twice a week. But turning one’s attention away from work and spending quality time with family or friends, even for just a few hours, can provide some much needed relief from the stresses of work.

2. Exercise Regularly

Most doctors recommend taking at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. This may not seem much yet many people simply can’t find the time to exercise. Those that drive to and from work every day are most in need of undertaking even a little aerobic exercise. Making time for exercise does not require getting up at 6 a.m. for a gym session: it may be as simple as taking time during the lunch hour to go for a walk, or even walking part of the way to and from work.

There are many benefits to having some form of daily exercise, such as: improving alertness, sharpness and concentration; reducing unhealthy weight; and improving fitness. Walking at lunchtime can also be a nice way to leave the trials and tribulations of the office behind, albeit only for a short time.

3. Keep the Office and Home Separate

In this age of mobile technology, it is very easy for a person to be available for contact 24 hours a day. People can open up the laptop while at home and quickly catch up on messages and email, while those with smartphones can pick up their email no matter where they might be.

One of the most important tenets on striking a healthy work-life balance is to leave the office behind once the workday has ended. This means keeping the laptop in its briefcase in the evening, and also ignoring any email notifications that may come through on the phone. Time out to unwind and relax should be the primary focus of most after-work evenings.

4. Help Yourself

When all is said and done, the buck stops with the individual, and it is their responsibility to ensure they achieve a healthy work-life balance. This goal can be met in a number of ways; not just by reducing the amount of time spent each day at work or on work-related issues. Eating a sensible diet, getting enough sleep, taking part in physical exercise and making time for family and friends are all interconnected and dependent on each other.

In addition, a regular dose of personal time is also encouraged. This ‘me’ time may take the form of a shopping trip, some time alone to read a new book, or a few hours to catch up on housework or other chores. Parents that are juggling careers with family life will appreciate some time to themselves to help unwind and bring some balance back to their lives.

 

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