For a lot of people, the pursuit of a healthy work/life balance seems like an impossible goal. With so many of us torn between juggling heavy workloads, managing relationships and family responsibilities, and squeezing in outside interests, it’s no surprise that more than one in four Americans describe themselves as “super stressed.” And that’s not balanced—or healthy.
In our rush to “get it all done” at the office and at home, it’s easy to forget that as our stress levels spike, our productivity plummets. Stress can zap our concentration, make us irritable or depressed, and harm our personal and professional relationships.
While we all need a certain amount of stress to spur us on and help us perform at our best, the key to managing stress lies in that one magic word: balance. Here are a few practical steps we can all take to loosen the grip that stress has on us and win back the balance in our lives. Read on and reap the benefits.
If you hate what you do, you aren’t going to be happy, plain and simple. You don’t need to love every aspect of your job, but it needs to be exciting enough that you don’t dread getting out of bed every morning. Find a job that you are so passionate about you would do it for free. If that’s not possible, find aspects of your job you love and take pride in your accomplishments.
Your overall physical, emotional and mental health should be your main concern. If you struggle with anxiety or depression and think therapy would benefit you, fit those sessions into your schedule, even if you have to leave work early. If you are battling a chronic illness, don’t be afraid to call in sick on rough days. Overworking yourself prevents you from getting better, possibly causing you to take more days off in the future. Prioritizing your health doesn’t have to consist of radical or extreme activities. It can be as simple as daily meditation or exercise.
Cutting ties with the outside world from time to time allows us to recover from weekly stress and gives us space for other thoughts and ideas to emerge. Taking that time to unwind is critical to success and will help you feel more energized when you’re on the clock.
Set boundaries for yourself and your colleagues, to avoid burnout. When you leave the office, avoid thinking about upcoming projects or answering company emails. Consider having a separate computer or phone for work, so you can shut it off when you clock out. If that isn’t possible, use separate browsers, emails, or filters for your work and personal platforms. You should notify team members and your manager about boundaries because you are engaged in personal activities. This will help to ensure that they understand and respect your workplace limits and expectations.
Also, being able to meet priorities helps us feel a sense of accomplishment and control. The latest research shows that the more control we have over our work, the less stressed we get. So be realistic about workloads and deadlines. Make a “to-do” list, and take care of important tasks first and eliminate unessential ones. Ask for help when necessary, your mental and physical well-being is more important than any profession.
Creating a good work-life balance, when you don’t like your job, is tough. So, maybe it’s time to find a new one? See what kind of jobs are available on Wavely.