If you're finding it more challenging than ever to juggle the demands of your job and the rest of your life, you're not alone! Many people are putting in extra hours, with limited time for themselves and using their smartphones to be on call when they're not physically at work.
Most of us will spend an average of 40 hours a week at work, around 99,117 hours in our working life - that’s a solid 11 and a half years of solid slog!
Interestingly, we also spend ….23,214hrs washing clothes; 6mths queuing; 38,003hrs eating; 26yrs sleeping; 20wks on hold; 136 days women spend getting ready!!!
Long working hours and stress from work can have a hugely detrimental effect on physical health, family, relationships, and our emotional or mental wellbeing. Sick days are costing UK businesses nearly £29 billion a year as UK workers take more than four times as many days off work sick as those in other countries (PwC) The average worker takes 9.1 days off each year due to sickness and work related stress, depression or anxiety. How well we perform when we are at work can also be hugely affected by stress.
A healthy Work Life balance will mean something different for each of us, but we can all take actions to enhancing our lives and spending time on the things that are important to us. Here are some Top Tips to help you reclaim your Work Life Balance, beat burnout and make time for the activities and people that matter to you…
Review how you spend your days and think about what you do and what your own priorities are. From here you can look at where you spend your time and drop the activities that sap your time and energy. Think about what you can delegate. Support a local trades person for jobs at home or try to combine errands so that you are not making multiple trips out to different places. Can you get groceries delivered or online purchases delivered to the office to save a trip to the post office? All of these time consuming chores will add up to create time for something more meaningful to you!
2. Get Offline
Technology is essential for most of us in our day-to-day jobs. It has enhanced the efficiency of business and how, when, where we can operate. However, with that comes an expectation of being constantly available and there is no line between work life and home life. The large majority of have become so wired to technology, that the only time we have a break is when we are asleep. It is often the last thing we do at night and the first thing in the morning, even checking our phones if we wake in the night. Sound familiar?
Is our constant checking of emails and social media that necessary or just adding to our stress levels? Enjoy some quality time with family, partner or friends and turn off the constant notifications, even for a few hours.
3. Schedule some Downtime
Make time in your diary to relax and unwind. Even taking 10 mins a day away from your work and daily chores will help you to recharge and refocus on the tasks in hand with a clear head.
Try practicing some deep breathing exercises, yoga or mindfulness and meditation. Learning to truly relax and quiet the mind can be difficult for some of us and is a skill that takes time to master, so be patient with yourself. Show yourself some compassion and experiment with different things, read a book take a massage or a walk in the park and focus on you for that moment. You will feel better for it and probably achieve far more in the rest of the day.
4. Do something active
Exercise has so many benefits. It helps to support our heart health, metabolism and physical wellbeing to prevent sickness and disease. The feel-good hormones that are generated when you exercise can enhance your mood, increase energy levels and improve cognitive functions, meaning you are more focused and alert during the day, helping you to be more productive at work.
Being active can be social too if you exercise with a friend, attend a sports club or play team sports. Regular exercise should be part of your healthy lifestyle, so make sure you include time in your daily routine to get active!
5. Strive for Progress not Perfection
Some people adopt ‘perfectionist’ tendencies from a young age when the demands on time are minimal. Add a few years and increasing responsibilities like promotions at work, running a home, family life and leisure activities, that constant pursuit of perfection can have a hugely detrimental effect on our health. We can all be guilty of putting pressure on ourselves to achieve more at work, professionally, and at home personally.
Even those of us that practice sporting competitions at a club or semi-professional level can put a huge amount of pressure on ourselves to get continuously faster. If we achieved a personal best at every event we entered, we would all be in the Olympics!
This ‘Perfection’ is often our own perception of what we think we could or should aspire to and once we achieve what we initially set out to do, we don’t always realise or acknowledge it before we set ourselves another target!
By letting go of this ‘ideal’ we will relieve this pressure that can cause constant anxieties and stress and start to realise what we are achieving and actually congratulate ourselves!
6. You set the Rules
Make a point of trying different things with regard to what you do and how you spend your time. There are no rules here, some of us are morning people, some are night owls, and we all have different responsibilities, priorities and passions. If fitting in daily exercise is a problem, try working out at different times of the day or maybe you can run, cycle or walk to work if this is an option. Think about the activities that you pursue and perhaps try something different for pleasure or relaxation. It can be incredibly satisfying to discover a new passion or talent or something creative you enjoy that helps you release your thoughts from the day and escape the daily grind for a moment.
It is never too late to make a change to how you live your life in order to get the most out of it! Start with small changes by setting yourself some goals that are realistic. The last thing you want to do is to put more pressure on yourself to achieve this Work, Life Balance!!!