How To Create A Healthy Work-Life Balance
Today on TCB, I’m excited to share a guest blog post from Sundaye, the health wellness blogger from The Sunny Struggle. Not too long ago, I was terrible at creating a healthy work-life balance. My life was work, work, and more work. But after my month of surrender, I’m in a much different place. And I’m so beyond excited that Sundaye wanted to share her thoughts on this topic to the TCB community. I hope you stick around to soak up her wisdom! – XO, Cathrin
If you had to rate your work-life balance on a scale of 1-10, (1= practically non-existent and 10= superhuman status) where would you rank? I think most of us would fall somewhere in the middle, which is not surprising given the everyday responsibilities and demands we face.
From juggling school, work, and family, it can be difficult to find the off switch and enjoy the simple things in life. Throughout this article, I will give you some tips on how to create a healthy work-life balance.
THE IMPACT OF STRESS ON YOUR MIND, BODY, & SOUL
In a study conducted by the American Psychological Association, 65% of Americans indicated that their jobs were a top source of stress. Out of those surveyed, only 37% believed they were doing a good job of managing workplace stress.
Developing good coping skills when you experience stress is essential in order to live a well-balanced life. When you fail to manage your stress in a healthy manner, it affects your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
IDENTIFYING SYMPTOMS OF STRESS
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- High blood pressure
- Weakened immune system
Physical Effects From Stress
When we experience stress, it has a significant impact on our body. One of the first physical indicators of stress is muscle tension, which is a natural protection mechanism by the body against pain and injury.
Experiencing prolonged and chronic stress can lead to other physical conditions such as migraines, breathing difficulties, and most seriously, increased cardiovascular risk.
Chemical Changes Within The Mind
Like the body, our mind also experiences a change during stressful situations. As a result, certain chemical reactions occur. One of these chemical reactions is the release of Cortisol, the primary stress hormone in our body.
Cortisol plays a major role in the regulation of chemical and physical responses in the body. While it helps to maintain our mood, regulates blood pressure, and controls the sleep/wake cycle, it’s primarily known for its role in our fight-or-flight response system.
When increased amounts of cortisol are secreted over a long period, it can lead to difficulty remembering things and maintaining concentration.
Spiritual Effects Of Stress
While the effects of stress on our physical and mental health have been studied, evaluating the effects of stress on our spiritual selves requires an individualized approach.
In some people, stress can have a negative effect on their spirit. Feelings of being overwhelmed, defeated and even hopeless can result. This can lead to one having a negative outlook on life.
CREATING WORK-LIFE BALANCE
You probably don’t need any convincing about the importance of work-life balance after reading everything I’ve mentioned. However, the question you may be asking yourself is how to create this balance. I’ll admit it’s easier said than done, but with the right attitude and consistency, you will find the right balance.
I’m a firm believer that your home should be the one place you’re able to find peace, rest and comfort. With the turn of a key, all of the stressors from the day should remain on the other side of the door. However, for some, this is easier said than done.
In fact, for many people, there are just as many if not more, responsibilities that are waiting at home once the work day is over.
Practicing the following steps will help you to develop the proper balance which will allow you to be less stressed at home.
1. Turn off electronic devices for at least 30 minutes
In a perfect world, it would be ideal to turn off all of your electronic devices once you arrive home from work. But this is the real world, and some of us need to be connected to our phones, tablets, computers, etc for various reasons. However, like anything in life we have to find a balance with our use of these things. One of the ways you can begin to create work-life balance at home is to disconnect from your electronic devices for at least the first 30 minutes.
This time can be used to sit quietly as you allow your mind to settle from the events of the day. A great way to implement this is to set an alarm on your phone before leaving work, reminding you to “unplug”. If you have an iPhone, you can even set it to the Do Not Disturb feature for 30 minutes.
2. Create a schedule for important tasks
I don’t know about you, but I love being organized. It’s difficult for me to focus on something if my surroundings are in disarray. Developing a schedule for your most important home-related tasks is beneficial to you in many ways.
It helps you to stay organized, improve productivity, and allows you to relax after a long day. You can create this schedule using digital calendars such as Google, iCal, Evernote, or Trello. If you’re more of a pen to paper person, you can use a large wall calendar or a compact size personal calendar. These items can be found at stores such as Target, TJ Maxx, and Home Goods.
I personally use both digital and paper calendars. In addition to these, I also use a dry erase board. I like using a dry-erase board to create to-do lists and for planning my week ahead. See, I told you I love being organized!
3. Delegate household chores
This is a great way to share household responsibilities if you have a family. In doing this, you reduce the stress of one person maintaining the home. If you have children, delegating chores also helps to instill a good work ethic and teaches them the meaning of personal responsibility.
4. Meal prep each week
If you want to save time and money when it comes to food, start meal prepping! Although I’ve always packed a lunch for work, I never really thought about planning out my meals for the entire week until recently.
There are many benefits to meal prepping, both health-wise and financially. When you set aside time each week to meal prep you will notice a reduction in the amount of food that’s wasted because you are intentionally shopping for specific things.
This leads to the next benefit of meal prepping which is developing better eating habits. When you shop based on cravings, which I admit I’m guilty of, you are more likely to buy unhealthy food. Planning what you would like to eat ahead of time allows you to think of healthy meals to make.
5. Work on improving your physical fitness
I want you to take a moment and think about how your body feels when you get up each morning. Do you feel energized and ready to start the day? Or do you get up and feeling stiff, exhausted, and just blah?
Well, I’m here to tell you that there is a simple solution if you fall in the latter category. The solution is, drum roll please……EXERCISE!! I know, I know you were hoping for something a little more exciting.
The benefits of regular exercise have been well documented through research and medical studies. Things such as reduced stress levels, improved mood, and better sleep have been associated with physical fitness. You will notice a positive difference in your work-life balance when you consistently incorporate physical fitness into your daily routine.
6. Take time to treat yourself
Dedicating time to personal interests provides you with a positive outlet from the demands and commitments you experience each day. Whether it’s reading a book, going for a walk, or indulging in a little retail therapy, learn to take some time each day to practice some form of self-care for your overall well-being.
Working with others in a professional setting isn’t always an easy task. With so many different personalities and work ethics, you have to develop the ability to maintain a level of professionalism regardless of how others conduct themselves.
Creating a balanced and stress-free environment at work is something that you can personally manage with the following tips.
If you want to create a better work-life balance, begin by prioritizing your work tasks. When you arrive to work, determine which of your daily assignments is the highest priority. Then decide whether you want to complete smaller, less time consuming, tasks first or dive right into bigger projects that will require more time.
This is something I personally use when it comes to writing and creating content for my blog. By breaking down my projects into manageable pieces, I’m less overwhelmed and more productive.
2. Stay organized
If you are working and collaborating with others on a project, I suggest using group calendars, like Trello and Google. Tools such as these will help everyone stay up-to-date with each other’s progress and due dates.
3. Communicate with co-workers
Misunderstandings and lack of communication are two of the biggest contributors to stress in the workplace. Even if you work primarily by yourself, it’s important to maintain open communication. Be sure to relate your progress and any questions or concerns to your co-workers and superiors.
4. Ask for help when needed
Along with communication, asking for help is something that can significantly reduce your stress level at work. If you feel overwhelmed by a project don’t be embarrassed to ask for assistance.
None of us are machines, so if you find yourself behind on an assignment ask your manager or supervisor for an extension. But by all means, don’t wait until the day before your work is due to ask.
5. Avoid workplace gossip and drama
I feel like this should be the first tip listed, but I wanted to wait until the end so you’re more likely to remember it. If you really want to create work-life balance follow this advice because it really does work, at least for me it has.
I’m not saying it will completely eliminate work stress, but it will certainly be one less thing you have to deal with each day. Once you become involved in workplace gossip it has a way of following you home, and that isn’t good for creating work-life balance.
Creating work-life balance isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes time and you will have to make adjustments along the way. The important thing to remember is to take care of your overall well-being in the process.
Although work is a necessary part of life, it shouldn’t cause you to miss out on enjoying your personal time. In addition, you don’t want your personal life to negatively affect your work. Remember everything has its time and place in life. Learning to find the right balance is part of the journey.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’m a Health Wellness blogger who is passionate about living a well-balanced life.
With an educational background in Exercise Science and Cardiovascular Technology, it’s my goal to use The Sunny Struggle as a platform to educate others on ways to improve their physical, mental and spiritual well-being.