15 tips to create a healthy work-life balance
Posted by Justine Clarabut on 17 October, 2022
With the rise of evolving technology and accelerated globalisation in the 21st Century, we are constantly on the go and are finding it even harder to switch off.
This is having devastating consequences on our health. Not relaxing or having any downtime to do the things we enjoy can lead to insomnia, burn-out, auto-immune disease, and mental health problems including anxiety and depression.
People tend to think about the consequences of not having a healthy work-life balance only after they have become run down and sick. This is usually due to the pressure and expectation they put on themselves to remain productive.
‘Rest is not works opposite. Rest is works partner. Each one sustains the other’.
Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
15 tips to help you create a better work-life balance
First things first, take the time to make your health and wellbeing your top priority. You may not feel like you have the time but making the time to do this will make a huge difference to your work-life balance. Not only will it help you reach your personal wellbeing goals but you will be more productive at work. In addition, a greater sense of wellbeing will also help you to reach your work goals too!
1. Make your wellbeing a priority – make a promise to yourself to find the time for self-care.
2. Planning – create a daily to-do list; one for work and one for personal time. Studies have shown that people perform better when they have written down what they need to do. To-do lists will help to reduce anxiety and chaos in our minds, they give us structure and a plan to stick to, as well as a sense of achievement!
3. Manage your commotion. Avoid any emotional tension before bed: leave stressful conversations or situations to daytime if possible! Being stressed will raise your cortisol levels, a hormone that stimulates alertness and vigilance, raising heart rate and blood pressure which in turn will affect your sleep. Typically, your cortisol levels fall in the evening hours in natural preparation for sleep
4. Learn to say “no” This will allow you to choose where you put your time and energy.
5. Have a tech-free lunch break (at least 20 minutes) You will be calmer, more productive, and less stressed.
6. Talk to your line manager if you are struggling at work. Finding a better work balance shouldn’t just be down to you. Your workplace should also help too by encouraging a culture of openness so you can speak up if you’re under too much pressure. Of course, it can be difficult or impossible to stand up for yourself at work if you’re precariously employed or worried about losing your job. It might be a good idea that you know your rights before addressing any issues.
7. Have a daily practice of stillness. By regularly taking time to be still, gives you space, allowing you to focus on your thoughts and how you feel. It helps to calm the mind and soothe the nervous system.
8. Walk at least 10,000 steps per day. Movement and physical activity are essential for our health and wellbeing.
9. Have a no-email evening and weekend rule (if you work office hours) The always-on culture with high expectations to monitor and respond to emails during non-work time may prevent employees from ever fully disengaging from work. This can create health issues such as chronic stress, emotional exhaustion and fatigue due to too many responsibilities after standard work hours. Consider setting up a WhatsApp or similar messaging system to be used only in a critical or emergency situation at work.
Poor work-life balance was identified as a particular problem, with many people admitting their job caused disruption to family life and made it hard for them to switch-off in their downtime. Three in five (60%) say they work longer hours than they want and one in four (24%) say they overwork by ten or more hours a week.
10. Book in short conversations with your colleagues during your working day, as part of your work culture. A positive workplace environment reduces stress, raises morale and increases productivity.
11. Schedule in time and diarise to spend with your friends and/or family monthly. Spending time with friends and family increases our sense of belonging and purpose which increases our happiness and reduces our stress. They can also help you to celebrate good times and provide support during times that are not so good.
12. Invest in relationships. Being connected with others in meaningful ways can help us support our own mental health and wellbeing, and that of others.
13. Eat one meal per day around the table at home without an E-Device. This helps with mindful eating and reduces the chances of over-eating as you are not distracted by a device. Also, eating with a friend, family or loved also helps to reconnect after a busy day.
14. Ask for help. This can show strength, not weakness. It enables you to surround yourself with people who can make you feel good and facilitate further development.
15. Find something to do twice a week, that you love and that is just for you. Making the time to do something that you love and enjoy, helps to ease your stress, lift your mood, and if it involves others, connect socially.
Work-life balance means something different to every individual.
It’s not just about splitting your time 50/50 between work and home life but making sure you feel fulfilled and content in both areas of your life.
For more information on how to upgrade lifestyle habits and be more productive at work, take a look at our Recalibrate Wellbeing® Programme. This online wellbeing programme teaches people how to upgrade their mindset, nutrition, movement and lifestyle habits in an easy to follow 12 session process that fits into even the busiest of lives. Conscious choices and consistent implementation support significant improvements for our health and wellbeing.
Our winning formula is simplicity – we believe it’s the small things you do every day that result in life changing long-term transformations.
References and further reading