If you want to improve your mental and physical health, achieving a work-life balance is an important part of the process. Self-care is often overlooked when you focus on your job, your daily tasks and responsibilities, and your relationships with loved ones. Working towards a healthier work-life balance consists of becoming more aware of your needs and fulfilling those needs, but it can also be a confusing concept, especially if you aren’t sure what should change.
Here are a few effective ways to work towards and maintain a good work-life balance:
Forgetting to take breaks is a common mistake that happens to all of us. Whether we are talking about short breaks during the workday or vacations, it isn’t always easy to pause work and routine and take a step back. Forgetting to take breaks happens for many reasons such as tight deadlines, being focused, or being genuinely passionate about your work. But regardless of the reason, it is always important to make a mental note and remember to take micro-breaks once every 75-90 minutes. Ideally, a micro-break should be 15 minutes long and it will help you avoid physiological fatigue and burnout.
People who work on the computer should take breaks away from smartphones and computer screens to avoid developing computer vision syndrome (headaches and eye strain). To maintain eye health, medical professionals recommend taking a short break from your screen every 20 minutes and looking at something that is far away for 20 seconds. Looking out the window for a minute or so will keep your eyes healthy and decrease your chances of leaving work with a headache.
Small breaks are beneficial and they increase focus on productivity. They also relieve stress and contribute to job satisfaction. Feeling that you are simply too busy to take a break at work is a red flag that can indicate the fact that you need to make a change. In addition to the benefits mentioned above, taking short breaks can also enable you to cultivate healthier habits such as drinking more water, being more active, and eating healthier meals.
Prioritize Your Health
Focusing on work and forgetting about our mental and physical health is very common in this day and age. Emotional well-being, mental fitness, and physical health should be our top priorities. To include more beneficial activities in your daily routine, you can try the ‘habit stacking’ strategy. Habit stacking consists of tricking our brains into developing new and healthier habits based on Aristotle’s famous words “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Although Aristotle wasn’t familiar with our busy and technologized lives, he was onto something. Here is a great example of habit stacking that you can try out each morning:
- Wake up
- Meditate for 5 minutes
- Do some light exercise
- Drink water
- Brush your teeth
- Make breakfast
- Take vitamins
Habit stacking can be applied to anything and you can replace any part of the day that you are not particularly happy about with something better. Ideally, you should avoid procrastinating. In doing so, you become more aware of your free time and you can use it to work towards becoming healthier, less stressed, or focusing on pleasant activities such as meditation, yoga, music, or other hobbies.
Work from Home
Recent studies have shown that 61% of people who are working from home have chosen to remain at home even after the office opened. This clearly shows that people are making a conscious choice to remain at home because they feel more comfortable doing so. Working remotely can lead to a better life-work balance and increased productivity. It is important to mention that working from home can have one downside – being less socially active and interacting with other people less. If this isn’t something that you are worried about, then working from home might be a great solution for you.
Working from home comes with numerous compelling benefits such as:
- Spending less time in traffic and wasting less money on gas and car repairs
- Having more time to make breakfast for yourself and your family and eat lunch at home
- Being able to do some chores such as doing the laundry or washing the dishes during your breaks
- Customizing your workspace and investing in comfortable furniture
- Decorating your office with artworks from your favourite artists and exotic plants
- Spending more time with your loved ones and your pets
- Wearing comfortable clothes while working
- Being able to control the lighting and temperature in your workspace
Working from home can make your daily routine less stressful and more enjoyable. But what can you do if you don’t have a spare room in your home to set up your office? Modern problems require modern solutions and for most people, the perfect solution is a garden room – an insulated outbuilding that is affordable, modern, and comfortable. Garden rooms are typically made of slow-grown Nordic spruce or recycled containers, so they are eco-friendly, durable, and can be used as home offices year-round.
Improving your work-life balance isn’t easy, but it is worth it. It is important to remember that creating a healthy lifestyle is an ongoing process that you will need to adapt and improve constantly. By focusing on your health and well-being, you’ll surely be able to make impactful changes that will have positive consequences on your daily life.