With the colder months approaching, it’s more important than ever to develop a healthy approach to your work-life balance. Particularly with the growth of home working, it’s tempting to always be online and available – whether that means checking emails out of hours, not taking regular breaks, or overdoing your hours. However, living a healthier lifestyle is all about having a good balance in your work and personal life and not overworking on a regular basis.
People who overwork tend to be less healthy and happy and may also find that they don’t perform to the best of their ability because they aren’t taking that vital downtime. The trick to a successful career and a happy home life is to find balance. Which of these top work life balance tips will you try to find a healthy, happy work-life balance?
1. Upgrade your email management
Set limits for checking your email and try to resist the temptation to do so after you log off for the day. Avoid linking work email accounts to your personal phone or laptop, so that you don’t see work emails coming in. Ideally, shut down your email programme while you’re focusing on a project or important task too so that you aren’t distracted in working hours by endless pinging notifications!
Another good tip is to spend some time optimising your inbox, so that you are managing your unsubscribed mail, setting up filter lists, adding auto-responders and generally practising good email management.
2. Stick to your working hours
To help reduce stress levels and to better balance out your work and personal life, setting your working hours is important, especially when you run your own business or your office is at home. Doing too much overtime or trying to work on weekends can alter the balance that you are trying to create. It also helps greatly to start with a morning routine that is entirely for you.
Resist the urge to immediately check your ‘to do’ list or emails and instead go for a 15-minute walk around the block to get your blood pumping, clear your mind and energise you. Have a coffee or hot drink of choice and do mindful practice for five minutes such as journalling, meditating or simply just being quiet before you officially clock on and begin your day.
Living a healthier lifestyle, no matter how old you are, involves taking regular work breaks throughout the day to help reduce stress, give you a chance to rest, and help increase your productivity too. You’ll find that you feel far more focused, calm and energised as a result of regular breaks and spending more time focusing on yourself.
3. Define your space
If you work from home, it’s vital to have a space that is separate for your work. If you don’t have the luxury of a home office, then create a desk area that you can work from – and then clear your things away at the end of the day so that you clearly mark the switch to your home life.
Other good ways to optimise your space include choosing a spot with a view – ideally of nature – or having a plant on your desk, using good lighting to avoid eye strain, and picking a comfortable chair. These will all help your well-being and allow you to have a more positive working experience.
4. Living a healthier lifestyle with new screen time limits
When thinking about which good work life balance tips you can incorporate into your lifestyle, reducing your screen time is a significant one. Staring at a screen for too long can be detrimental to your health on a number of levels. For example, we may suffer from headaches, eye strain, dry eyes and disrupted sleep. These can be caused by the blue light emitted from screens that inhibits your body’s ability to produce melatonin, the ‘sleep hormone’ in the evening, which can lead to insomnia.
The key to tackling this and living a healthier lifestyle is to take regular eye breaks from your screen. Exercise your eyes by looking at objects on the horizon, and practice the 20-20-20 rule for screen time: every 20 minutes, focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Use eye drops sparingly as they can exacerbate any dry eye issues. You can also protect your eye health by having regular eye checks with your optometrist and avoiding looking at a screen in bed before you sleep.
5. Utilising work life balance tips to truly ‘switch off’
When you get to the end of your working day, write notes and actions for tomorrow so that you can empty your mind. Maybe make a note of work life balance tips you want to incorporate into your routine tomorrow that you didn’t get a chance to today. Close down your laptop or device and pack away your work materials. Shut the door – physically – on your space where possible. Mark the change by getting changed into your relaxation clothes, and ideally do something physical to counteract the screen time.
Activities such as a little yoga, some reading, some cooking or an outdoor activity can be beneficial for switching off from your work day and are great to incorporate into a healthy lifestyle. Anything that relaxes you is a great way to unwind and decompress after a busy day. Physical activity also has the added benefit of releasing endorphins and strengthening your mind and body. Just make it something you enjoy!