Work is inescapable; it pays the bills and it brings food to the table. Before, the boundaries between work and home were separate. However, with the rise of workaholism, people’s jobs have taken over their personal lives.
Recovering from one’s workaholic habits can be challenging; however, it is not impossible. Here are the top 4 tips for building a healthy work-life balance.
What is Work-Life Balance?
Work-life balance refers to finding a happy medium between one’s job and one’s personal life. Examples of a poor work-life balance include working longer hours, cracking under pressure, and/ or suffering abundant responsibilities both at work and at home.
According to Kevin Lucas, co-founder of New Hope Regeneration, “how the body relates to an environment directly impacts the way a patient [lives and] moves.” When a person’s job takes over their life, their relationship to such an environment can result in stress, a weakened immune system, and/or burnout.
Preserving a work-life balance is essential for the human body and brain; it can benefit health and well-being, reduce physical and emotional stress, and encourage positive self-esteem.
A lot of overachievers tend to root for perfection in their assignments. As well-meaning as that is, this kind of ambition can also encourage emotional pressure and stress.
Rather than strive for perfection, one should strive to get the job done. By investing too much energy on perfection, it ultimately makes the task at hand harmful and more difficult.
It all begins with baby steps. When one attempts drastic changes, like cutting work hours in half or vowing to attend daily family gatherings, the effort often ends in failure. Building a work-life balance isn’t a simple task, but a lifestyle.
Baby steps are preferable as they help make the transition from old habits to new ones digestible and much more obtainable. Rather than cutting one’s work hours in half, one should cut one or two hours. Likewise, instead of vowing to attend family gatherings each day, one should begin with one event each week. Once a person gets accustomed to these small changes, they can then make longer strides without feeling intimidated.
Having a lack of boundaries is what enables one’s work to infiltrate their personal life. One should set boundaries for themselves and their co-workers. For example, one should learn how to say “no.” As scary as it is, having the power to reject an activity one can’t or does not want to handle helps one re-assess and evaluate their priorities. When a person says “no” to more work, they say “yes” to dedicating more time for themselves.
Exercise and Meditate
Nowadays, self-care is often misinterpreted as a luxury, not a necessity. The truth is, taking care of oneself is essential in order to reduce stress and keep on living. Exercise and meditation are great ways to preserve one’s mental and physical health. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise can improve a person’s mood by promoting endorphins, otherwise known as feel-good hormones. Meanwhile, meditation can help reduce a person’s stress levels through breathing and other peaceful exercises. Meditation does this by activating a person’s parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for relaxing the body. As helpful as exercise and meditation are, they should not be perceived as a chore; reserve at least 3-5 minutes for a quick breathing or meditation exercise, and at least 5-10 minutes for a short workout or stretch.
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