Work-life balance is an important aspect of a healthy work environment. Having a good work-life balance helps reduce stress and prevents burnout in our places of work.
What is work-life balance? Work-life balance can mean different things to different people but simply put work-life balance are the various ways we chose to handle our professional life vis a vis our personal life.
Not maintaining a good work-life balance can lead to chronic stress which is one of the most common health issues at work, which in turn can cause mental health issues linked to depression, anxiety, and insomnia. we are likely to get burned out from work overload, boring work schedules, colleagues, family, and probably our work environment.
’Research shows the percentage of people who are stressed at work is high and it keeps getting higher, expects to agree that compounding stress from never-ending workday is damaging and can hurt relationships, health and overall happiness’
Everyone gets stressed up at some point at work, and burnout from work can cause fatigue, mood swings, irritability, and a decrease in work performance.
How can maintaining a good work-life balance improve our mental and physical health as well as boost productivity;
Prioritise our schedules
We can schedule our day for focus by prioritizing and reprioritizing as much as possible. It’s crucial to define and set clear objectives and goals, we want to try as much as possible to eliminate distractions when we are trying to focus on our daily tasks.
We should start by creating a to-do list, so simple, yet so effective. To make sure things get done, we should write them down in a notebook or a note-taking app, writing down all we want to achieve starting with the most important projects that are aligned with our goals and objectives and focus on them, also we need to set realistic deadlines in other to help achieve these projects.
We can also use our calendars to plan our weeks so we don’t feel overwhelmed with tasks. We experience stress most times when situations feel out of our control, don’t try to be perfect, focus on projects you specialize in, and execute them. The desire to be perfect increases our stress levels, don’t be scared of making mistakes recognize that failures don’t define us, they’re just opportunities to learn and grow.
Take out time to unplug
In recent times, it’s easy to feel pressured to be available round the clock. To scale through these emanating pressures, we have to establish some work-life boundaries for ourselves to avoid burnout and the negative effects of stress on our health. We need a time-out to replenish and return to our pre-stress level, this process is “unplugging” from work by not engaging in work-related activities, or thinking about work. we must disconnect from time to time, in any way that helps rebuild our physical and mental health.
Take time off to go on a vacation to relax and unwind, so we can come back to work feeling recharged and ready to perform at our best. When we’re not able to go on vacations, we can take time out to unplug by making rules to help give us a quick boost. Like, turning off your smartphone, taking a stroll, and focusing attention on activities not related to work, not checking email from home in the evening, or not answering the phone during dinner. By doing this we will adopt the habit of resilience, thereby having great control over our life.
Most people have different preferences when it comes to how much they blend their professional and personal life, establishing some clear boundaries between these two, can help reduce stress and work-life conflict.
Dedicate time to Exercise
Being overly focused on work can affect our physical and mental health, that’s why experts advise that we should make out time for regular workouts. Exercising can reduce stress and elevate our mood, so when we feel stressed out, we should move away from the stressful situation, take 30 minutes to stroll if we can, or perform some stretches.
Experts say setting out time to exercise eliminates depression and boost productivity.
Other techniques such as meditation, and deep breathing exercises, can also help reduce stress. We can start by taking a few minutes each day to focus on a simple activity like breathing, meditating, reading, or walking, these are effective ways to boost energy, increase moods, relax our body and mind and increase focus.
Eating healthy meals
Our food choices have great effects on our moods during work, so we have to make smart food choices because healthy meals can help maintain even blood sugar levels which supply the body with energy that helps us focus. Turning to unhealthy food to manage stress, is an unhealthy way of dealing with work stress, Experts call this “stress eating”. When stressed, the brain releases the hormone cortisol, which increases cravings for salty, sweet, and fatty foods. Ironically, “stress eating” doesn’t solve the problem it only aggravates it.
Sugary or fatty foods make us feel tired and less productive to handle tasks, which only increases our stress level. It is very important to eat healthy foods that are rich in carbohydrates, that fuel our brainpower and help concentration and focus, this will give us the power to learn how to handle work pressure and overcome stress at work. We should also avoid foods high in fat, carbs, or sugar, caffeinated drinks, and alcohol as all these could increase stress levels.
Finally, snacking influences our diet, so eating healthy snacks will help improve our diet and keep our stress levels in check.
Developing healthy sleeping habits
Our body needs on average 7 hours of sleep a day to rest and regenerate to function properly, lack of it causes fatigue which in turns affects our mood and performance, not getting enough sleep can be one of the contributing factors to work stress.
We can create a healthy sleep routine by; sticking to a sleep schedule and maintaining it, turning off screens an hour before bedtime as they could disrupt our sleep, taking naps, we can create a soothing atmosphere by listening to soft music, reading, and using low lightening.
When trying to reduce burnout and balance work-life it is very crucial to consider getting adequate quality sleep, because it helps in building strong mental health.
Studies reveal that those who maintain a steady work-life balance are much more productive than those who do not.
‘A good work-life balance, has numerous positive effects, including less stress, a lower risk of burnout, and a greater sense of well-being. This not only benefits employees but employers, too’ says Chris Chancey, a career expert.
Employers need to realize that work-life balance is about more than just hours. Besides promoting flexibility, employers should also strive to improve the overall workplace experience for their employees.
Prioritizing a healthy culture and cultivating a happy workplace promotes work-life balance. When employees are happy in their roles, work will feel more like a second home, and less like working for a paycheck. Employers should prioritize competitive compensation, comfortable office conditions, opportunities for professional growth, and opportunities for social connection.