Let’s set the scene: it’s 6:30 P.M. and you should’ve been home an hour ago. But a deadline on a project with an important client has you stressed and punching data overtime.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone; in fact, the U.S. ranks 30th out of 38 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development for work-life balance. We work long hours and we need a balance. Your body, mind, and family will thank you too. It’s really a win-win.
In this post we’re going to delve into four (4) tips for improving work-life balance:
Perfectionism is draining…Let it Go!
Striving for perfection is understandable, especially if you’ve recently begun a new job. However, it’s important to not let a blessing be your downfall. Your work’s demands are important and should be taken seriously, but so is your mental health.
In 2018, the American Psychological Association found that three unique types of perfectionism: self-oriented, socially prescribed and other-oriented, have increasingly affected people since the late 1980s. The truth is, we aren’t going to achieve perfection in life or work. In the words of Marilyn Puder-York, Ph.D. and author of The Office Survival Guide, we should, “Strive for excellence.”
Exercise and be Active
If exercise isn’t already built into your weekly rhythm, then it may not seem as important as the other necessities on your plate. Exercising pumps endorphins through your body, gets your heart beating faster and reduces stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise can boost your confidence and lower the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
If overworking stresses you out and arouses anxious thoughts and emotions, take care of yourself by carving out regular time to run, swim, bike or hike. But know that you’re caring for yourself by doing so. A 2006 study on exercise for mental health concluded that 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise is sufficient for reducing negative mood and anxiety, and boosting self-esteem.
Unplug Yourself from the Screen
This is the toughest of the four. With the growing dependence on and habitual use of tech, it can seem nearly impossible to disconnect from the work or social spheres! When was the last time you truly unplugged? Can you remember what it felt like to not check in with work on the weekend? How many hours are spent aimlessly scrolling through social media platforms? Disclaimer: we love Facebook and encourage you to visit our page, but the answer may surprise you!
“There are times when you should just shut your phone off and enjoy the moment,” says Robert Brooks, a Psychology professor at Harvard Medical School. This sounds like common sense, but it’s easy to forget this wisdom in the heat of the moment because Pew research found in a 2015 study that 45 percent of cell phone owners say they rarely turn their phones off and 31 percent say they never turn their phones off.
What you will find is that occasionally turning off your phone or screen will give those around you the benefit of your undivided attention.
Take Vacations and Take Advantage of Your Hard-Earned Days
Lastly, take a vacation. Literally, take a break. If you are fortunate enough to accumulate vacation days throughout the year, you should use them. The U.S. is among several nations with zero mandated vacation days. At the other end of the spectrum, Kuwait checked in with 30 mandated annual days off.
While you likely won’t achieve 30 days off of work, think about how refreshing it could be to take just one or two days away from the office. Don’t let the fear-driven thoughts of no one else being able to cover for you or bearing too heavy of a workload be the barrier to a mentally refreshing time off work.
Instead, follow the tips above for a more balanced and refreshed life.