To say that my life has been hectic over the past several years is an understatement – I’ve always thrived in a fast-paced environment where I’m moving at break-neck speed. However, when I started feeling chronically overwhelmed, and friends and family started using my name in the same sentence as the ‘W’ word – workaholic – I decided I needed to take a closer look at my work/life balance to determine whether my schedule was truly serving me.
If all of this sounds familiar, and you’re hearing the ‘W’ word from friends and family, or from that still, small voice inside, here are some tips that have helped me find more balance, and hopefully they can do the same for you:
- Listen to your body. We can’t do it all – all of the time. It’s important to be aware of our limits and consciously plug in down time – honoring our body’s need for rest and relaxation. I used to be regularly burning the midnight oil, and paid dearly for it with chronic exhaustion. Now getting my eight hours is non-negotiable. Get the amount of sleep your body needs to function well every night and don’t compromise. It will help you stay sharper and healthier as a result.
- Eat real food. Eat whole foods – fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins that are not processed and preservative laden. Bring a lunch from home so you have control over your food, and resist raiding the vending machine when things get crazy at work.
- Get out into nature. Take a break from your workday to stretch your legs and breathe fresh air. A short break can help you regroup, refresh, and let the stress roll off your shoulders.
- Set clear boundaries. If your workplace closes shop at 5pm and you’re the only one who stays late, see if you can figure out a way to call-it-a-day with your workmates. It’s important to set reasonable workday boundaries and stick to them.
- Make time for friends and loved ones. When you’re home with family or out with friends, enjoy truly being with them in the moment. Leave work – at work.
- Step away from the computer at home. Avoid the urge to check your iPhone or laptop every five minutes. Unplug from work and the technology that tethers you to it, whenever possible, so you can be more present at home.
- Evaluate your life purpose. Take some time to look more closely at your work-life balance and personal goals. Consider your work habits and your health and ask yourself if you are truly happy and fulfilled. If the answer is yes, then you may be ok with your current sense of balance. If the answer is no, then the good news is that you can make changes for the better.