As some of you may know, I’ve recently started a new full-time job. Because I’m also going to stay with a current part-time job, I have been thinking a lot about work/life balance lately. I know, I know – some of you may be thinking “what in the world is she talking about?!”. I’m talking about this phenomenon where a person tries to have a balance of work and actual outside life; instead of the more common workaholic lifestyle and no actual (or very limited) life away from work.
Now, if the workaholic lifestyle is something you choose and actually love (because you’re all type A and stuff) then awesome for you! I, on the other hand, prefer to have free time outside of work – time to actually do the things I love (or to even just RELAX). But, if you’re stuck in the workaholic lifestyle, for whatever reason, and don’t want to be there then I feel for you. I have been there, and well, am sort of still there now as I feel obligated to not leave my part-time job yet. All of this is also important because I am in the process of deciding on continuing education and starting to take a program in holistic nutrition. Some of you are also aware that this is an aspiration of mine, and well, it will definitely be hard to make it work while working a full & part-time job at the same time – where will I find the time for homework?! And then I also want to get my yoga on?? Am I crazy?!
So, you see from this rant that having a work/life balance is important for your physical health, but also your mental health!
Another reason for my rant is that I wanted to provide some tips that I hope will help you with trying to feel like you are getting a work/life balance, even if you’re sort of stuck with working too much and not really loving it. Trust me, you don’t want to reach a point of burnout, which can be costly to you if you need to take leaves from work; or even more drastic, quit.
ॐ One of the first things you could try, if you feel the situation is getting serious enough, is to speak with your boss about the hours you are working and if this can be adjusted to a more acceptable or agreeable amount. I’ve already spoken with my boss at my new job about the hours required, as I had noticed the timesheet of my predecessor who was working lots of overtime. I put it out in the open right away, so that I could know the expectations now instead of months from now when I would be over-tired and over-worked and might make more rash decisions. So, my new boss actually informed me that the person before me was always working overtime in an attempt to make more money, but she actually likes people to work their 8 hours and “go home”. She doesn’t like workers getting disgruntled or over-worked and so working overtime is not expected. Phew! I was glad to have that discussion and get it out of the way. So, give it a try, you never know what could be worked out as long as you address it in a calm and professional manner.
ॐ Don’t eat your lunch at your desk!! I cannot stress this one enough. Take your break time for yourself and get away from your desk, cubicle, whatever. Don’t even check your email on your Blackberry/Iphone/etc., so that incoming messages don’t cause you stress while you are trying to eat. I don’t know about you, but when I am stressed my stomach reacts with pain and bloating; which is entirely unpleasant when you have half a work day left to complete. Go outside if it’s nice, talk a little stroll, anything to get away from work and free your mind for a short period of time.
ॐ If at all possible, don’t check those work emails at home. This may be difficult, but this is key to avoiding any extra stress when you are supposed to be enjoying your downtime. I was bad with this before because of my Blackberry. Work emails would come in and I would read them right away and no fail, I would get stressed/frustrated or whatever with some messages that I received. Now, these messages may still cause stress when you are at work, but it’s preferable for it to be on work time then when sitting at home trying to enjoy a book (or at a pub one evening, in my case) where you can’t even do anything about it.
ॐ Take your vacation time. If you have 3 weeks vacation, take it. You deserve it. Don’t feel bad, ever, about taking your deserved vacation time – everyone needs a little getaway every now and then. Same goes for lunch breaks – take them and don’t skip them, you deserve the time to eat and free your mind a little bit in the day.
ॐ Go to the spa every once in awhile, if the finances allow. This can be especially helpful if your vacation is far off and you need a mini-getaway. Helps to just go somewhere and get a nice massage, or some other relaxing treatment, to help you feel better and rejuvenated for the next work week. Short on cash right now? Do a mini-spa at home with a hot bath, candles, a good book – whatever helps you to relax and makes you feel like you left the city and the stresses of everyday life.
ॐ Now, you know I’m going to say this one – do yoga! Yoga is great for your mind, body, and soul and can feel like a mini-getaway in itself. This is my favourite thing to do when I am feeling stressed or over-worked. I go to a class, so I can be present in the room with the teacher and just forget the outside stresses; even if it’s only for 90 minutes. You will be amazed by the many benefits of yoga, so try it today!! Crunched for time? Do some poses at home to help you wind down from a stressful/busy day. (If you already do yoga, get to class!!)
ॐ Along with yoga, try to get some exercise almost daily. This could be swimming, walking, running, going to the gym, curling, etc.; whatever activities you enjoy and that make you feel great! You might just feel re-energized afterwards!
ॐ When time allows, spend time with family and friends. Socializing can be very important with helping us feel connected to the outside world. Try, if you can, to socialize with people outside of work so that you do not grow bored of the people around you too quickly, plus, it’s nice to see our best friend every once in awhile isn’t it? 🙂
Of course, these are just a few tips that may help you with reaching a work/life balance. Everyone’s life and needs are different, so definitely think about what is best for you and your family. I just aim to see less stressed people out there, because then I see the results when these people come to the clinic or yoga studio where I work when it’s too late. Take care of yourself now! Show yourself some love people! 🙂 ॐ
What sorts of activities do you do to achieve a work/life balance?