Work/Life balance is an elusive component to many of our workdays. We spend time in busy, stressful jobs and realize a heavy workload can lead to physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. Increasingly, we are working longer hours and spending more time on digital screens leading to symptoms of Digital Eye Strain and physical discomfort.
Most Americans cite work and money as their main stressors and living with chronic stress invites illness and burnout.¹ I can feel the burnout creeping on when I’m ordering takeout more than I’d care to admit and skipping my workouts to “rest”. That persistent feeling of exhaustion creeps up when we don’t have enough balance in our day to day lives.
Below, find 3 tips for making your workday more balanced!
1. Make Your Mornings Your Own
Wake up a bit earlier to take more time in the morning for yourself. Sometimes, I’ll wake up 45 minutes earlier and spend that time drinking coffee in bed and browsing Pinterest. Other days, I’ll squeeze in 6:30am yoga before work and make a green smoothie. Each day is different but I love extra time in the morning because it’s mine and I can use it as I see fit. My day starts off on a more positive note when I can wake up leisurely and not be in a rush. Being able to eat breakfast and drink your morning coffee/tea/or smoothie in a relaxed state adds an element of balance to your day.
2. Treat Lunch As a Break
Oftentimes, working through lunch is a common part of our day. When we do this, we create an imbalance by giving our entire 8+ hours to an employer and not taking any time for ourselves. The longer we work without a break, the more stress we feel. Take a true break at lunch and leave your desk to eat without distractions. If you aren’t able to take a full lunch, take a small break and go for a short walk, read a book, or do a 5-minute meditation at your desk. Use this midday break as an opportunity to reset so you’re fresh for the second half of the workday and your energy is renewed. Minibreaks are an excellent way to improve your work/life balance.
3. Leave Work at Work
In our busy-busy, productive culture it can seem lazy to “relax” and unplug. We want to be efficient and maximize our time so we bring work home. There is nothing inherently wrong with doing work in the evenings, but you have to draw a line for a hard stop. Creating a cutoff time for work allows you space and time to redirect your energy to yourself and your family. It’s important to spend the evenings winding down and decompressing as you see fit — perhaps you workout, or cook dinner, or even catch up on your favorite show! I’m currently juggling many hats between being a full-time optometrist, a wellness entrepreneur, and maintaining volunteer and social commitments. It’s very easy to let my roles and responsibilities bleed into each other and lose a sense of boundaries. Even if you aren’t doing work physically, don’t waste precious mental and emotional energy ruminating on the day. Decide on your cutoff time and set it + forget it!
Work/life balance will be a lifelong art we create for ourselves. As with all things, remember you know yourself best so do what speaks to you! Take small steps each day to create a bit more work/life balance. Some days will feel balanced, and others not so much and that’s okay. Personally, I work to bring the intention of balance into my day and I know that each day will look a little different. However, when all else fails and I have those really off balance days, I treat myself to a delicious dinner and I vow to start fresh + be better tomorrow. 😎
- Top sources of stress reported by U.S. adults in 2015, by ethnicity. Statista.com