While most adults already have at least a moderately busy work schedule, it seems that with every passing day, modern work expectations become increasingly demanding. Factor in even the normal amount of bodily and home maintenance responsibilities, and you’ve got a crisis on your hands. Due in part to the romanticized notion of “hustling” or being on a “grind”, people everywhere are struggling to keep up with their workloads and live balanced lifestyles. With work hours being swapped for “available” hours thanks to smartphones, many people are finding themselves at the end of their rope and without any semblance of a personal life. 

If any of this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Striking the perfect position between being productive and emotionally fulfilled without experiencing burnout can be an extremely difficult thing to do. If you’re feeling drained or overwhelmed, you’re not alone. The good news is that there are things you can do to alleviate your stress. Read below to uncover expert tips for achieving a healthy work-life balance.

Exercise Often

One of the first things to go by the wayside when people get busy or stressed, exercise is typically ditched at a time where it would have the most benefit. Though many people view a morning run or yoga session as a waste of time when they’re already juggling so many tasks, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Though dedicated time indeed needs to be allocated for any fitness activity, it doesn’t have to be nearly as lengthy or inconvenient as it may seem. A cardinal rule of exercise is that it’s better to do a little than none at all. Consider swapping the car for a bike a couple of days of the week. If you have some extra time on your lunch break, try doing a quick online workout video. At night, introduce a 20-minute stretch session into your nightly routine. Exercise releases endorphins, which help keep our body fit and limber, and improves alertness, mood, and concentration. It’s not that you can’t fit it in, it’s that you can’t afford to.

Take Time Off Social Media

With the help of electronics, wireless internet, and social media platforms, the entire world has completely transformed. Though work is arguably easier and more accessible, the downside of living in a plugged-in world can be steep. If you are someone who replies to work emails at the dinner table, feels the need to constantly be connecting on social media, or just generally has a hard time turning their phone off- this one’s for you. Even seemingly innocuous electronic interactions can interrupt your time and heighten stress levels. The best preventive measure you can take to protect against burnout is to ensure you’re safeguarding your time. Aim to be completely present in your personal interactions at least a couple of times a week, and remember to shut that phone off entirely. 

Get Lots of Sleep

Sleep can be a tricky subject. Though some people are asleep the moment their heads hit the pillow, many people experience insomnia, nightmares, and other sleep interruptions. In addition to this, when a schedule is jam-packed, it can spill over and eat into a much-needed beauty rest. Everyone needs sleep, but how many hours can vary. If you’re aiming to find the perfect time to go to sleep or wake up, using this sleep calculator can help. Understanding how much sleep you need, and how you can make that work with your schedule is one of the secret weapons of maintaining a balanced lifestyle. No one wants to be considered lazy or lethargic, however, a lack of adequate sleep can result in grogginess, grouchiness, and even memory loss. 

Plan Your Time

While this one might seem like a given, time management is a foundational skill for anyone looking to improve their work-life balance. Not only will better organizational skills and personal discipline help your schedule, but it will also enhance every aspect of your life. If you haven’t already, take a hard look at how you spend your time during the day. Want to take up a hobby? Craving an extra hour to sleep in on the weekend? By making a checklist of priorities and budgeting your time accordingly, you will be able to envision your week and create a schedule that works for you. Sometimes this can mean doing laundry at an odd hour or prepping for a meeting a week in advance, but it will keep your mind (and desk) uncluttered and calm.

Maintain A Healthy Diet

Food is fuel, so it makes sense that diet plays such an important role in keeping your mind and body functioning in tip-top condition. Cooking can be a divisive activity, as many shy away from it or simply think they’re too busy for it. That being said, the actual act of creating something in the kitchen can be a great chance to unwind, get a break from screens, and make something delicious and nutritious for yourself. If you work remotely, consider cooking during your lunch break to maximize time and reduce stress. Even if you don’t get into the kitchen yourself, make sure you’re maintaining a healthy diet. Relying on processed sugars and fast carbs can lead to mid-day crashes and trouble concentrating that no amount of caffeine will solve. If you’d like to work on your mindset while more handily problem solving and organizing your schedule, watching what you eat is a necessity. 

Between work, responsibilities, friends, family, prioritizing your health, and pursuing other interests, a common thought is that “something’s got to give”. However, you shouldn’t need to sacrifice your mental health to succeed at work. Likewise, you don’t need to let your work suffer to pursue your hobbies or prioritize your fitness. Hopefully, the tips above shine a little light on some small daily changes that can have an unmatched impact. The most important steps are ones that encourage mental and physical health, boundaries, and personal goals. By making incremental changes you are closer than you may realize to achieving a balanced lifestyle and relieving some of that daily stress.

The post Expert Tips for a Healthy Work-Life Balance was first published on Coworkaholic.

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