In recent years the term ‘work-life’ balance has become something of a buzzword, but what does it really mean? We have written a blog with some of our top tips, which are informed by our Spotlight course on work-life balance.
Human lives are complex and multifaceted, often we have everything under control, but at other times nothing seems to feel right. Sometimes we have a part of our lives that is completely flourishing, but unfortunately, this can often come at the cost of neglecting other facets of life.
This article explores our top tips for catching ourselves when life can feel a bit too much and trying to correct an imbalance. Good habits can relieve stress, anxiety and help prevent burn-out, so read on if you’d like to find out some of our suggestions to try to avoid this.
For the full checklist version please download this link and print it off to remind yourself!
The easiest way to do this is to categorise our lives into its most distinctive elements;
Friends and Fun
Home and Relationships
As an exercise, you might like to rate how well each one you think is going in your life, and commit to three things you are going to do to try to improve each area.
Health is the most important pillar of our lives, which is why it should always be a top priority. As shown in the diagram, health can be divided into exercise, diet, sleep, and mental health.
It may seem obvious but try to make sure that you get enough sleep each night. While routines may be boring, they are often valuable in terms of ensuring that we take care of ourselves. Routines are essential for getting good sleep, this should be consistent with your age and level of activity. Make your bedroom an oasis, with attractive but calming colours, good lighting, pleasant smells such as scented candles and ventilation. Avoid screens late at night and meditate or take a bath before you sleep.
As we know, eating healthily is crucial to good health and well-being. Eat balanced & fresh meals at regular intervals. Get a reusable bottle and drink plenty of water. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Even when we are extremely busy it is important to take some time for regular exercise for lots of reasons. Exercise is a great stress reducer; it pumps endorphins through our bodies and can help lift our mood.
It’s important that exercise doesn’t feel like a chore, so find a hobby, sport, or local class that you really enjoy. Invest in that gym equipment or yoga mat. Carve out some time to build exercise into your average day such as walking or cycling to work instead of taking the bus.
Well-being is a huge subject but overall it comes down to a sense of contentment every day of our lives. This is key to helping us to build a good work-life balance and supports us in terms of building a strong foundation to build upon for our bigger career and life plans.
You can support your wellbeing by making your mental health a priority, getting regular physical checkups, seek out help if you realise you have an issue with your health, reflect on your life and purpose through journaling, and develop tools both to identify and manage stress when it happens.
Self-care means prioritising yourself. This is not a selfish act but is fundamental to how we build strong foundations for our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being which will guide us towards a better work-life balance.
Take time out for yourself, make time to socialise with friends and family, organise a day trip or book a holiday. Treat yourself occasionally, even if it’s just running yourself a hot bath and listening to your favourite album.
Friends, Family and Fun
It is so important to make time for our social lives and to plan time with friends and family for rest and relaxation. Aim to incorporate your interests with social gatherings so you can spend enjoyable times that feed your spirit and emotional self.
Get proactive and identify the sort of events and activities you enjoy and want to do with your friends and then get organised, as such events do not happen by themselves. Invest time in your friendships so you can build trust, create boundaries, and open dialogue when something upsets you to create even deeper levels of trust.
For the majority of us work takes up a large part of our waking hours, so it is important that we like or even love what we do. Whether you commute or work from home, it’s important to be well organised so you can do your best at work. If you are aiming high, it is essential to have a plan towards getting the knowledge and skills you need to climb the promotion ladder or change careers, so you can start to feel in control of your life & destiny.
To improve your working life it is important to be proactive about managing your time. One of the easiest ways to do this is to manage and plan your diary in advance. Set clear goals and milestones and review these regularly. Make a daily ‘to do’ list and tackle difficult or unpleasant tasks first and review your progress throughout the day. Make time for your personal and professional growth and make learning a lifelong habit.
Home and Relationships
Our homes should be where we feel our most comfortable and confident. Decorate your home in alignment with who you are and what you need. Get organised, declutter if needed, and set about making your home your own private sanctuary.
Think carefully about where you want to live and the reasons for making this decision, such as having a close commute to work or near friends and family. Having a sense of community is important, so where possible try to get to know your neighbours and take part in local activities.
Nigel Marsh delivered an excellent TED Talk on this subject which should not be missed. Check it out here and remember that Work-Life Balance is important to get right, and some of these guidelines should help you to start working towards the right balance in your own lives.