Guest Post by George Mears
A fulfilling career is crucial to many people in their pursuit of happiness. However, Business Insider reports that one monumental, 75-year study highlighted an even more critical factor for lifelong happiness: good relationships. So, how can you balance work and personal demands
without burning out on either?
Get Away (Without Getting Away)
Although a productive and rewarding career is crucial, so is taking a break from time to time. Experts confirm that taking time off is healthy — one study found that measures of health and well-being increased with more extended vacation periods. Even if you decide to take a little time away from work to enjoy some downtime at home — stay cations are all the rage these days — spending some time relaxing can allow you to recharge your batteries and return to your career with a bit more pep in your step.
Socialize with People Outside of Work
For many professionals, work can feel like your whole life. But that’s not necessarily the healthiest perspective for work-life balance. CNBC agrees that healthy friendships in the workplace are essential, noting that 70 percent of employees say having friends at work is the most critical part of enjoying their jobs. But your work friends shouldn’t be your only friends. One survey reported that people’s most prominent life regrets revolved around the “absence, dysfunction, or loss of social connections.” Part of that regret comes from not investing as much time in personal and familial relationships as professional ones. Having friendships outside your work environment helps protect you against the emotional ups and downs on the job, Harvard Business Review notes. Making an effort to see non-work friends regularly strengthens your relationships and can even enhance your work performance.
Make Time for Quality Rest & Exercise
Most professionals run on very little sleep — around six and a half hours, according to one study. But even sleep deprivation of an hour or two per night can impact your work performance. As Hult International Business School explains, lack of sleep can lower your productivity and creativity. Tiredness can even affect your physical health, making you more likely to get sick. Depending on the demands of your work schedule, it may seem nearly impossible to get more sleep each night. But there are steps you can take toward better quality rest, such as skipping your afternoon latte and going to bed at the same time each night. In addition to quality sleep, it’s important to build in an exercise routine as a general habit — remember, exercise begets sleep. If you don’t have a regular regimen, look for something you enjoy and commit to, and then find more ways to move throughout your day. Whether it’s taking the stairs, riding your bike to work or walking for 30 minutes during your lunch break. For added
motivation, look into a fitness tracker or a smartwatch. A tracker can help you log your steps and movement, while a smartwatch can do all of that in addition to keeping you connected to work and home. Many of these wearables also offer regular prompts, so if you get caught up in a
project, a gentle nudge to get up and move could make a difference.
Set Personal Boundaries for Work and Home
Rather than aiming for a perfect balance—eight hours of work and eight hours of play—experts at Inc. suggest setting boundaries instead. Boundary-setting ensures that you stay present at work when you’re there, and that you’re hands-off when you leave the office. You can designate specific hours or days as work-only days, leaving personal pursuits for other times. Or, you can take personal time during the day—such as your lunch hour—and avoid all work commitments during that break. Alternatively, you may focus more on personal interests in your industry’s slow period, picking up the professional ball when business begins booming again. Implementing boundary-setting techniques can be as simple as removing your work email and apps from your phone’s home screen. Or, it might involve informing your team that you will be unreachable at specific times, such as weekends, and delegating vital tasks while you’re away. Whatever work-life balance strategies you choose, remember that consistency is essential. Taking small steps toward avoiding burnout can re-energize your career and enhance your personal life, too.
Photo via Unsplash
Guest Post by George Mears