Work-life balance is about feeling content with who you are and the decisions that you’re making. It comes from prioritizing all the elements of your life so that you can be present for your life’s most important moments. Critically, it’s a mindset you create, not a mental clearing you happen upon.
The need for work-life balance is more important than ever, given today’s unpredictable, under-pressure workplace environments. Here are three reasons why creating work-life balance is critical and three strategies for achieving that balance.
Reason #1: Work-Life Balance Means Less Stress
Workplace stress is estimated to be the fifth biggest cause of death in the U.S. and the No. 1 source of stress for a quarter of Americans. One of the reasons job stress is so crippling is that most people think they have no choice but to endure it.
However, work-life balance is ultimately created by your choices. The right ones could relieve a lot of your stress and anxiety:
- Say no to things that aren’t priorities.
- Delegate as much as can be delegated.
- Do things that are priorities, and let go of things that aren’t.
- Prioritize your own well-being.
Reason #2: Work-Life Balance Improves Your Mental Health
One of the biggest reasons why work-life balance is important relates to your mental health. When you feel balanced, you’re more capable of dealing with negative emotions and thoughts.
The brain isn’t meant to feel under pressure all the time. Creating more balance in your life gives you space to think, which allows your subconscious thoughts to bubble up to the surface. That, in turn, will help you to better understand your feelings, know your thoughts, and deal with them.
Reason #3: … And Your Physical Health
Part of creating balance for yourself includes taking care of your physical health. And yes, that includes things like eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly.
But there’s more to it than that. If you work in an office, you’re chained to a desk most of the day and glued to your couch at night because of how exhausted and stressed you are. Combating this with physical activity (especially when you get your heart rate up) and time spent outdoors generates endorphins, hormones that make you feel better about yourself.
Strategy #1: Mix Business with Leisure
When you lay out your plan for the day, position strategic breaks for non-work activities like a walk around your building, some deep stretches, or a literal coffee break. These respites will refresh your body and mind.
Strategy #2: End Your Day with a Hard Stop
Even if you’re working on a big project, set a time to end your workday and stick to it. It takes mental discipline to leave your work at your desk and not have it follow you home, but you can do it!
Strategy #3: Take the Time Off You Have Coming to You
Working day after day to stay caught up or make a good impression can take a disastrous toll on your well-being. Don’t hoard your vacation days; instead, schedule regular getaways to keep your mind right. And if you’re sick, stay home!
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