Health / Workplace Wellness

6 Tips to Create a Healthy Work-Life Balance

To have a healthy work-life balance is to feel that you’re putting an adequate amount of time, energy and commitment into your work life as you are in other aspects of your life.

If you’re having a tough time balancing your work life with everything you have going on outside of it, you’re far from alone. As many as 66 percent of full-time U.S. workers say they struggle with maintaining a healthy work-life balance. In fact, almost half (48 percent) of American workers go as far as to consider themselves to be “workaholics,” meaning they work way too much.

To have a healthy work-life balance is to feel that you’re putting an adequate amount of time, energy and commitment into your work life as you are in other aspects of your life, like family, friends, and other responsibilities. It is the opposite of burnout, explains psychologist Emily Guarnotta, Psy.D., blogger at The Mindful Mommy, which is a state of extreme exhaustion brought on by chronic stress. If you feel that your work-life balance is off kilter, here are some best-kept tips for how to create a healthier work-life balance.

1. Schedule—and stick to—your working hours

Most workers don’t get to decide when they get to work, but they do have a say in creating an actual schedule that involves a start and end time, as well as a standard frequency. With a set schedule, you can officially end your day, explains Tanya Otterstein-Liehs, empowering movement and mindfulness coach. “If you continue to work beyond this set time you will begin to feel frustrated because you would rather be doing something else for yourself or with family,” she says. “Be sure to also stick with this and refrain from checking emails and work-related phone messages.”

2. Make self-care a part of your daily routine

You’ve probably heard a lot about the importance of self-care, yet, if you ask most of the people you know, few will admit to actually following a self-care routine. Self-care essentially involves making time to recharge and take care of yourself. “This might involve setting aside time each day to engage in activities that help you relax and recharge,” says Kiara Luna, L.M.H.C., is owner of Knew You Psychotherapy and author of Becoming a Knew You. “Whether it is reading a book, watching your favorite show, taking a walk, or engaging in another activity that brings you joy, taking time for yourself can help you regroup, ground yourself, and find renewed energy for the challenges ahead.”

3. Spend time outside every day

The laundry list of benefits associated with spending time outdoors is relatively endless. From better sleep to reduced rates for anxiety and depression, you’re doing yourself a monumental favor by carving out time to go for a walk or at least sit outside. “If you can get out in nature, or even visit a park, you will experience a calmness and peaceful feeling overcome you, which can significantly reduce your stress and help you release any negative feelings that you may be experiencing, especially if work related,” says Otterstein-Leihs. “The power of nature creates a shift in your mindset with refreshing new insight which could quite possibly lead to better problem solving and overall co-worker happiness.”

4. Take a lunch break—away your desk

Many workers consider a lunch break to be a mere suggestion, if not reminder, that you should take time to eat. The reality, however, is that a lunch break is a legally mandated respite from work amidst your day. It not only gives you the opportunity to disconnect from work and reconnect with yourself, but
it also gives you the space to relax, reflect, and generate new ideas, explains Luna.

5. Take vacation and holidays

Vacations allotted to you, as well as holidays, are your time, so Luna adamantly advises not to allow work to come with you. “Let your co-workers, boss, etc. know that you will not be answering any emails or accepting work-related phone calls,” she says. “Doing this demonstrates self-respect, self-compassion and sets healthy boundaries for yourself.”

6. Create accountability

Even and especially if you’re not a scheduler, Nielsen recommends carving out time for something you love doing with people you enjoy being with. “Put something in your schedule (regularly if you can) that will get you away from work and spending time with people you have fun with,” she says. “Having other people to be accountable to will help you to show up, and finding time for connection over shared enjoyment of activities will be good for both your mental and physical health.”

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