Work-Life Balance Is Key To Healthy Living

We live in a society where being competitive and hardworking are admirable. They definitely are but they often come at the expense of healthy living. Americans are known to work long hours and a 2014 Gallup report confirmed this. It estimated that the average American worker works 47 hours a week, which is one of the highest numbers in the world. According to Glassdoor, most companies in the US offer only two weeks of paid vacation a year compared to Sweden where companies provide five weeks. While it may seem admirable to be able to put in so many hours at work, it wreaks havoc on health and other aspects of life. Exhaustion, stress, anxiety, and depression are just some of the consequences of a poor work-life balance. This can lead to other issues like cardiovascular disease, weight gain, and a weakened immune system.

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How To Achieve Work-Life Balance

Achieving work-life balance doesn’t take as much effort – and precious time – as you’d think. It’s more about managing the time you have effectively and getting to the important things first. Here are 6 tips that can help.

Learn To Manage Time

You could have all the time in the world but if you don’t use it well, you won’t get half of the stuff done. To manage time, you should prioritize tasks in order of importance and get those done first. Remind yourself that the sooner you complete them, the more time you‘ll have for yourself. Work on one task at a time so that you can focus on it properly. Multitasking may be considered a skill by some but it prevents you from concentrating on the work at hand and giving it your full attention. It can also take up more time as your focus is split in several ways.

Take Small Breaks

Nobody works for hours straight and attempting to do so is unwise. Our minds simply can’t concentrate for that long. Small breaks spaced out throughout the day give you a chance to breathe and de-stress. It prevents you from being overworked and it makes you more productive. Use your lunch break properly too. Don’t hurry with your food but savor it and use the break to recharge. If possible, take power naps of 10 minutes. They increase memory retention, alertness, and productivity. They even make you happier! A study by the Edinburgh International Science Festival found that 66 percent of people who napped for less than 30 minutes reported being happy.

Set Realistic Goals

It’s good to aim high but it’s impossible to achieve lofty goals each day. Instead, set realistic goals that you can manage and complete. If you know you can’t meet several deadlines, don’t commit to all of them. If you know you have a full day, don’t take on additional responsibilities. Not only will you be able to complete what you’ve set for yourself but you’ll also feel more satisfied and less stressed out.

Learn To Say ‘No’

‘No’ can be a tough word to utter. You don’t want to offend someone and you don’t want to appear as not being a team player. But, if you keep saying ‘yes’ to things you won’t have the time to focus on stuff that is important. You’ll also feel stressed as you’ll have too much to juggle. Help when you can and don’t when your plate is full. Learn not to feel guilty when you say ‘no’ and don’t overcompensate by saying ‘yes’ the next time and the next.

Get Active

You’ve probably heard this a thousand times but you should make it a point to exercise. Aside from keeping your heart healthy and weight in check, it de-stresses you and reduces anxiety. There’s no need to spend an hour at the gym either – just set aside 30 minutes three times a week for moderate physical activity. You can also try yoga as it’s great for the body and the mind.

Prioritize Sleep

In our workaholic culture, it’s not uncommon to sleep less than the recommended 7-8 hours. A Gallup poll showed that Americans currently average 6.8 hours of sleep a night. That’s more than an hour less compared to 1942. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even declared insufficient sleep a ‘public health problem’. Lack of sleep has been tied to numerous issues like poor concentration, poor judgment, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and low sex drive. All of these can affect work-life balance, which is why it’s so important to make sleep a priority.

Better sleep depends on several factors. If you have trouble sleeping, there are several things you can do to encourage it. Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet and remove distractions like laptops and tablets. Keep it clutter-free so that your mind doesn’t wander and you don’t feel compelled to clean up. Sleep on a comfortable bed as well. It should be an even surface with no bumps and dips.

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Healthy work-life balance is the key to productivity, success, and happiness. It can prevent you from burning out and can help maintain healthier relationships with your coworkers and loved ones. The drive to perform well can often lead us to ignore other areas of life but it’s important to remember that there’s so much more to living than just work. Once we understand and appreciate this, we’ll be more inclined to maintain a good work-life balance.

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