Imagine Health

How to improve your work/life balance

You’ve finally arrived home after an 8-hour shift. Its Friday, so roll on the weekend! No sooner are you in the door, the phone begins to buzz. Have you finished the report? We need to schedule some meetings for next week. Can you have a think over the weekend of how we can pitch this sale? Soon enough, your mind has drifted back into the all too familiar work mode.

A day off? Yeah right.

We live in a world that is becoming increasingly corporate in nature. We are constantly bombarded by images of successful people on various platforms – TV, Facebook, Instagram etc. These people are beautiful, rich and famous. These qualities tap into our way of thinking and ultimately (perhaps unconsciously) shape our perception of what is expected of us and of what we expect of others. We are encouraged by our parents, friends and even the media to work hard and be ambitious. If we want to achieve our goals, we must work tirelessly.

Sadly, this mentality is becoming all too familiar. Living an unbalanced work/relationship lifestyle can have consequences for our physical and mental health. If you are beginning to feel like you are slowly becoming a workaholic, have a go at applying the following tips to your life.

Boundary setting

Boundary setting is important. Maybe we are responding to a constant stream of emails, even on our days off. Or perhaps we have a manager or colleague that contact us on a regular basis regardless of whether we are working that day or not. For most jobs, it is not unreasonable to be allowed to set a firm boundary where work is not allowed to crossover into your own precious free time. In the long run, this can be much more productive since we are more likely to be recharged and ready to get back to meeting work demands efficiently.

Following on from boundary setting is the importance of switching off. We are constantly connected to our work lives in one way or another via phone, email and internet. Despite our best efforts to set boundaries, we may still be distracted by a sudden text or  what is going in a group chat. Sometimes the best course of action is to completely switch off from our workplace. Try switching off your phone entirely next time you’re out with a friend or go for a walk.

Establish a routine to your day. This allows you to slot in some crucial “me time”. You may wish to take the first hour of the morning to gradually wake up, go for a walk or run or simply relax and watch some TV. Integrating this time into your day keeps you on track and ensures that your work doesn’t accidentally invade your personal life. Don’t be afraid to simply do nothing. Take the time to enjoy the small, simple pleasures of life.

 Written by Shane MacSweeney