It’s no secret that our habits are important in defining our state of mind and our daily activities. As the well-known quote goes…
Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.
Habits are particularly important in our fast-paced world, where we all have so many priorities. Think family, friends, work, personal development, hobbies… Amongst all this, it’s sometimes hard to remember to take care of ourselves!
Think about your week. When was the last time you felt truly well-rested? Do you spring out of bed each morning, energised and ready to take on the day? Work-life balance is crucial: it actually enhances your productivity at work and increases your daily wellbeing. If you don’t believe that taking time away from work actually makes your work better, it does! It decreases your risk of burning out and drives you forward.
We know it’s been said before, but here are some of the basics you need to keep in mind to achieve work-life balance:
Use your annual leave.
Your annual leave is there for a reason, and that reason is so you can relax, rest and recharge. Even a long weekend once in a while is useful in stepping back, taking stock of what’s truly important in life and recharging to return to work. But make sure your emails are turned off while you’re on annual leave – you shouldn’t have access to anything that could distract you or detract from your precious moments of self-care!
Go to sleep and get enough of it.
Sleep is literally the most basic form of self-care, yet many of us don’t get enough of it (particularly when you consider that the recommended sleep duration for adults between 24 and 54 is approximately eight hours… Yeah, think about that). Between 33 and 45 per cent of Australians have poor sleep patterns that can lead to fatigue and irritability, putting them at risk of more than just low productivity, but damage to their mental health and unsafe work behaviours. Don’t let caffeine and energy bars propel you through the day whilst compromising on your sleep, and try to avoid technology and social media for at least half an hour before bed in order to get a good night’s rest.
Feeling flat? Get those endorphins flowing!
Get active with your exercise of choice. Exercise reduces stress, increases your energy levels, wards off anxiety and feelings of depression, boosts your self-esteem and improves your sleep! What’s not to love about it!? Personally, I consider exercise as an essential activity in my day-to-day life and prioritise exercise into my week. When you make the time for regular exercise, it becomes routine. This routine is particularly important as we race towards the end of the calendar year, when it’s all too easy to become consumed with balancing end-of-year work commitments and social celebrations and to forget about the simpler things that are really important to our wellbeing. Build a routine that fits in easily with your everyday life and focus on keeping that commitment to yourself.
Good nutrition is essential to feeling healthy and ready to take on the day. Starting your day with breakfast sets you up for the day. Follow that with a healthy lunch packed full of good fats (to keep you full for longer), proteins (to give you energy) and loads of veggies to make your day at work one without tummy grumbles and cravings. A balanced dinner will help you sleep better overnight and set your body up to tackle your exercise routine and next work day.
Work to live; don’t live to work!
A good work-life balance is where you work to live, not live to work. Think of it this way: when you’re working so much or so hard that you don’t have the energy or time to spend with the ones you love or doing the things outside of work that fulfil you, what is all that money really worth? Compare it to the lost hours with your family and friends and the constant anxiety about what you should be doing at work when you do leave… Not worth it, in my opinion. Our professional lives are obviously important to us and to the economy, but remember to take the time to nurture your personal life too. Taking the time to invest in the people you love outside of work as well as in your hobbies and interests will drive you forward to tackle your day at work and will instil a quiet sense of satisfaction and happiness in your everyday life, even on the bad work days.
These five things will help you look after yourself better and allow you to have more energy to spend at work or with family and friends.