It is National Work Life Week, and to mark the occasion, the team at Great Annual Savings (GAS) have been focusing on the importance of striking the right balance between work and home life.
In this piece, Group Health and Wellbeing Manager, Gavin Cogdon, gives his top five tips on achieving a great work-life balance.
1. Recognise the signs of an unhealthy balance
In order to assess your situation, you must first be aware of the signs to look out for when looking at a poor work-life balance including:
- Trouble sleeping
- Feelings of stress and anxiety around work
- Striving for perfectionism
- Feeling unable to allocate personal time
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Focusing is difficult
2. Set clear boundaries
This can be difficult; boundary setting requires a shift in attitude and approach. It is the difference between responding to emails at home rather than spending that time relaxing or with family and friends. Having a clear distinction between work-mode and being out of the office is vital to achieving balance.
In today’s climate where people are being encouraged to work from home, it has never been more important to have boundaries. Even prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the lines were easily blurred with smartphones making it too easy for us to check on work activity whilst at home.
Simple tactics such as turning off email or work-associated social media alerts over the weekend and evenings are a good start.
Physical activity enhances overall wellbeing as well as mental alertness and mood, which results in increased productivity. Allocating time to daily exercise will undoubtedly improve your work-life balance. Not only will exercising give you the opportunity to focus on something other than work, but it will also boost your overall physical and mental health.
Workplace-induced stress prompts us to exhibit a response which in many instances is negative. Symptoms such as loss of appetite, sleeping troubles and high blood pressure are common with adults experiencing prolonged stress.
Physical activity exercise can be very effective in relieving stress and alleviating the associated symptoms. Research shows that active adults are less likely to have high stress rates compared with those who do not exercise regularly.
4. Sleep is vital
Adults are recommended to have a minimum of seven hours sleep every night. However, with an unhealthy balance this can be disrupted. People who are over worked often find themselves unable to switch off and their sleep suffers as a result.
Not sleeping can cause irritability and leave you unable to focus. At an extreme level, lack of sleep can lead to critical health issues.
To improve your sleep, you should be strict with a schedule. Ensure you go to bed and wake up at a similar time every day.
5. Maintain a balanced diet
Both exercise and diet are complicated, there is no size fits all method that will improve your health and wellbeing. There are however foods and drinks that are commonly known to hinder a good night’s sleep.
Caffeine and alcohol are both known to disturb sleep when consumed close to the time you go to bed. Avoiding drinking these late at night and replacing with alternatives such as herbal teas will increase your chances of getting a great night’s sleep.
As with other organs, your brain requires different amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and water to function healthily. Therefore, eating fast food or convenient foods that are lacking in required attributes will only be detrimental to brain function. By increasing the amount of time spent at your desk with an unbalanced, processed diet, you limit productivity.