Written by: Toni Foot
Unless you are lucky enough to be a bored millionaire who goes to work for fun, most working people do so because they need to. Perhaps you have the job of your dreams to help you pay the bills or perhaps you have the only job you could find. Either way, people often feel ‘trapped’ or over loaded at some point in their working lives. Achieving the work life balance is really difficult and can put huge strain on you. This a huge challenge when trying to juggle bringing up a family or looking after a home alongside working hard all day.
Achieving the work life balance
Even if you love your job there are times when workloads and stress levels go beyond what you can be reasonably expected to cope with. Here are some tips to keep you going through the tough times:
Reduce your workload
This may sound obvious, but many people would rather struggle on in silence than ask for help. Try asking your manager or employer if there are any ways to reduce your workload to a manageable level. This may not be possible, but even raising the subject may help as if they are aware how you feel they may be able to find ways to make things better for you. At home, try asking family members to lend a hand too.
Get some sleep
Sleep has an amazing impact on our wellbeing and our ability to function effectively. Make sure you go to bed early enough to get a decent night’s sleep. Also make sure you take time to wind down before trying to sleep. Avoid synthetic light (such as is produced by a computer or TV) and do something to take your mind away from the stresses of the day. Try listening to music, reading a book, or having a quiet chat with someone close to you.
Make use of pockets of time
Even in the busiest of days there are little pockets of time that could make a big difference to your stress levels if you use them wisely. For instance, if you get the train to work, try reading a book or listening to music on the way. You could even call a friend for a chat. If you drive, try singing along to your favourite songs as you go – you may get a funny look at a traffic light every so often but belting out your top tune really does help to release some stress!
Get some exercise
Exercise is a great way to release stress and increase your energy levels. If you don’t have time in your life to join a gym, then why not try walking or cycling to work? If you have a longer commute, try parking down the road or getting off the bus a stop early to give yourself a little stretch before starting the day.
Human beings are social creatures, designed to live together and support one another. Having some social time with your friends is really important so that you can relax and think of something outside of work for a little while. Socialising with your work colleagues can also really help to build a positive working environment and encourage teamwork (this can be vital if you need a helping hand once in a while). Try organizing a night out, a trip to the local park for a barbeque and a game of football or even a lunchtime picnic near your workplace.
Avoid bringing your work home
Having a clearly defined time to be at work, separate from your time at home can really help you to forget about the stresses of work and have time to be relaxed. If you work from home, or can’t avoid bringing work home, try having a designated work space (preferably away from your main living area). Having a stack of work sitting in the corner of your vision can be very distracting when you are trying to relax so make sure you put it away properly when you have finished.
Living and working in a disorganized environment can increase your stress levels without you even realizing it. Try de-cluttering your desk at work or having a spring clean at home. Writing lists can also help you to organize your time and your mind more effectively. Working with a list means that you do not have to keep lots of ‘things to do’ running round in your head at all times. Lists also help you to identify your priorities and make sure you are using your time effectively. You may also find ticking off tasks as you complete them helps you to see just how productive you are being, therefore raising your self-esteem.