A healthy balanced life: Laura's work life balance tips
Creating work - life balance that works
Is it any wonder we crave balance in today’s modern world? We’re expected to have it all; the amazing job, the perfect social media profile, the clean and tidy house and then to find the time to be present with our friends and family, oh and did I forget to mention have the ideal healthy diet and workout 5 times a week too? It’s not surprising that so many of us are seeking a more healthy balanced life, one with less overwhelm, stress and anxiety and one with more happiness and contentment.
Communities in Scandinavia seem to be showing the rest of us how it’s done when it comes to balance. Topping world happiness charts and sharing concepts like Hygge and Fika have awakened us to the idea that life doesn’t have to be this way and that we can choose something different. We can choose a life with more balance.
What is balance?
Balance is going to look different on everyone. It’s not something you can achieve by ticking boxes (believe me, I’ve tried!), it’s a unique way of living that creates a positive feeling in you - maybe that’s feeling more peace, feeling more contentment, feeling more present.
More than life looking a certain way, balance is a feeling and only one that can be defined by you. This is really important because this is your life, not mine, and not anyone else's. Have you ever noticed how most people who chase ‘balance’ never seem to find it? That’s because there’s no one kind of balance, you need to decide what a healthy balanced life feels like to you - and then consciously create a life that generates that feeling.
Work - Life Balance
One of the biggest areas people seem to struggle in is work life balance - with smart phones bleeping email alerts at us all the time it can feel like work follows us everywhere we go. But creating more work life balance doesn’t have to be hard. Here’s a few things to think about that might help.
Decide how you want your work life balance to look like and feel like
I always find it helps when you start with a bit of a mental picture of what you’d like a situation to look like and how you’d like those changes to make you feel. Start with how things look and feel now. Maybe it’s the email notifications from your boss at 8pm that’s making you feel anxious or the office culture of working late that’s leaving you feeling exhausted. What needs to change to make you feel differently? Now at this point you might feel apprehensive about making changes that could feel as if they’re going against the grain - however, if you don’t tackle these things they can take a big toll on your mental and physical health. Plus you can bet if you’re feeling this way others in your workplace will do too. Be the change you’d like to see!
Have some boundaries
First and foremost, think about what boundaries you have around your work and how those can help prevent it creeping into the rest of your life. These boundaries don’t have to look a particular way, one of the brilliant things about flexible working (i.e being able to work from home, decide your own hours etc) is just that, it’s flexible - however if you don’t create some boundaries that flexibility can turn into answering emails at midnight! Think about what would work in your own life, maybe it’s not checking work related emails after 6pm or at weekends or creating a more set work time pattern during the week so you’re always out of the office by 5pm? One of the most important things when it comes to boundaries is communicating them to other people, so discuss this with other people who can support you to hold them, your family, colleagues, manager etc.
Lose the badge of busy
There’s a myth that being busy equals productivity and it’s time we bust that myth once and for all! Busy and productive are not the same thing, and when you choose productivity over busy-ness, you’ll get so much more done. It will also be easier to keep those work life boundaries in place. For example, being busy might look like working late all the time, but in reality if an evening isn’t your most effective time to be productive you’ll be busy doing nothing. Instead of working 50 ‘busy’ hours, try working 30 productive hours - you’ll get more done in less time which leaves you more time for living life! Being truly productive means knowing your best hours - that time of day when you can just get your head down and achieve a lot with focus, it also means cutting out all the time wasting tasks that aren’t helpful.
Leave it at the door
Maybe you work set shift patterns and work life balance isn’t so much about changing the hours you work, maybe it’s more the mental impact it has on you even when you’re at home. What’s always been helpful for me is ‘leaving it at the door’ - I just visualise all that ‘baggage’ being taken off like a coat and left outside the front door. You can pick it up again when you go to work next, but until then it’s not for you to think about. When you do find your thoughts drifting towards work stuff, just remember that it’s been left at the door and distract yourself with something fun.
I hope these tips have given you some food for thought when it comes to your own work - life balance!
How do you make sure you have a healthy balanced life? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @wearethought
You might also love reading Kat's tips for healthy thinking