Tomorrow sees the start of National Work-Life Week, which aims to highlight the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Studies show that people working 55 hours a week or more have a 35% increased risk of suffering a stroke than those who work 40 hours or less. Finding a good balance between family, work and looking after yourself can be very stressful; clients often tell us that achieving the right balance between all these aspects of our lives is really difficult and, as working parents ourselves, it is a struggle we are familiar with! All too often we find ourselves sacrificing our own wellbeing through work or family commitments, but in the end, if we aren’t looking after our health everything else suffers.
Regular exercise boosts energy levels, make you feel more alert and happier. It can really make a huge amount of difference in how you perform at work and helps clear your mind and put everything else in perspective.
Here are five easy tips on how you can make improvements in your work-life balance to free up valuable time and reduce stress:
• Build exercise into your daily routine – finding a spare hour to workout can seem daunting, if not impossible in an already busy schedule but little and often really can be just as effective in providing that fitness boost and sense of wellbeing – simple things like walking the stairs instead of taking the lift, parking further away from the station to achieve a five minute walk, taking time out with a colleague for a lunch-time walk or maybe even jog – all these activities help build fitness and boost mental focus and productivity.
• Use time wisely – free up some valuable time ordering shopping online; double up when you’re cooking meals and put some in the freezer; sort all your finances out online.
• Don’t try and do everything yourself – whether you’re drowning in admin at work or trying to juggle housework, laundry and dinner preparation at home, sometimes just asking for a little help can make everything that much easier. Work colleagues and family are often oblivious to other people’s burdens and often just as happy to help out (granted, they may sometimes need persuading, but if you don’t ask..!)
• Have a routine – sometimes just a little planning can save a lot of time – time when you could be relaxing with a few pages of a good book, taking a brisk walk or enjoying some yoga. Writing a list of meals for the week ahead can save valuable time when it comes to preparing them in the evening. Having the kids pack their school bags the night before can save time (and stress) in the morning. Packing a lunch for work could allow you time for that lunchtime exercise class.
• Schedule family/partner time at least once a week – put smart phones and computers away for an hour and enjoy some face-to-face time. Catch up on what everyone’s been doing – maybe go for a walk and get some fresh air at the same time. Relax, laugh, enjoy yourselves!
Stroke increase lancet study: (Discussion P.5) http://press.thelancet.com/workinghours.pdf
National work-life balance week: http://www.workingfamilies.org.uk/news/national-work-life-week-coming-soon-to-a-workplace-near-you/
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