Work-life balance is a cycle, not an achievement


Recently, I heard from a client with whom I hadn’t spoken in a while. She first came to me in 2018 for guidance related to career change and leadership skills. She shared that while working in the field of sales and customer service, it is important to be at your best at all times. I couldn’t help but resonate with her when she described how the past year had been such a whirlwind. Life has drastically changed in the last 18 months. Overwhelmed, frustrated, bogged down, depressed as well as suffocated — these are some of the emotions that we all have encountered. The priority for everyone has been taking care of their mental health and achieving a work-life balance. But how far have we been successful in terms of implementation?

Social isolation has undoubtedly been a major driving factor. Besides our personal lives, our work lives have seen the biggest changes. Work from home may sound relaxing but working remotely has led to an imbalance between work and personal lives. Pushing beyond a certain limit or struggling to create boundaries has led to unwanted stress that has made matters worse. While the problems keep piling up, solutions seem limited. Here are five tips that’ll help you channelise your energies and make mental health a priority.

Physical Boundaries
Create a dedicated workstation if possible. This will help in creating a divide between your workspace and your normal living space. Take lunch breaks away from your desk. When working from home, it can be tough to take breaks or unplug. Often we find ourselves trying to get lunch between two zoom meetings. One of the biggest challenge while working from home is that it alters the normal routine that we got used to. Therefore, it is important to create boundaries between your workplace and your living space. It improves productivity and gives enough time to destress.

Mental Boundaries
Long working hours or never-ending to-do lists is something that always keeps playing at the back of our minds. It is essential to switch off and call it a day. Don’t work as per the clock but productivity gets impacted after a certain number of hours. Focus on other things such as watching movies or exercising or spending time with family. At the end of the day, we all want to prove our worth to our superiors and lead by example for our juniors.
This will only be possible if we keep things light and can balance our daily tasks. A friend of mine has opted to go for a walk a morning walk or drive before he starts work. As per him, he feels more active for the tasks to follow and can lead a balanced life. Something that he wasn’t able to achieve while going to the office.

Mobile Phone Detox
We spend most of our day/night being glued to the phone screen. This may be one of the hardest tasks but it is also the most rewarding if done on a regular basis. Screen time is a necessity, there’s no denying that. Smartphones help you monitor how much time you spend on your phones. Whether it is accessing mails, social media apps or watching videos, the data is stored on your phone. You can limit the usage accordingly and only use your phone for necessary interactions/emails. Even while avoiding texts/emails, you are still reading or are engaged on the screen. One has to come up with certain dos and don’ts if they want to ace this step. Remember, attending zoom meetings also adds to your screen time. Try going out for a walk and be away from your phone. This will give your eyes the much-needed break and will reduce strain. Screen light prevents the release of melatonin which is the sleep promoting hormone making it difficult to fall asleep. If one can ace this step, they’ll see drastic changes in their lifestyle.

Prioritise Sleep 
It goes beyond saying that sleep plays an integral role in keeping one mentally as well as physically fit. A good night’s sleep will enhance work quality the next day. However, if there’s too much on your mind and are not able to sleep the minimum hours needed, you’ll feel drained and the output will be low. Less than seven hours of sleep for an adult can negatively affect their mood. If possible, try not working in your bedroom. When you unwind, reduce your screen time and try getting in at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Listen to soft songs or do some basic stretches and get some downtime. Overthinking or worrying about pending work can impact your sleep cycle. Prioritising a good night’s sleep is crucial to avoid health-related problems and achieve a balanced life.

Self-care Before Anything
No one is immune to illness and to remain healthy, certain things must be done. To minimise the risk, being proactive tops the chart. Take out time for exercising as it not only releases stress but also motivates you to contribute in a better capacity. Physical activity boosts immunity and makes you more receptive. Identify what matters to you and how you can achieve your goals. Try and find ways to improve yourself and the results will soon follow. There are various things that employees can do to create a balance between their interests and their employment. You can pursue online courses for further reading or learn an instrument — depending on your interests. This will not only shift your attention from a monotonous routine but will also strengthen your resume. The fulfilment is not in monetary rewards but in completing your goals on the personal development front. Attaining a healthy work-life balance schedule can be seen as a stress management technique. The fact that it requires one to study ways to improve themselves contributes immensely to one’s self-development. The more goals you achieve, the more confident you become and attract positivity to your work and personal life. Your career is as important as your personal life. Study ways to improve yourself and live a happy life where personal growth is the prime objective.

Article by: Gagandeep Sidhu


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