Take a couple of minutes to watch this video.
Chances are your job involves hard work of some type or another. For some the work is physical and for others the work is less physical and more to do with how much of our time and mental energy is taken up in work.
We're proud of our hard work and ofter wear our busyness and our tiredness as a badge of honour. But is it healthy?
There is plenty of research out there which suggests not (The Mental Health Foundation have a great page on this topic - particularly on how to identify an unhealthy work-life balance). When work becomes so much of a priority that other things start to slide, things can go downhill pretty quickly and the effects on our physical and mental health can be significant.
So what can we do about it? Here are some simple tips to help you to get your work-life balance back on track:
- Prioritise time to do the things you love, with the people you love. If you find that you're constantly backing out of meet-ups with friends for a drink, going on that walk with your family or camping with your best mate then try treating your free time a bit like your work time - book time off in your diary like you'd book a work meeting and stick to it. If you find that you're under pressure from others or yourself to work during those times it's helpful to have a calendar entry to look at to remind you to take that time for yourself. Remember you'll be more productive in the long term if you're getting regular opportunities to refresh yourself and do the things you love.
- Get some exercise! The NHS recommends that an average adult needs at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and at least two sessions of strength building activities that use a wide variety of muscles each week. The more physically fit you are the more energy you'll have when you need to work and, don't forget, exercising produces endorphins which help you to feel better all round.
- Keep track of the hours that you work. With almost everyone using mobile phones or laptops to work these days it is much easier to get sucked into working at times and in places where you previously wouldn't have thought of it. Every so often take a week try and keep a track of exactly how many hours you work - you might be shocked. Make sure you are taking regular breaks to give yourself time to recover your energy.
- Speaking of mobile phones: Remember to switch off! It is really important to try to maintain some distinction between your work life and your personal life where possible. Try to switch of your work phone or emails when they don't absolutely need to be on (a rule of thumb: when you're being paid to have access your emails then do, when you aren't, don't!).