work-life balance

Why You Need Work-Life Balance Back In Your Life & How To Do It

“Work-life balance? Yeah, yeah, it’s important. I know. But it’s just not for me now. I am too busy. Maybe in the future I’ll find it.” I hear you say.

Let me ask you something:

When was the last time you spent an entire day without thinking about work or school? When was the last time you turned off your laptop at 4 pm, satisfied with all your hard work for the day, and went on to do stuff you like? When was the last time you felt really good and comfortable in your body?

You don’t remember? Very well then…

When was the last time you spent an entire day in front of your screen, totally losing track of time? When was the last time you skipped a meal because you were too busy? When was the last time you wished you had time to learn to play that instrument? When was the last time you dreamt about finally reading that book you got for Christmas two years ago? When was the last time you felt overwhelmed and anxious because of your workload? When was the last time your heart skipped a beat when your phone rang and you knew it was more work coming your way?

You remember that very clearly, don’t you? Was it yesterday? Or even today?

Yeah, I though as much…

Despite the fact that we all know how important work-life balance is for us, it feels like a utopian dream for most. But it’s not impossible!

The new norm?

If I compare a regular working day of a contemporary woman to that of my grandmother, I see a striking difference. Early in the morning, my grandmother took her children to school, went to work, worked her shift, and when the factory bell rang at 4 pm, she went home. She spent the afternoon and evening with her family, her head free of any work related drama. Her evenings and afternoons were… Well… Her’s. 

In today’s fast-paced business world this seems impossible. We’re constantly connected via phones, emails and social media.

It is viewed as normal to check your emails all the time and take work related calls during family dinner or walk. It is normal to bring your work home and you’re expected to be available 24/7. The fact that you’re on holiday doesn’t mean you can’t answer the phone…

I wonder, when did we stop being human beings and turned into machines?

Oh wait, we haven’t! We’re still human beings, which means that if we’re constantly in work mode, chronic stress accumulates and we start feeling overwhelmed, anxious, unfulfilled and stuck in a loop. (And that’s just work/school related stress… Add social media, the news and peer pressure into the mix and you have the perfect human-spirit killing cocktail.)

When did this become the norm? When did we let our free and family time turn from sacred into irrelevant?

How work-life balance effects our health and wellbeing

We all know that living a balanced life is very important, but for some reason, many of us put said balance so low on our list of priorities that we almost ignore it.

Here’s a reminder why work-life balance should be on top of that list:

Healthy body, healthy mind.

Everybody knows this saying…

But it’s impossible to maintain a healthy body or mind when were are overworked and tired, when we don’t take care of ourselves and when we feel like we’re never doing enough.

Of course we can’t be 100 % stress free all the time. Low levels of stress are good for us. Even essential. Stress is what kept us alive in the past. It triggers the fight or flight mode. But back in the days, stress always had an outlet. It was released. Usually with a physical activity – you fought for your life or you run. However, nowadays, we are constantly exposed to stress without releasing it. We are passive. And it accumulates in our bodies.

This accumulated stress can lead to severe health problems.

On the physical spectrum, stress can cause digestive issues, hypertension, chronic muscle pains and heart problems. In terms of mental health, stress is very closely linked to anxiety, depression and insomnia. And these are only the most common examples.

Going into details about how stress works and how it effects our health is way beyond the scope of this little article. There will be a separate post about stress soon.

Needles to say, when your health suffers, so does your productivity. You might be working long hours and overtimes, but if you’re tired and unmotivated, the quality of your work diminishes and you’re much more prone to making mistakes. Which means that the longer you work, the less efficient you are. Always taking on more and more work is counterproductive!

Now that you know why it’s super important, let’s talk about what you can start doing right now to change it!

What can you start doing NOW to get some balance back into your life? 

  • Work on your mindset & Set boundaries
    • Set your priorities straight –  what’s really important to you in life?
    • Turn off notifications on your phone –  I can’t even describe how much of a difference that made for my mental wellbeing. (And I’m not missing on anything, trust me!)
    • Put your work phone on mute after working hours. (Maybe communicate this decision to your colleagues & supervisor beforehand.)
  • Become an expert in Time management
  • Take care of your mind and body
    • Exercise regularly
    • Spend some time outside every day
    • Meditate, practice mindfulness
    • Make sure you’re getting enough sleep (7 – 9 hrs)
    • Pay attention to your diet

Remember! You are a human being, not a machine. You’re meant to be, not merely exist.

Your time and attention, along with your health, are your most precious commodities. Think about that! You can never buy more time. Or take it back…

So take control and enjoy the ride!

If you’d like to find out more about me, have a read here.