Achieving work-life balance, something you can live with

Tips for setting limits and taking care of yourself

The best thing you can do to help establish work-life balance is to learn to set limits and take better care of yourself. This is easier said than done. For anyone who is caught up in the whirlwind of work, it can seem overwhelming to even think about cutting back and doing things differently. Michigan State University Extension is a wonderful resource for finding ways to help you stay healthy physically and mentally. Change is never easy. However, you can take things one small change at a time. Do what you can, when you can, and try at least a couple from the following lists.

Tips for setting limits.

  1. Leave work at work – just because you have 24/7 access to email, voice and text, doesn’t mean you need to respond. Unless it is a life a death situation and you are an on call doctor – it is probably okay to ignore.
  2. Tame your email –When you arrive at work, deal with your own to-do list first, before you open your email. That way everyone else’s priorities do not become yours for the day. You can also try checking email just three times a day: morning, mid-day and afternoon.
  3. Shorten the time you work on tasks – Most people can’t concentrate on one thing more than 90 minutes at a time. Set a timer, work only on one thing, and avoid interruptions. Turn off your phone ringer and the reminder chimes from emails and texts.
  4. Make a list – pay attention to both work and personal tasks. Be sure you have a good balance of what has to be done and what you really enjoy doing. Review your list. If something on it seems out of reach and unattainable – does it really need to get done? Assess what your priorities are and learn to let go of things that don’t matter.

Tips for taking care of yourself.

  1. Eat better – any healthy diet should include plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein, and of course plenty of water. It can be as easy as having an apple and a cool glass of water in the afternoon, instead of the chips and pop. The USDA is a reliable resource for tools and information.
  2. Get enough sleep – the Centers for Disease Control recommends an average adult get at least seven to eight hours of sleep. Lack of sleep can limit your ability to deal with everyday stresses. Go to bed as early as you can. Establish a nighttime routine to give your body time to get ready for sleep. Turn off electronics (TV, computer, tablets, and lights). Quite your mind and your body and concentrate on your breathing.
  3. Spend time with family and friends – one of the best stress busters is spending time with people who love and support you. In turn, it is good for your own social/emotional health to be kind, loving and supportive to others.
  4. Play more – make time for stuff you love to do every single day, whatever that is; reading, walking, joking around with friends, working on cars or the garden, being silly with the kids, etc. Make time to learn to do something new to you: hiking, dancing, riding a bike, cooking, or even painting.

While at times, work and responsibilities can feel all consuming, you can decide make a plan to have some time for fun, relaxation and rejuvenation of self. Become your own ‘best friend’. Your co-workers, friends and family members will appreciate it and start to take notice of a healthier you.

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