While we all need a certain amount of stress to spur us on and help us perform at our best, the key to managing stress lies in that one magic word: balance. Not only is achieving a healthy work/life balance an attainable goal but workers and businesses alike see the rewards. When workers are balanced and happy, they are more productive, take fewer sick days, and are more likely to stay in their jobs.
Here are a few practical steps we can all take to loosen the grip that stress has on us and win back the balance in our lives. Read on and reap the benefits.
Time management. Time is a finite resource, we have a certain amount and that is it. So really it is your most valuable asset and the thing that should be at the forefront of your mind when it comes to achieving a good work/life balance. With around eight hours needed for sleep each night, you’re left with 112 hours per week to divide between work and the rest of your life.
Identify your priorities in life. Once you have worked out how much ‘disposable’ time you have, you can start to think about what things you would like to fill that time with. If you know you only have around four hours per day of time for yourself, it will be easier spend it doing something you really enjoy.
Make a plan. When you have identified your highest priorities in life, make a plan so you can execute them without fail. Create a schedule to stick to for every day both before and after work. Don’t forget about weekends either – try to take advantage of them by planning something fun and challenging. You could plan to go out for dinner and a movie with your family or do something totally out of your comfort zone, such as abseiling or hiking. If you don’t make fun time a priority, it could lead to stress in the long-term.
Ask for flexibility. Flex time and telecommuting are quickly becoming established as necessities in today’s business world, and many companies are drafting work/life policies. If you ask, they might allow you to work flexible hours or from home a day a week. Research shows that em-ployees who work flexible schedules are more productive and loyal to their employers.
Get help if you need it. Don’t let stress stand in the way of your health and happiness. If you are persistently overwhelmed, it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness—taking care of yourself is a sign of strength.
Give yourself a break. No one’s perfect! Allow yourself to be human and just do the best you can.