Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is harder than ever, and sometimes it seems like the more productive we are, the more that gets added to our plate and the closer we get to burnout. There’s nothing wrong with working hard. But when it starts to affect your time with your family or even your time spent on personal health and wellness, things start to fall apart.
The key to success in every aspect of life is balance. Being unwilling to compromise your exercise routine can help keep a healthy work-life balance in your life by forcing you to step away from work and focus on your health. Regular physical activity is essential to reducing stress, staying productive, and being happy.
The Importance of Work-Life Balance
When jobs or school work take over too much of our lives, our physical and mental health suffers. Our personal relationships suffer because we don’t have the time needed to maintain those important connections. We miss birthdays and important milestones which create even more stress and unhappiness in our lives. As a result, we’re more susceptible to low-quality sleep, illness, and a generally less healthy lifestyle.
A lack of work-life balance sets off a chain reaction that only leads to even more severe consequences. So it’s essential to take control of your time and strike a healthy work-life balance for yourself. That’s going to look different for everyone, but if you’re feeling stressed and unhappy on a daily basis, it may be time to pull back on your work duties and make some room for your life to happen.
You can do this by prioritizing the following habits:
- Setting specific work hours and sticking to them, especially if you work remotely or have a flexible work schedule
- Use tech to your advantage, like scheduling and tracking apps for your workouts and work schedules
- Choose a workout that you really love instead of one you think you should do
- Set up a home gym to make exercising as accessible as possible
How to Get Started
Coming up with a steady fitness routine can be a great way to balance your work and life better. But it’s not always easy. It can be really hard to continue a regular exercise routine, especially when your priorities have been elsewhere for so long.
At first, keep things simple by setting a schedule and sticking to it. Then, work on setting small, attainable goals, and staying motivated until you reach them and can set exciting new goals. Here’s more information to get started:
- Create a schedule: Make use of calendars, planners, apps, and other tools to help plan out your days so you can schedule in a workout, or just some time outside, at some point in your day. Schedule your work, self-care time, and time with friends and family to help maintain a balanced life. This is especially important if you’re working from home since time management can be more difficult due to all the distractions a house can provide.
- Set goals: Set fitness goals like a number of pushups or a running distance you’d like to reach. Use BMI calculators and other tools to determine where you currently stand and where you would like to be.
- Stay motivated: Connect with a friend who enjoys fitness and exercise and ask them to be your accountability buddy. Or, hire a personal trainer to help you set up your fitness goals, create a plan to achieve them, and keep you motivated. There are also lots of free resources for motivation these days, like motivational books, videos, Pinterest boards, and group meetups.
Take It to Work
In terms of exercise, one of the best ways to maintain work-life balance is to bring the workout to work. Modern workplaces are learning the value of incentivizing employee health and wellness. This can be as simple as encouraging friendly competition among staff members to something as complicated as creating a wellness plan that awards health insurance points for activity participation.
If your place of employment doesn’t already do anything like this, don’t be discouraged. You can always take the idea to your human resources manager. It’s the job of HR managers to not only support employees and encourage engagement but to put together benefits packages and internally market perks. A wellness program, especially one created by employees themselves, is the epitome of bringing all of these together.
Organizations that prioritize the health and wellness of their employees not only have happier and more productive employees, they are often able to recruit better fitting and more ambitious employees.
It’s difficult to say what a healthy work-life balance looks like because it’s different for everyone. A stressful job or a pile of tasks could be exciting for one person and draining for another. All we can do is pay attention to our own stress levels and recognize when we’ve taken on too much. Remember that the right balance today might look different tomorrow, or next year. A healthy work-life balance is something that takes frequent check-ins and maintenance. And it can sometimes mean recruiting your colleagues and managers to ensure that your workplace prioritizes your health as much as you do.
By Indiana Lee, BOSS contributor