Everyone experiences stress at work at some point in their lives. There may be times when it seems inevitable to have the projects pile up, leaving you with no choice but to take work home.
Even if the work has been completed, disconnecting can be difficult because the emails just never stop coming in. If this is a normal occurrence for you, it may be a good time to re-evaluate your lifestyle and make some changes to help you achieve work-life balance.
But how exactly do you know if your work-life balance is nonexistent? Here are some things to think about:
1. Your health is no longer a priority
When you’re so caught up with work, you end up having trouble sleeping, or you stay up way too late. You spend too much time sitting and making excuses for lack of exercise because you’re too busy. There may be a nagging health concern in the back of your mind, but you don’t pay attention to it or refuse to see a doctor.
By creating a schedule and making time for exercise, you can slowly make health a priority again. Start by allotting three days of 30-minute exercises, then gradually increase. Look for video workouts you can easily do no matter where you are. Even when you’re too busy to eat, make sure that when you do eat, it’s healthy and nutritious.
2. You are lonely
You are constantly surrounded by people and are talking to people all the time electronically, but you lack the meaningful interactions that are so important. Relationships and friendships start to suffer.
Make it a point to see friends and loved ones at least twice a week. During this time, put away your mobile phone and put in the effort to be in the moment.
3. Your mental health is declining
You find yourself constantly depressed, anxious, irritable, or angry. Sometimes, you may even feel hopelessness, restlessness, and panicky.
Find a healthy outlet to relieve yourself from stress. This is a good time to sign up for that yoga or meditation class and work towards a mindful inbox. Invest time in talking to your loved ones, not about work but about positive and uplifting topics.
4. You feel there is never enough time to finish everything
You stay up late and do the work, but it still constantly eats up too much of your time. You refuse to delegate because you want to ensure you produce a perfect job, every time.
The solution is to work smarter. Take advantage of tools or software that will help make the job easier. These days, there’s artificial intelligence for email which saves you time, helps you focus, and gets things done, as well as note-taking apps, project management software programs, and productivity apps that are designed for people just like you. Learn to delegate, too. By allowing yourself to work smarter instead of harder, you’ll find yourself with much more time on your hands.
5. You choose to work, even when you don’t have to
During the weekends, you still opt to check and respond to emails, make and receive calls, and think about work. When you’re with family or friends, you still prefer to talk about work.
Instead, why not establish traditions with your loved ones? Start a weekly dinner with your closest friends or make a family Wednesday night tradition. Take your kids on a date every Saturday and visit a friend in need. There are many ways you can switch up your lifestyle without trying too hard; with just a few tweaks and the right choices, you’ll have your work-life balance back in no time.
Last but not least, keep in mind that you can get yourself out of that hole. If any of these points resonate with you, that’s normal but help is never too far. Disconnect from your electronic devices, make self-care a priority, and invest time in meaningful relationships. At the end of the day, it all comes down to making that decision over deciding to say yes to the loud calls of work. Our culture may value hard work, but there is no reason to let your job rule your life.