We all have bad days at work. And sometimes those bad days can drag on for a week. It’s important to find the right lifestyle balance to be able to cope through the tougher days. It’s easy to say leave work at the office, but these days that is rarely practical. We’re all much busier than we used to be. We work hard so we want to play hard. But how much is too much? Is there a simple way to balance hard work with a healthy lifestyle? We’ve got a few things you need to be wary of and few things you can try:
We hear the word stress used in lots of different ways. But sometimes you can be suffering from stress and not even know it. There are dozens of different signs that you are under more stress than you can cope with. A busy mind that won’t quieten when you’re trying to sleep is certainly one of the more serious ones. This suggests you have more work or responsibilities than you can comfortably manage.
If you can’t fall asleep or stay asleep, the chances are that stress is to blame. And the more tired you get, the worse it gets. Sleep deprivation caused by interruptions or a shortage of rest can affect your clarity of thought. Your responses are often slow or incorrect. Mistakes occur, and you may find you are clumsier than normal. Your body may feel heavy and tired, and even your posture may be affected. It’s not pleasant.
Stress can also affect the internal workings of the body. Your body’s ability to process food and water can be altered. This can quickly lead to weight gain or weight loss. Your hormones may be out of balance too. You may suffer from skin blemishes or dry skin like these at http://www.youbeauty.com/beauty/hormones-and-your-skin/. The internal organs may struggle to function well. And the extra pressure stress brings can cause high blood pressure and heart problems.
It’s not easy to cope with your body behaving differently as well as all that emotional stress. Many people seek to find coping mechanisms to reduce these awful symptoms. Medication from the doctor may help, but some find the side effects more menacing than anything. Self-medicating is not a good idea. But many people do turn to alcohol and drugs to help them relax their body and mind.
Sadly, this can quickly become the go-to method every time life feels difficult to cope with. Alcohol and drugs are often addictive, and addiction is a very serious problem to have to deal with. There are many stories of addiction ruining lives at ARCProject.org.uk/alcohol-detox/. Fortunately, there are also many good stories about rehabilitation and freedom from addiction. It’s easier to say avoid alcohol and drugs than it is to do. But if you feel you’re reaching for these as a way to cope with your day, it could be time to find the right centre to help you tackle it.
Diet & Fitness
One of the best ways to help combat stress is a good diet and a good level of fitness. It can be very difficult to find the time to head to the gym or cook a healthy meal. But it is essential to your health that you prioritise these things. After all, illness will prevent you from getting to work at all. A good diet and exercise programme will help prevent illness as well as stress and depression. Just make sure you don’t overdo it when you finally get a chance to work out.
Start by chucking out all those foods you know harm your health rather than help it. Generally speaking, if it’s processed, it’s possibly no good. Look for natural choices like vegetables, fruits and nuts to snack on. Snack bars often contain lots of additional ingredients. Things like sugar and preservatives can cause weight gain. You may be able to bake your own, or create mix-pots of your favourite nuts and seeds. Add a little unsweetened dry fruit if you like a treat at snack time.
Dairy like milk, cheese and yoghurt are often avoided when you feel you need to lose weight. But these contain essential protein and calcium that the body needs. Choose healthier versions if you are concerned about the fat content. You may also choose to eat fish over red meats for the same reason. Fish oils are more healthy than the fats found in red meat.
Our bodies also need a wide range of vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Some promote a healthy metabolism that will prevent weight gain. Others promote a healthy hormone balance to ensure our reproductive systems are effective. There are dozens of reasons for eating healthy foods. But the temptation of convenience foods and snacks can sometimes be too great.
If you do struggle to find enough healthy choices each day, you may benefit from a vitamin supplement. Some vitamins, like vitamin D and the B vitamins, are absolutely essential for our bodies to work. A healthy diet will be rich in a wide range of vitamins and minerals, but it’s not always easy to prepare every meal carefully. Making time for healthy eating is important. So is making time for an active lifestyle.
Exercise keeps the body working the way it should. Our bodies are built to stand and walk, yet we spend most of our days sat in the office. Standing desks can help reduce a lot of workplace ailments. Sitting at a computer desk can cause poor posture and circulation. This comes with a lot of aches and pains that can be quite unpleasant and difficult to relieve. Take a walk at lunchtimes to get your body moving. And if you can walk or cycle to work, you could keep your body in top condition. Make time in the evening for a workout. Instead of sitting to watch TV, why not do some stretches or exercises while you view?
When life at work gets hectic, our social lives quickly diminish to almost nothing. Yet our personal relationships are essential to good emotional and mental health. As humans, we are social creatures. This means we need company and conversation. A meeting with work colleagues isn’t the same. If you have a family, chances are you’re spending less quality time with them than you would like. Finding that work-life balance is never easy.
Make a regular date with your loved ones. Stick to it no matter what. Your family are the priority over work. You could all turn off your connected devices so the time is uninterrupted. Enjoy a movie together, or chat over dinner. Why not go out and have some fun in the park? There are lots of ways you can spend that time. It may only be a couple of hours, but the quality is more important than quantity.
If you don’t have a family, you may be missing out on having relationships because of your work commitments. If you work on the weekends as well, this can be even harder. Balancing your work hours out with time for yourself is important. Lots of us define ourselves by our jobs, but it is essential to have a life out of the office as well. Do you have any hobbies or interests? If not, why not? Perhaps now is a good time to resurrect old passions.
Work should not take up all of your life. But where is the balance part? 70% may seem like too much for many people. But if you allocate 70% of your waking hours to your work, you aren’t alone. Most of us need to work far longer hours than our parents had to. If you’re looking for the right balance, why not speak to them? Your parents would have worked hard when you were small, but technologies meant that little work was done from home back then.
Now we can work from home. This means we can enjoy fewer commutes. We can get the dinner prepared a little earlier. And we can pick the kids up from school. But it can also mean you’re still writing up reports at ten o’clock at night, and responding to emails from your bed. A good work-life balance could simply mean separating the two completely. Or it could mean being able to enjoy both simultaneously. What does it mean to you?
A healthy lifestyle requires a healthy approach to life. Taking care of your mind, body and soul are essential. But so is earning enough to pay the mortgage every month. So where do you draw the line? What is the secret to a healthy work-life balance? Listening to your heart, body and mind will give you the heads-up if something is wrong. Don’t ignore those signs that your healthy lifestyle is being compromised by work.
It can take a long time and lots of trial and error to find that perfect balance for you. We’re all different with different lives and different needs. Most importantly, we all have different thresholds of the stress we can take. Take care of you and lead the healthy lifestyle we all dream of.