Is your work life getting the best of you? Find out how to take back control, restore balance and live a healthier life.
We live in a world where we’re expected to be alert 24 hours a day, stay on top of our email inbox, to-do list and respond to those ever-present notifications on our phones at the drop of a hat – but at what cost?
While everyone wants to perform to the best of their ability at work, the toll that putting your job first and personal life second can have may be impacting you far more than you realise.
So, how can you re-assess and restructure your life so that the blurred line between your working and personal life becomes a boundary clearly separate one from the other?
Setting ground rules
“Taking control of your morning before work is something that most of us can do,” explains Adam Zargar, owner and lead coach of life coaching services company, UAE Coaching.
“Use that time for doing a ritual that you enjoy like exercising, reading or even meditation. Doing this at the start of the day will give you the energy you need before work and planned activities after work can often be cancelled or rescheduled if you have to stay longer at the office to complete a task.”
The reality of the job market these days is that working a nine-to-five job that you can leave behind when you walk out of the office is now a thing of the past.
With the spread of smartphones, we’re all expected to be online and available all the time, which leaves many of us unable to unwind and relax between checking emails and social media. So what can you do to turn the tide?
“Take control of the expectations you place for yourself and others regarding messages and emails from work,” advises Adam.
“Try scheduling two slots per day where you will look at your emails properly with 100 percent focus and do this on your computer, not on your phone.
“Inform your colleagues, bosses and clients of this rule and tell them that if something is urgent, then they should call.
“It’s important to create clear expectations and boundaries that are for your own good and give you a better work-life balance.”
Making ‘me time’
Whatever your interest and hobbies are, it’s important that you take time to find enjoyment and unwind doing something you love whenever you can.
A recent Harvard Business School survey found that professionals working around the clock and exceeding their contracted hours of employment have higher stress levels and admitted their job has had a significant impact on their relationships, health and happiness.
Another study by the Mental Health Foundation in the UK found that 32 percent of people find themselves thinking and stressing about work in their free time, and 23 percent compromise their own health and wellbeing to prioritise work.
We all want to perform well at work and be a good employee but if our personal life suffers as a result then something needs to change.
“Make sure that you are doing hobbies and interests you are passionate about and schedule some priority time for these, too, so life is not all work,” adds Adam.
“Your ‘me time’ should be non-negotiable and is central to your wellbeing and happiness.”
Five ways to reduce workplace stress
Sleep: Embrace healthy sleeping habits to gain energy, focus and recharge your batteries every night.
Take breaks: You have breaks for a reason. Use them to take time away from your desk and rest your mind by doing something different. Consider taking a walk or finding a quiet spot out of the office to read.
Diet: Reduce your caffeine and junk food intake and drink more water. A healthy body can lead to a healthy mind.
Exercise: Even if it’s a short, brisk walk, get your blood flowing and feel the benefits of endorphins that spread a positive feeling throughout the body.
Relationships: Spend time with people you care about. Speak freely to communicate your worries and anxieties, and seek advice and feedback from people who want the best for you.
WORDS Colin Armstrong