Sometimes it can be easy to get into the habit of spending too much time at work and not balancing personal life and work life. Maybe you are working extra hours to earn more money. Maybe you do it because you want a promotion. Or maybe you do it simply because you are trying to meet your quarterly goals. Regardless of why you have to ask yourself, is it worth it to risk your health?
It is easy to say “of course not,” but research suggests that although most of the population says they would never get into that situation, it does just the opposite. According to a study, more than a fifth of employees work 48 hours or more each week, and 60% do not regularly take their vacation days.
That makes the balance between work and personal life a big problem when you consider that:
- Working 55 hours a week or more can increase your risk of having a stroke by 30%.
- People who work more than 10 hours a day have a higher risk of heart disease than those who work only 7 hours a day.
- People who work more hours tend to consume more alcohol and at a level that implies severe risks to their health.
- Women who work long hours are at greater risk of depression and anxiety.
- Those who work more than 40 hours per week or more than 8 hours in a day have a significantly higher risk of injury.
Beyond these statistics, it is likely that the stress of being overworked and lack of personal life negatively affects your physical health, mental health, stress levels, satisfaction in your relationships, and ability to do your job.
Some of us find it difficult to know our limits, which is a nice way of saying that sometimes we push ourselves too far. But all hope is not lost. You can help yourself manage your work stress by identifying the indicators that you could be working too much. You can rebalance your personal life and work life and avoid the problems that these excesses can cause.
Striving to build a healthy balance between your job responsibilities and your interests or life goals can help improve your overall health, your happiness, and your relationships with those around you. You can control with these tips on how to achieve a work-life balance.
Know when to stop working
It may not be possible to go from working 60 hours a week to 40 hours, but it is possible to reduce the workload in another way. Study how to reduce the schedule realistically and start there. Low of 60 hours per week to 55 hours, and then to 50 hours, for example.
Day by day, try to reduce your workload if you know that a project will take more than a day to complete, decide where and when it will stop each day, and stay true to that goal. “Only five more minutes” can quickly become an additional hour of work if left unchecked.
Another option may be to balance the weekly workload. If you know that you will work late on Thursday and Friday, for example, try to work less time earlier in the week to have time to take care of yourself.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of knowing when to disconnect. This is particularly important if you usually take your work laptop home with you. Coach Michelle Landy says that “the key to balance or integration is to be aware of where you are.” One way to do this is to think about how each one can make the transition between work and home. They are small things that can make a big difference in the long term. It could be something as simple as taking time to breathe deeply and reminding yourself to be present and live the moment once you cross the threshold of your door. Another option may be to disable phone notifications to avoid distracting emails when you are at home.
Take your annual vacation days
The world will not end if you take a break. There is a reason why work breaks are required by law. You are not a robot. It would be best if you had time to disconnect, eat, go to the bathroom and relax.
Try to take some time each day, even if it’s only a few minutes, to get away from the computer and take a walk.
The same goes for annual vacations and the days off you have accumulated. Your company will not fall apart if you walk away for a few days. You are not doing the company any favors if you do not take the necessary rest time.
According to Adam Sacks, president of the Tourism Economics division of Oxford Economics, Forbes magazine quoted: “Not taking accumulated days off does not help employers, because they end up dealing with a less productive and less loyal employee.” If you are a boss or manager, check out this article on stress management in the workplace.
Taking regular rest periods helps you maintain momentum and avoid exhaustion. Plan and try not to take your days off during a period in which you are essential; So you can spend a real vacation without having to worry, away from the laptop, and make it clear that you should only connect if an emergency arises. Spend time with family, visit friends, explore new destinations or enjoy your favorite holidays: do what you need to do to get back rested.
Find a hobby you like
Speaking of hobbies, sometimes there is no better way to balance personal life and work-life than through a hobby you enjoy outside of work. This can be hard to find, especially if you have moved to take a new position or have been working excessively for years, but it can be profoundly encouraging. As you commit to taking breaks, use this time to find activities that will keep you happy. Try a new sport such as hiking, surfing, or fishing; try volunteering or enroll in art classes.
Do not feel guilty for the time you spend dedicated to your hobby. You work hard, and you deserve to take some time to enjoy what you have worked for. Most companies understand it and can even encourage this type of hobby.
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