It's commonplace to feel we need to find a balance between our work and our lives, but sometimes that just isn't possible. Instead, you may be better off aiming to keep a healthy body and mind.
Many of us feel a bit overwhelmed by work, to the point where we're underperforming in our lives outside of the office. If you fall into this category, you've probably made a few attempts to gain greater balance — and probably failed too. When we like what we do and get a little obsessed, this isn't necessarily a bad. The problem is, sometimes work can wear us out and balance is harder because we're just too mentally and physically exhausted to maintain it. Psychologist Marcia Reynolds recommends the following:
- Keep your body healthy - Eating healthy and exercising makes any added stress easier to handle. Studies have found that exercise helps to prepare our bodies to handle stressful situations.
- Maintain social bonds - Thought you may feel like you don't have time or don't need help, often times a very brief social encounter is enough to keep you energized and happy. If you have to work, consider working with someone else in the room. Being around people you like, even when you feel that you want to be alone, can often be a big help.
- Regularly notice the world around you - Even if it doesn't feel like it, you have five or ten minutes to go take a walk and appreciate what's around you. When you're in a hurry, don't forget to stop and look around. Actually paying attention to the world around you not only will make a major difference in the little annoyances in life (e.g. almost walking into people, losing/forgetting things, etc) but it will frequently feel like a breath of fresh air. Appreciate the world around you and you (as well as everyone else) will be better of for it
Reynolds mentions that the best part about these easy suggestions is that you can combine them:
For example, plan on regular walks with family and friends to enjoy them while you absorb the sun and nature. Then if you work into the night to catch up on the emails that came in while you were walking, make sure you get enough sleep so you wake up excited about the work you will do next.
It's worth noting that if your life is being overtaken by a job that you hate, anything you do short of quitting that job is probably not going to help you too much, but devoting a little of your free time towards a balanced mind could certainly help make things a little easier.
Forget About Work/Life Balance [Psychology Today]