Hands up if you struggle with work-life balance? I certainly do, and one in four of us feel the same. If you feel that your work life is getting in the way of your playtime then this article is especially for you.
Achieving Work-life balance
Work and play both have a big role in our lives - we're either working or we're playing, so both form a big part of our health and wellness. The first step is to ask yourself; is work enhancing my life or is it decreasing it? Am I prioritising more time for work then I do play? Spend some time reflecting and examining the roles that work and play have in your life. If you are finding that one is taking precedent over the other than here are 10 practical tips to help you restore more balance.
1). Preparation is key. Prioritise some time preparing for your day the night before. Get out your gym gear and work clothes, make your lunch and snacks, hang your washing out and top up your Opal card. This means you won’t have to rush in the morning and can spend some time relaxing, walking or hanging with loved ones before you go to work. I love to watch the sunrise in the morning, it's an amazing way to start the day. Here is also fun meditation that you can do first thing in the morning. It will give you the giggles (laughter really is the best medicine for the mind!) and will help you feel energised for the whole day.
The Monkey meditation.
This is a Zen Buddhist technique. Jump out of bed first thing in the morning and spend ten minutes playing around with crazy postures and stretches. The catch? You need to laugh at yourself the whole time. It might feel strange at first, but once that laughter gets released, you won’t be able to stop!
2). Take a break at lunch. Go for a walk on your lunch break. Even if it’s raining, grab a jacket and brolly and head out. Being out in nature and moving your body is so good for the mind and soul, and by taking a break you can reset for the afternoon. You will find you are way more productive and won’t have the energy slump come 3pm.
3). Incorporate more play into your day. Even if it is just watching a funny cat video on YouTube, singing in the shower, having a quick dance around your living room, or having a joke with co-workers, make play part of your day. Be a big kid again, let go, live, be free and laugh lots!
4) Unplug and set boundaries, even for just 10 minutes when you get home. Put on your PJ's, lie down, breathe, put your legs up against the wall or spend a couple of minutes stretching. Set boundaries with your work too and stick to them. I now switch off from work at 8.30pm every night (it used to be 10.30pm!). It has made such a difference to my quality of life and my sleep!
5). Set your priorities. Never ending 'to do' list? Rather than trying to focus on a long list, choose just the most important 5 things that you need to do that day and stick to them. This will help de-clutter your mind and enable you to be fully present with the most important tasks at hand.
6). Relive your passions. Is there a past hobby that you used to have that you now miss? Think about how you can bring this back into your life. If you are having trouble thinking of one then try the Circle of Fun activity to get you started.
Circle of Fun
Grab a piece of paper and write all the things that you enjoy. They can be things that you do now, or things that you did in your childhood. Once you have finished, circle at least one thing that you can do this week. Here are some of mine - bike riding, beach picnics, hiking, playing mini golf and bush walking. This weekend I am going to go on a bush walk- what fun things can you do this week?
7). Just say no. I understand that this one can be tough. We want to please everyone, and be the best we can be. As hard as it may be, start saying no to things that you don’t want to do. The more you practice, the easier this one will become, I promise.
8). Enlist support. Get a cleaner, have your fruit and veg box delivered, book yourself in for a fitness session, delegate tasks to your partner, work colleagues and reach out for support from friends and family. Have a think of all the tasks that you can delegate and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
9). Prioritise your self-care and take regular relaxation breaks. Do something just for you each day and nurture your body with sleep, gentle movement, food, connections and nature. Practice breathing exercises, have a bath, meditate, paint your nails or go for a beach walk. Self-care is the first step to wellness. Click here to read my blog post for your five step guide to self-care.
10). Create a play area at home. Allocate a drawer, or space at home and fill it with bubbles, bouncy balls and board games. This is great tool when you need to have a timeout, relax or relieve stress. It also boots creativity and is heaps of fun!
There you have it, 10 tips to help you get more balance in order. The most important thing to remember is we will never achieve perfection with work-life balance and that everybody is different. What works for you, might not work for someone else and vice versa. What matters most is that you are striving towards creating a meaningful life for yourself that brings you the most happiness and that you are putting steps in place to enhance your life in some way. Achieving work-life balance is about self-nourishment, reducing stress and creating a happier work environment. Your work-life balance will vary over time and each day will be different. Find the balance that works for you.