In last week’s post, we established that Australians work some of the longest hours in the developing world, and often have an unhealthy relationship between their work, home and personal life.

Achieving a healthy work life balance is important

It helps improve physical health, mental health, relationships with loved ones, and overall, satisfaction with life increases.

There are number of ways to integrate work and personal life effectively. These five strategies were shared in last week’s post:

  • take responsibility and control
  • be clear on your goals and values
  • engage in a positive morning routine
  • schedule some down time
  • foster relationships

The remaining 5 tips include:

1. Prioritise your health

When you’re working hard, sleep, exercise and a healthy diet are often the first things to go. Assess your current personal habits and overall, your general lifestyle.

Are you taking care of yourself? Are you eating well? How much sleep are you getting? Do you exercise regularly? Do you practice any form of relaxation?

Remember without relaxation, you are more likely to burn out.

Keep your overall health in check, as it helps to reduce stress, anxiety and depression; it will also help you achieve the healthier work-life balance that you may be seeking.

2. Manage and organise your time

Time is one of our most precious gifts. Organise and manage it well, and you will attain a positive work-life balance.

Start tracking how you spend your time at work and at home. Are you spending too much time on unproductive and menial tasks?

With technology encroaching into our personal lives, are you constantly distracted and responding to alerts and beeps? If so, turn these notifications off.

A great way to appreciate time is to practice mindfulness. Focus on the present moment with openness and without judgement. When you’re at work, focus on what you’re doing, and when you’re with your family, focus wholeheartedly on them.

3. Set boundaries

Another aspect of having a healthy work-life balance is setting some clear boundaries.

Learn to say ‘no’ and think about the consequences of accepting new tasks, responsibilities or ‘opportunities’. Is it actually an opportunity which will lead to better outcomes? Or will it become burdensome, and another stress creator?

Remember doing more, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. As a result of doing more, a lesser outcome may be produced, and often not what you had hoped for.

4. Manage stress effectively

People often experience stress when they feel out of control. To manage stress effectively, identify the cause underlying the stress, consider potential solutions and take action.

Depending on the stressor, you may need to communicate assertively, establish a good sleeping routine, do some physical activity, and/or practice relaxation and breathing exercises.

If the stress continues and is elevated for long periods of time, seek professional help.

5. Enjoy your work

“Do what you love and love what you do” was quoted by Ray Bradbury, and is a popular expression of modern times. While all work can be tedious or stressful at times, the majority of your work needs to be fulfilling and satisfying.

Remind yourself why you were drawn into the role in the first place and the rewards it gives you. Often we can get caught up in the tasks and responsibilities, and forget about the purpose and meaning of our work.

Of course, if your current role is making your life impossible, then you may need to consider whether your current job is right for you.

You can change your current work-life balance

The decision to improve your work-life balance ultimately lies with you. If you are ready to change, put some strategies in place, and work towards achieving the work-life balance/integration that is right for you.

It will be different for everyone and will vary depending on your circumstances. With a little or a lot of tweaking, you can integrate your personal and work life harmoniously.

Until next time, wishing you all great health and wellbeing and of course, a healthy work-life balance.

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The information and inspiration for this post was sourced from various agencies including mindhealthconnect.org.au, World Health Organization, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH, Safe Work Australia, The Australia Institute, The Australian Psychological Society, Marsh 2012, Skinner et al 2012, Denham 2013 and Schulte 2014.