The daily grind can be overwhelming. Modern work is never-ending and at any moment you feel like you might run screaming from your office building.
We’ve all been there – that’s why it’s so important to unwind at the end of the day. Here’s some tips to help you make the most of your down time and keep balance in your life.
- Don’t take your work home with you: Constantly checking your email and cell phone for updates while you’re at home? Your intentions might be noble, but your work ethic is unsustainable and you’ll eventually find yourself burned out. Even the most inherently demanding careers need to have some breathing room. Set some personal time aside and do something you love. Immerse yourself in anything fun and you’ll find yourself in a state of zen-like calm when it’s time to get back to business. The Blackberry is the primary culprit: be sure to shelve it as you walk in the door. Take it out only at proscribed times. (By the way, make it a family affair: no one should be texting at the dinner table.)
- Make a date: Friends and family are important too, you know. Even if you’re tired at the end of the day, force yourself to go out and socialize. Stimulate your mind with casual conversation and a couple of drinks over dinner – you’ll find yourself refreshed from the easy going atmosphere and ready to take on the next work day. Since we’re all so used to scheduling our days, it’s easy to forget to do things spontaneously. So don’t force yourself to be spontaneous to have a good time: use your calendar just like you do for business. Get your friends’ time on your calendar and plan out casual and social time just like you would for work.
- Exercise often: Living in front of the computer screen? No wonder you feel stressed. Find at least 30 minutes a day to get up and move around. Regular exercise will boost your mood and help you get in shape. Your body will naturally release stress relieving endorphins while you work out, helping you feel better, and helping you look better. And that will get anyone motivated! If you can’t make it to the gym, just use the time you have. Walk up the stairs, take a walk for lunch, and find the active activities that you enjoy most.
- Take a vacation: Plan ahead and make it happen. You could use a break. There is no better way to reset your stress than a long deserved vacation. Turn off your phone and live a little – isn’t that why you’re working anyway? Only in America do people not take vacation, and don’t set that expectation with your manager. Be sure to schedule vacations long in advance, and use every day that you get. If you plan ahead with your team and set the expectation that it’s a “real” vacation instead of a working vacation, there shouldn’t be any problems. If taking a real vacation, even when planned and scheduled, isn’t ok with your current employer, it might be time to get a new one.
Navigating the delicate work-life balance can be a challenging ordeal. Often times the finer things in life are overshadowed by the pressing realities of a career. But if we step back from the work and reflect on our personal life, we just might find the energy to manage both, and reinvigorate our passion to keep at it. Remember that every way in which you improve yourself also improves your career. A sense of balance and enjoyment about life is not only necessary to your health, it’s the only way to perform well long term in your career.