If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you’ve used the phrase “I’m stressed” at least once this week.
But did you know that this stress could actually be shortening your lifespan?
Stress related diseases have been on the rise across the world for decades now. As we get increasingly addicted to our phones, the need to be ‘online’ all of the time means too few of us are actually switching off from our jobs and giving ourselves the proper time to relax.
Stress impacts us physically, as well as mentally. Stress can impact on your heart function, kidney function and even liver function. Stress could be the reason why you’re getting headaches, an upset stomach, problems sleeping and even chest pain.
Not only this, but the mental drain of stress is astounding. When your body is stressed, you’re in a continuous state of ‘fight or flight’ mode. Your heart rate increases and your muscles get ready to respond to a perceived threat. When this continues, it can cause anxiety, depression and irritability.
Which means even when you’re at home, meant to be relaxing, you still find yourself worrying about something or snapping at your family.
Setting boundaries between your work life and personal life and achieving a sustainable work life balance is the first big step to ensuring your stress levels don’t impact your home life. Here are some tips for achieving that:
1. Build in daily ‘de-stressing’ breaks
You know the feeling of needing to wind down after a long day of work. Plan a chunk of you time into your day - whether it’s ten minutes or half an hour - and dedicate that time to you.
Switch off your phone and read a book, listen to a meditation podcast or simply take yourself outside for a walk.
Allowing yourself time to clear your head and not think about anything stressful even for ten minutes per day means that by the end of the year, you will have had 60 hours of no stress. That’s nearly two full working weeks.
2. Know when to ask for help
We’re yes people now, more than ever. We say yes to project we shouldn’t, deadlines we can’t realistically meet and additional work that we don’t need. The fear of failing stops us from reaching out and asking for help - but we must.
Being realistic about what you can achieve during your work hours means you’ll be less likely to have to stay late, work overtime and eat into your private time.
Next time you get asked to take on a new project, ask yourself: can I actually fit this into my current schedule without causing myself more stress?
If the answer to that question is no, ask your boss for some support.
3. Plan in Friends and Family Time
Do you sit there on Monday morning and wonder where the weekend went?
It’s all too easy to let a weekend slip past without really doing anything.
So, as unspontaneous as it sounds, make sure you plan in quality time with your friends and family.
That could be something as small as popping to a friend’s house for a morning coffee or going on a walk as a family.
Ensure it’s something you’re actively doing (that means no scrolling through your phone) and focus on being in the present.
4. Stop Multitasking
Multitasking makes us inefficient rather than efficient. When we do 10,000 things at once, we don’t do any of them properly.
So next time you catch yourself sitting on the sofa, watching something on the television whilst scrolling through your phone - pause. Think to yourself “what do I want to be doing in this moment?”
If you’re watching television then watch it. If it’s not good enough to hold your attention span for the length of an episode, chances are you’re not that invested in it - so stop watching it.
If you’re scrolling endlessly through Facebook, watching one mundane video after another, stop. Ask yourself whether it’s making you happy. If the answer is yes, fine. But if not then ask yourself - what could I be doing with my spare time that will make me happy?
What other tips do you have for achieving a work life balance? How do you manage it?