If you have heard the phase ‘work-life balance’, but never really understood what it meant to you as a business owner, then this post will explain everything you need to know – from what it is and how it affects your working life, to the health risks and life-changing advice to reverse the effects.
Understanding Work-Life Balance and Stress
To put it simply, ‘work-life balance’ refers to the balance between an individual’s work life and their personal life. It is the relationship between between prioritising “work” and “lifestyle”. The idea being that we need to be able to switch off from work when away from it. I believe that the two cannot be separated and happiness in one leads to happiness within the other. With the increased use of technology like Smartphones, the ability to split our working and personal lives has blurred.
If I asked everyone reading this post to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the following question ‘Have to ever checked your work email or files while at home’, I would imagine the percentage answering ‘yes’ would be considerably higher than if I asked this question ten years ago. Mobile phones and internet access have severed the physical link between a person’s place of work and home. Without either, a person remains uncontactable (for the most part) until they are next at their place of work. The shift to being more contactable has resulted in the inability to switch off from the working day.
Is Work Life ‘Imbalance’ Unhealthy?
If you are spending more time beyond your standard working hours on work, then potentially you are creating an imbalance and causing yourself additional stress. While short-term bouts of stress are considered manageable, long-term stress IS unhealthy.
The Impact of Stress
Stress can rear its head at any point in our lives. You may have already experienced the effects – restless nights, feeling of being over-whelmed, a headache that is similar to a tight band being wrapped around the head. But stress has a more far-reaching effect:
- Stress stops our bodies from functioning at their optimum
- Stress causes us to be short-tempered and emotional
- Stress limits our brain activity
- Stress can stop us from taking sufficient rest (sleep/breaks)
- Stress is bad for your digestion
- Stress causes tension on relationships
- Stress can cause heart attacks, strokes, rashes and other health issues
- Stress limits your ability to truly enjoy your life
Changing Your Life Change is never easy, especially when it comes to our routines. Time always seems to be against us and our workloads never seems to decrease. BUT change can be achieved. If that wasn’t the case then people would never be able to climb mountains, lose weight, quit smoking or become world champions. If we are intrinsically motivated to achieve, then we will change our lives to reach our goals. Making changes in your routine to limit stress levels will help you re-balance and recharge. Physically and mentally, you will look and feel healthier.
Let’s look at a few areas that changes can be made to improve the work-life balance and decrease stress levels.
- Acknowledge that you can only complete a certain amount of work in a working day and also that surplus work is overwork.
- Understand that your family and friends need you and that you need them – this is time when you can switch off and shake off the day.
- Stop reprimanding yourself for leisurely activities during non-working hours. This is YOUR time, not your companys.
- Plan your day with a planner and stick to it. Postpone what won’t fit that day. Build downtime into this schedule.
- Legally, you are entitled to take regular breaks away from your desk (PC, Phone). Turn the phone on silent and take yourself somewhere where you can sit and enjoy a drink and/or snack.
- Ensure you stop for lunch and leave your desk. At least 30 minutes, so that you can eat slowly and digest your food.
- Don’t check emails after hours and don’t answer work calls unless they are emergencies.
- Don’t bring work home unless absolutely necessary. • Spend at least eight hours sleeping, to allow your body to heal itself.
- Carry out activities that boost your energy levels like running, sports or dance. Drop activities that sap your energy.
- Eat little and often – healthy foods and drink plenty of water. As a guideline – 2 litres per day.
The Role of a Chiropractor to Maintain Work-Life Balance
Visiting a Chiropractor is a relaxing experience and people agree that after a Chiropractic session they feel healthier and less stressed. Being a Chiropractor myself means that every day I meet people who are suffering from high stress levels and I can help them by naturally re-balancing the body. It’s like a ‘service’ for the body. Our daily stresses can impact our body negatively, which in turn may impact our health, and a Chiropractic adjustment can help to correct any of these stresses on our body and allow us to better adapt to the next stressful event in our life.