Stress Awareness Day 2021: Cultivating a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Continuing our mental health blog series, this Stress Awareness Day our Mental Health First Aider Kat shares some advice how to cultivate a healthy work-life balance.
1. Set healthy boundaries
It’s important to create a boundary between your work life and your personal life. Even the most dedicated worker needs time to switch off, recharge, and focus on their own pursuits. It’s important to set these boundaries; whether that means leaving your work at the school or office, not talking about work after a certain time once you’re home or setting reminders to switch off and step away from your desk, it’s vitally important to avoid burnout in the long run.
2. Make sure you take your lunch break!
We’re all guilty of skipping our lunch breaks and working through because we’re ‘too busy’ or get too wrapped up in what we’re focussed on. But did you know that a year’s worth of lunch breaks equates to almost 6 weeks of annual leave? When you think about all the things you could do with that time, it’s easier to enforce taking them. Try reading a book or magazine, write in a journal, get some fresh air, listen to a podcast or try out a new arts & croft hobby!
3. Practice self-care
Self-care looks different for everyone, and it’s often a lot easier to say than to do – but try to block out some time at least once a day, or even once a week if that is more manageable, that is just for you. For some people, self-care might be finding the time to get active and go for a run, for some it might be having a bath or reading a book, and for others it can be something more tactile like cooking a delicious meal or even getting on top of some tasks that have been nagging at you for a while. All of these things can be a form of self-care, and you should ensure you make time to practice them and switch them up if you can: for example, don’t always just complete tasks and errands, ensure you take time to relax and unwind too!
4. Use technology to your advantage
It’s common knowledge by now that technology can sometimes be the enemy of switching off; it can keep us attached and connected to our work lives, distract us from other more nourishing activities and generally disturb our peace and wellbeing. However, when we switch the focus on how we are utilising technology and try to use it to aid our mental wellbeing rather than disturbing it, this can make a world of difference. For example, have you tried downloading wellbeing and meditation apps such as Calm or Headspace? These are brilliant as they tailor meditation exercises to combat particular situational stresses and emotions, and they also help you get a great night’s sleep with their sleep exercises. There are also some brilliant free resources on YouTube that can be utilised to promote wellbeing, such as free yoga, meditation, and workout videos to get you moving and release some endorphins. Or, if you find it difficult to stay off your phone and disconnect in general, try using the app Forest which rewards you for time spent not looking at your phone by planting trees, giving you an eco-friendly boost every time you resist scrolling or checking your emails!