As the New Year approaches, many of us are reflecting on the year behind us – what went well, what didn’t, and what we can improve next year. Of course, many of us are focusing on our health, including exercising more and losing weight, but another common theme is finding time for the important things in life. In other words, finding a better balance between our work and our lives.
We’ve put together 15 tips to help you find the right balance for your life in the New Year:
- Schedule time for the special people in your life. This could be planning a weekly date night with your partner, scheduling a monthly lunch with your girlfriends, or setting a standing pizza night with your kids every Friday night. Put it on your calendar and block out that time no matter what. This gives you something to look forward to, and it helps those people see they are a priority.
- Start your day off with a little “me” time. Before your busy day gets started, take time for yourself, whether it is 20 minutes or 2 hours. Meditate, do yoga, go for a swim or a run, or take time to quietly center yourself to tackle the day ahead.
- Make time for healthy meals. Whenever possible, make time to eat healthfully, starting with a good breakfast like an egg white omelet with your favorite vegetables and a fruit smoothie with kale. Eating healthy foods gives us the energy we need to get through our day, and when we share those meals with people we care about, we are further rejuvenated.
- Eliminate tasks and activities that drain you. Do you get lost in the vortex of social media, or stuck listening to office gossip you’d rather not hear? Or maybe you just aren’t able to say “no” to helping your friend with a volunteer project that doesn’t spark your interest. If these activities and conversations do not add value to your life, consider eliminating them. It is OK to stay “no.” Make it a habit.
- Keep moving. Exercise is the best way to refresh and restore your mind and body. Even if you only have 10 extra minutes a day, find a way to keep your body moving. Walk up and down the stairs at the clinic on your break, circle the building on your lunch hour, or join friends for the newest cycling class at the local gym. Stuck at a desk all day? Make sure you get up once an hour to stretch.
- De-stress through creativity. Creative projects are a great way to release stress. Try drawing, painting, writing, coloring or another activity to find a creative outlet that helps you release stress and express feelings in a healthy way.
- Make time to relax every day. What’s your favorite way to relax? Going for a walk? Reading a book? Chatting with your spouse? Playing with your kids? Taking a bubble bath? Identify a few activities that help you unwind after a long day and make time for one of those activities every single day. Put it on your schedule to make sure it doesn’t get overlooked.
- Use technology to your advantage, Jacquelyn Smith of Forbes. Technology can be a great resource for planning, synching schedules with your family, and scheduling down time. Don’t let technology overwhelm you though. Make time to turn technology off, so it doesn’t interrupt your rest and relaxation time.
- Leave work at work, says Mayo Clinic. This isn’t always possible, especially in the health care profession, but it is good to escape from work when you can by separating work time from personal time. Try scheduling time at the end of your day to return phone calls, follow-up on emails, consult with colleagues, etc. before you head home. This will allow you to mentally separate yourself from work, knowing that you’ve wrapped up loose ends. It will also help you start fresh when you return to work the next day.
- Lean on your support system when you need to, another great tip from Mayo Clinic. On the days when you can’t seem to do it all, or can’t be in two places at once, count on your work and home support systems. Ask co-workers to help out when you’re feeling overwhelmed or need to check on a crisis at home. Reach out to family members and friends if you need help at home while you’re working or traveling on business.
- Reassess your friends and support system. Following up on #10, sometimes we need to take another look at those we count on. Do you have others in your life that are helpful or hurtful to your journey in life? If you discover there are people that are “taking the life out of you,” they probably are not helping your work-life balance or your positive attitude. Make decisions and active changes about who and what you want to surround you and how you use your extra time. If you want a different kind of person in your life, go where they are, and it will fill you with energy and assist you in building the life that you want.
- Get sufficient sleep. A well-rested person accomplishes so much more and at a higher level than someone who is sleep deprived. Practice good sleeping habits by going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, even on weekends. A nutritious diet and regular exercise will also support good sleep habits. On those crazy-busy days, sneak in a 15- to 20-minute nap to help restore you.
- Manage your time efficiently. This applies to both your work and your home lives. Batch work activities like returning phone calls and checking emails, group errands together, and track your time periodically to see where you are spending the most time. Are there activities you can eliminate or delegate?
- Identify daily goals. A key part of improving your work-life balance is setting and achieving goals. By identifying goals on a daily basis, and checking off when they are completed, you develop an internal self-esteem builder that helps to remind you that you can do what you set out to do in a timely manner. It is also helpful in breaking large projects that are daunting into smaller steps so you can reflect each day and know that you are moving forward and that it doesn’t have to all be done in one day!
- Keep a positive attitude. We all know this, right? But it can be challenging to do and is so helpful in keeping your work-life balance as you have an attitude that it will all be OK and that tomorrow is another day where you can have another opportunity to go into the world spreading helpful and positive thoughts for others as well as yourself. It keeps the balance between positive and negative energy that bombard us.
These are only 15 of the many ways to help you achieve a better work-life balance. Which of these tips will you try in 2016? Are there others we should add to the list? We’d love to hear from you!
Happy New Year from the MyHealthRecruiter.com team!
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