How has your career affected the rest of your life? Are you happy when you go home and ready to connect with your family? The answers to those questions usually lie in your personal, work-life balance. The ability to manage your job duties with other aspects of your life such as health, hobbies, and family can have a large impact on your success and overall sense of fulfillment. People tend to feel discontent or stress when even one area of their work-life balance is off. Some common work-life balance conflicts my clients have experienced are: hating their job and feeling unhappy in other areas of their life, being physically unhealthy so they have no energy when it’s time to work, and not knowing what their ideal career is so they feel lost or on the wrong path.
Working with a career coach can help you find the position you want and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Do you want to go into an office or work from home? Would you like to work 40 hours a week or less? How would your work environment affect your health, family, and wellbeing? It’s important to consider many factors when thinking about the lifestyle you want to create. Regardless of where you are currently with work-life balance, here are 3 keys to a happy lifestyle!
1. Take regular breaks– Many people push through tasks when they are feeling drained and have no energy. This is actually one of the worst things you can do. Your performance is influenced by how you feel and your environment. Depending on your level of concentration, the amount of time before you need to take a break can vary. One recent study showed that the most productive workers worked for 52 minutes and then took a break for 17 minutes. Whenever you decide to take a break, consider moving around. You can try standing, stretching, or walking around to change your scenery.
2. Manage your stress- Are you working in a stressful environment? If you can’t easily find what you’re looking for without navigating around piles of clutter, then it would be wise to clean up. If you allow the emotions of other people and outside circumstances to affect how you feel on the job, odds are you taking that mood home with you. Only focus on the projects that you can control and let everything else go. Practice leaving work at the office. Don’t check work emails or take calls if it isn’t an emergency. If you are a salaried employee and are expected to be available “after hours” then set one time to check email and stick to it. The idea is to not be constantly preoccupied with your job.
3. Use your vacation time- According to an Oxford Economics assessment in 2014, Americans are leaving about 429 million unused vacation days a year! Many employees are afraid that using their vacation time will result in a large workload when they return or give the impression that they aren’t dedicated to their job. Taking days off can help improve your productivity and your overall level of happiness. Health Ambition has a great article on taking productive, active rest days. Stockpiling vacation days can be beneficial if you are planning for a long trip but if you don’t have anything specific in mind, treat yourself to a day focused on the things you enjoy. Your mind and body will thank you for the break.
Do you currently have the lifestyle you want? If not, I encourage you to think about your work-life balance. How much you work and what your career is can have a big effect on your finances and stress levels. Taking regular breaks, managing your stress, and using your vacation days can affect your mood and happiness. What is one thing that you will commit to in order to improve your work-life balance?
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