Wellness Wednesday: Managing Work/Life Balance
The daily commute… I grab my coffee and race down the hallway into my home office, give the mouse a quick jiggle and suddenly I’m at work. Gone are the days of long AM highway jam sessions to segue into the working hours. Working from home has afforded me so many opportunities to improve my work/life balance – but I’ll be the first to admit that my routine could use some improvement!
Whether you’re working from home or venturing into the office, one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself is to establish transitions and boundaries around your workday. All too often I scroll Outlook while I’m still in bed or having breakfast, and by the time I “log on” I’ve already blurred my entire morning of personal time into email responses and calendar invites… I’m not the only one, right?
Here are some simple tips to help you manage your work/life balance:
ESTABLISH A MINDFUL MORNING ROUTINE
- Be mindful of having quiet time in the mornings; leave the hustle and bustle of your inbox until your working hours begin.
- Try to fit in a mental break before you start the workday – think meditation, a podcast, a workout, your favorite music, etc.
TAKE A LUNCH BREAK
- Disconnect from both email and chat for at least 30 minutes (ideally an hour) – bonus points for fresh air or a change of scenery!
BUILD MINI BREAKS INTO YOUR DAY
- Take some time mid-morning and mid-afternoon to breathe and clear your mind. Insight Timer is a fantastic free app for guided meditations! A healthy snack and a glass of water can do wonders for your brainpower.
- Set up buffer windows on your calendar to prevent back-to-back calls. 15 minutes between calls is a good rule of thumb to give yourself time to hydrate, stretch, and regroup before diving into the next one.
SET AN ALARM FOR THE END OF YOUR WORKDAY
- While it’s tempting to check email after hours, you’ll be more refreshed and ready to tackle those in the morning after some time away. Try not to form a habit of working in the evenings or late at night. Set a time to log off and stick to it!
ALLOW YOURSELF TO TAKE VACATION DAYS
- Use your PTO! You don’t have to go anywhere fancy to justify a day off; a free weekday can be beneficial even if it’s just to lounge around the house.
- Don’t check email when you have vacation days planned; block your calendar, set up your out-of-office message, and put work out of mind. Taking a true mental break is far more valuable to your overall productivity.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to take advantage of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) – a confidential resource that helps you deal with life’s challenges and the demands that come with balancing home and work. Not sure if you have one or how to access it? Contact your Human Resources team.
Ultimately, remind yourself that there are only so many hours in the day and be realistic when setting expectations for yourself. Grant yourself the time to recharge; work will still be there when it’s time to log in.
By: Lorelai Mentzer, Senior Marketing Analyst – Employee Benefits