Most Americans are overworked and have a difficult time achieving a healthy, fulfilling work-life balance, in fact, some reports say the U.S. is the most overworked developed nation in the world. While at least 134 countries have laws that set the maximum length of the work week, there is no such law in the United States, with American working 137 more hours a year than even Japanese workers who are famous for their long working days, and 499 more hours each year than the French.
If companies want to have more productive workers, employee wellness should be a big consideration, which means they should be encouraging a better work-life balance, while incorporating wellness practices into the office environment as well. Things like opportunities for working in the fresh air outdoors, encouraging fitness, stocking the office kitchen with healthy snacks and even designating remote work days can go along way in improving wellness, but what can you as an individual do to find a more fulfilling work-life balance?
Schedule In ‘Me’ Time
Don’t feel guilty about doing things for yourself. “Me” time is a must as it allows you to recharge so that you can take care of all those responsibilities. Schedule it in just like you would anything else – it can be anything you enjoy, whether it’s going out for a run, meditating, taking a bath, reading a book or watching your favorite TV show. Don’t be tempted to put it aside when you start to get busy, consider it your No. 1 priority.
You don’t have to immediately answer every text, email or phone call. Our constantly connected world never sleeps, but our brains and our bodies need rest from all of that. Turn off your cell phone, your laptop and all of those electronic gadgets, totally cutting ties from the chaos of the modern world every once in a while. It could even be just a 30-minute break without looking at your phone, or even better a vacation where you’re disconnected so that you can mentally and physically recharge. Once you’re back you’ll feel much more energized. If you don’t get that much-needed break, you’re likely headed to burnout.
Learn To Say ‘No’
We can’t always be saying “yes” to everything. No one is perfect, and no one can do it all – trying ultimately guarantees failure. Learn how to say “no” when it’s necessary. Stop feeling guilty if you miss the occasional baby shower, soccer game or what have you. Prioritize and cut out anything in your life that isn’t necessary, doesn’t matter or is stressing you out. You’ll be lifting a big weight off your shoulders that will free you up for the more important things in life.
Develop More Interests
If you’re married to your work, spending the majority of your hours slaving away, after a while you may not even remember what outside interests you had. If it’s been so long you’ve forgotten, it’s time to think long and hard about what you enjoy doing, other than work. Schedule some time to have fun again, taking part in whatever interests you, going out dancing, taking a class, learning to play an instrument – anything that isn’t work but actually gets you excited again.
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