Modern life can feel overwhelming and the solution is about being strategic. It takes effort to form a healthy relationship between meeting deadlines at work, still having time to enjoy friends, family and hobbies, plus sleeping, exercising and eating well enough to feel your best. Here, we’ve compiled the best expert advice on how to achieve work-life balance to help you reach your goals, professionally and personally.
(And BTW, we have great news on the professional front! YouFit Gyms are hiring. Find out what positions are available here or scroll down for more info.)
You’ve heard it before but there’s truly magic in learning how to say one simple word: No. No!
No, I can’t help with the fundraiser.
No, I don’t want to go.
No, overtime won’t work for me this weekend. But I know this project is important, so can I come in early next week?
When you make yourself – and your own needs – a priority, your life takes on a different shape. What kind of foods make you feel your best? Write out a grocery list and stock the fridge or create a calendar of takeout choices so you don’t have to worry about meals at the last second. Then ask yourself, do you need seven, eight or nine hours of sleep at night? Whichever it is, do the backwards math to figure out a lights-out bedtime, with at least 30 minutes to wind down baked in. Read, mediate, stretch, apply lotions or practice calm breathing exercises to get your body ready for REM. The more you stick to a routine, the easier it’ll be to fall asleep. (More on this in a minute.) Instead of reacting to your life, take an active role in creating the kind of days you want more of.
Use Scheduling Hacks to Get Work Done Fast
Have you ever gotten to the end of the day and thought, I didn’t do a single thing I needed to get done today. Life is full of distractions and the workplace is no different. To avoid letting the day get away from you, try finishing each day with a prioritized to-do list that you set out on your *clean* desk. That way when you come into the office the next morning, you won’t be distracted, not by clutter and not by diving into whatever crisis pops up over night. Start your list with the hardest tasks, and limit emails and social media to 30 minute intervals: check both every half hour, devoting 10 minutes at a time, then turn it off.
Having trouble getting everything done? Ask your manager to help prioritize, or delegate if possible.
One of the very most important ways to be more productive at work might surprise you: unplug when you leave. When you spend too much time thinking about work, and doing work, in settings outside of the office, you increase your chances of burnout. Your brain needs to rest in order to work efficiently.
Create Mindful Moments.
Speaking of routines, you can use this same idea to infuse your whole day with more peace, and maybe even more meaning.
- Journal: Writing in a journal is an expert-approved way to not only vent about the day’s frustrations, but also works wonders when you apply a gratitude lens. Write down three things you’re grateful for every morning, and just see if your outlook – and your life – starts to improve. Experts say this works because journaling can help prioritize problems, fears, and concerns.
- Mediate: There’s no shortage of science-backed evidence that says mediation is good for you. The Mayo Clinic tells us that being able to quiet your mind not only relieves stress, but also retrains your brain. Start with only 5 minutes, twice a day.
- Make Everyday Chores Matter: We all have to get things done, but it doesn’t have to be miserable. Instead of grumbling through errands, stop. Slow down. None of us are as busy as we think. Relax. Think about how you would behave if you were someone with plenty of time? How would you interact with other people? What would it mean to lose time in traffic or long lines? To that end, turn on a podcast so you’re enjoying something that lifts you up while you wait.
- Prioritize Sleep. The CDC says 1 in 3 Americans don’t get enough sleep. Don’t let yourself be one of them. Set up an evening ritual for yourself that starts an hour before you need to be snoozing. Don’t talk during this timeframe. Do pour yourself a small cup of tea or warm milk. Do consider a warm shower or bath. Don’t watch any screens. Do read or journal (see above). Do use aromatherapy and a sleep mask, both of which train your body that it’s time to sleep, Pavlovian style.
Invest in Relationships
It’s so tempting to shut the world out at the end of a long day, but friends and family are more important to your health than you think. Experts at Northwestern University suggest many physical benefits of having someone in your life:
- Less stress: Being in a committed relationship is linked to less production of cortisol, a stress hormone.
- Healing: Long-term partners who have undergone heart surgery are three times more likely to survive the first three months after surgery than single patients.
- Healthier habits: If your spouse, friends or other loved ones encourage eating a healthy diet, exercising, not smoking, etc., you’re likely to follow in their footsteps. It’s a lot easier to take on healthy behaviors when you surround yourself with people who are doing the same.
- Longer life: Being in a loving relationship can give a person a sense of well-being and purpose. In fact, it’s possible that having a sense of purpose can actually add years to your life.
Speaking of adding years to your life, research suggests that having social ties can increase longevity.
Start a Fitness Routine
Going to the gym isn’t just for those who want six-pack abs. The Mayo Clinic says “Regular exercise may help ease depression and anxiety by: Releasing feel-good endorphins, natural cannabis-like brain chemicals (endogenous cannabinoids) and other natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being.” Consider joining a class to learn yoga, cycling or any other activity that sounds fun. Or talking to a trainer who can help set up a personalized routine.
Separate from working out, even the simple act of stretching your body is a game-changer. According to researchers at Colorado State University, “Stretching reduces the muscle tension, thereby reversing the cycle of tension, then tightening, and pain. Stretching has been shown to increase serotonin levels — i.e., the hormone that helps stabilize our mood, reduce stress, and overall makes us feel good — which causes a decrease in depression and anxiety.”
Whether it’s lifting weights to bulk up your biceps or stretching a tight back, most movement adds to your physical sense of peace, which is what you need to achieve work/life balance.
We Are Hiring
Speaking of fitness and work, YouFit is now hiring! We’re looking for sunny personalities who enjoy helping others for roles including:
- General Manager
- Personal Trainer
- Fitness Manager
- Member Service Specialist and more!
YouFit employees enjoy excellent benefits including: PTO, medical, dental & vision insurance, health savings accounts, 401K, Mental Health services and more.
Plus the perks are unbeatable for fitness fans: Employees receive a free Premium+ Membership complete with personalized nutrition and a subscription to YouFit On Demand featuring Les Mills workouts.