As with any form of exercise, the most important stage occurs when we rest. Restoring your energy supplies is vital so that we may progress. However, this is applicable to any type of work, our work-lives included. Whether your job requires mental, physical or emotional energy, the way you bounce back to prepare yourself for the next day is by resting. While you may be able to get away with a goodnights sleep, sometimes we need to give ourselves a bit of extra attention to uphold our mental energy in order to maintain a sustainable work-life balance. Indeed, resting requires more than just resting your body, our minds also need equal attention, if not more, to help replenish our energy supplies.
This post takes a look at the various ways you can rest and offers many tips to help you tackle your work-life balance to make sure that you can keep moving forwards sustainably.
Benefits of Taking a Break
Along with those digital detoxes, taking periodic breaks daily to focus on yourself is incredibly important to help re-focus your attention and recharge your energy. Indeed, work can be demanding sometimes and if you are grinding away hour after hour, chances are this toil may be costing you more than productivity. While keeping up the grind may seem fruitful, it can negatively impact your long-term performance and mental health.
Taking a moment to recharge alone gives you time to reflect on yourself and understand why you are feeling the way you are. This short pause can actually help reboot your brain to be more tuned in. It allows you time to come up with other ideas or solutions to what you are working on.
Key signs you need a Break:
- Changing eating habits
- Issues with Concentrating
- Lack of Energy
- Headaches OR Stomach-aches
- Lack of mental clarity
- Sleeping issues
- Withdrawing from social settings (e.g friends, family or colleagues)
Whether you are opting for a short break by taking the afternoon off or you are going on holiday there are many benefits that getting some physical or mental space from the demands that life can bring. The Benefits of taking a Break includes:
- Reducing stress– We become stressed for a wide range of reasons, however when it is your environment that is making you stressed in the first place, remaining within this environment can be overwhelming. Removing yourself from the issue until you’re ready to return is the first step to feeling better long term.
- Resting and restoring energy levels– By taking a break you give yourself time to restore yourself both mentally and physically so that you may progress towards a healthier place.
- Mental Clarity– Chronically triggered stress has the ability to affect us in many ways such as decreasing our creativity and also causing memory problems.
- Increased Productivity– This has the ability to give you more energy in the other areas of your life such as being more available for your friendships and relationships, being more vivacious and increases your ability to enjoy life after you return from a break.
Ways to combat an Unhealthy Work-Life Balance:
- Remote Working?
It is important to set boundaries. While the initial transition to remote working meant that many individuals saved themselves time from the commute, this time-saver came at a price. Working where we live had made it easier for our work-lives to mesh with our personal lives.
Indeed, this provided many benefits, however its drawbacks were not as upfront. Without clear set distinctions between our homes and the office it lead to a rise in many picking up their phones and checking emails off the clock. As a result, many found that allowing the office to creep into our homes led to:
- Droughts of motivation;
- Unintentionally longer working hours; and
- Finding it harder to escape work and relax.
Ways to address Remote-Working Issues:
- Get out the house at least ONCE per day– Trekking outside is vital not just for our bodies by keeping us active but it is also beneficial for our mental wellbeing by catching the well-needed Sunlight which is good for our eyes, skin and helps regulate our mood and sleeping patterns.
- Set Boundaries– If at all possible, set aside a space that is designated specifically for work, whether it is a spare bedroom, a make-shift office or even a local coffee shop.
- Do not work in your bedroom (if possible): There is no better place to getaway from work than having a kip. However, regardless of your occupation, it is likely that the first thing you want when you start your day is not going to be your office desk and the work you need to do for the day/week. Though it may be tempting to perform your daily tasks from bed, this is not a sustainable lifestyle and encourages other bad habits to form which can result in you getting overwhelmed as you aren’t able to escape work even when you’re not working.
- Plan your breaks: taking a break requires more than just scrolling through your phone or fixing yourself some lunch, Do something you enjoy! This offers you something to look forwards to and motivates your through your day. On the other-hand, sometimes it can be beneficial to be spontaneous to offset the feelings of monotony that sometimes comes with an unsustainable work-life balance.
- Take breaks: Whether or not these are planned, go see a friend, go for a run/walk. It is easy to convince yourself that a piece of work is smaller than we think or that we don’t have time to take a break. This persistent mindset often plays tricks on our productivity. While it may seem like having time off for a break will reduce the amount of time we have to perform the task at hand, by taking time for ourselves we will be rewarded with higher productivity. As results, we will be able to perform the task faster and better than working over one long period.
- Clean office, Clean mind: Trying to keep our working environments makes it easier on ourselves in the long run and helps with the general running from our day-to-day tasks and organisation.
Working from the Office? If you still have to travel to work, although you may have a clear distinction between your personal life and your employment, there are still many things that may cause issues further down the line.
The Commute: When taking the same route to and from work it often becomes tempting to find the fastest route and only ever take this route as it takes up the shortest amount of time. However taking the same route everyday can also lead to a monotonous lifestyle which drives our desire and pressure to go on holiday in order to break this cycle temporarily. As such it is important to address these issue before they get too big and there are many things we can do:
- Pre-work activities– Going to the gym or a cafe before work is a great way to break the monotony. Change how you get to work (e.g walking, cycling, changing the route).
- Post-work activities– This includes Anything that helps break up your days in the week. Socialising with colleagues, Meet up with friends, Make yourself special meal, Treat yourself, Gym and Exercise classes, Go for a walk. The list is as long as you want it to be.
- Take a break on your route– the fastest route is not always the best. Why not slow it down? Take a rest en-route, take some pictures. Make the most of the journey.
Types of Breaks:
As mentioned, there is more than one way to restore our energy as we require different types of energy depending on the task we have at hand. However, if we are running low on mental fuel this this has the ability to impact our other types of energy. While the options for resting are endless, you should try to engage in things that give you a sense of joy and comfort. As such, this may vary depending on who you are as a person. Though, as seen below, there are various ways we can take a break.
Your social needs may be met if you work in a place or the office which involves interacting with clients. On the other hand, this need may not be met when working remotely and you may be able to conclude a working day without seeing anyone. In such circumstances it is important to make an effort to socialising. This may involve going to a fitness class or a club where you can meet people, catching up with friend or family. Even if it is just going out in public to go shopping or walking in a park and seeing other people running their errands. Getting outside and seeing people is vital to offset feelings of isolation and over-convenience.
If you’re sat at a desk for a majority of the week, you need to ensure that you make up for lost activity and keep your body moving when you can.
If you’re job involves standing on your feet and active work, giving your body a break to ensure appropriate recovery time is satisfied so that you can keep going. This can be anything from engaging in exercise, resting your body.
- Read a book
- Venture to the Countryside or the Outdoors
- Audio therapy- This can range from listening to your favourite music, listening to natural sounds such as running water, the sea, birdsong. Anything that helps relax you.
- Have a bath
- Self-care treatment