Work-Life Balance: Investing in Your Own Well-Being is Investing in Your Future

Last week we discussed how spreading the love to other businesses can benefit both your reputation and that bottom line. But it’s just as important to shift focus inward and think about our own well-being. It’s far too easy to forget about ourselves and the things we need—physically, mentally, and emotionally—in order to become the best versions of ourselves. Here are some things to consider the next time you feel your work-life balance toppling.

The Physical

Are you getting enough sleep and how are those eating habits? Did you blow off your gym class, again? We get it and we’ve been there. Work gets crazy so priorities get rearranged. You push yourself to the extreme thinking “Once this project is over, I’ll take the time I need. Only you never do. Because there’s always another project, another responsibility, and another distraction.

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But a burned-out employee, is an under-performing employee. You simply can’t put forward your best effort professionally when the thought of a quiet night’s sleep has you on the verge of tears. Finding the work-life balance is really hard, but it’s attainable, and it’s critical to your sense of well-being.

Try waking up twenty minutes earlier to squeeze in some quick cardio, gentle stretching, or meditation before a morning shower. Take a couple hours on your day off to prep some healthy easy-to-grab Tupperware meals. Unplug from those blood-sucking electronics an hour before bedtime and try reading a book or doing a puzzle instead. You’ll be amazed how much easier you drift off when your brain isn’t reacting to an LED screen full of bright images.

The Mental

When was the last time you learned something new? And solely for the reason that you wanted to, not for work purposes? Just as it’s important to nourish physical well-being, your brain could use a little TLC as well. Happy people live longer, and some of the most successful people are those who remain curious. They read compulsively, push themselves to learn new tasks, go out of their way to meet new and interesting people, and seek ways to share their knowledge with others.

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If that all sounds fine and dandy but the thought of doing so has you muttering under your breath “show offs” or “who has the time?” then try thinking small-scale investment. Maybe there’s a night class at your local community college teaching a subject that’s always interested you. Consider joining a book club, activities group, or local committee. Perhaps it’s as simple as finding a new podcast or audible book to listen to next time you’re on the treadmill or tackling that mountain of laundry. (I’m partial to Stuff You Missed In History Class and The Allusionist, as well as anything by Malcolm Gladwell, but there’s no end to interesting content!)

The Emotional

Photo by Anh Nguyen on UnsplashMore than ever, professional environments expect employees to do more with less. Additional responsibility with greater expectations. Tighter deadlines. Unbelievable pressure and stress. Despite growing cultural awareness surrounding taboo topics like anxiety and depression, we as a society still have a long way to go. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), “anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.” Though highly treatable, only 36.9% of those suffering actually receive treatment. And women are twice as likely to be affected than men. Couple that with an American workforce that laughs at the phrase work-life balance and you have a recipe for a nervous breakdown. Take care of you, okay?

You Got This

Often the hardest part about securing our own health is just finding the motivation to do so. But know that awareness and simple changes can have a really big impact on a person’s overall well-being, self-confidence, and in turn, productivity. If you approach healthy habits with a welcoming attitude, rather than thinking of them as ‘one more thing I have to do today,’ you’ll be amazed at the results. And remember, if you’re not investing in your own future, neither will anyone else.

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