Seven Small Steps That Make Big Changes In Your Work-Life Balance

Have you ever stayed up late on a Friday night after work with no actual plans, but just because you could? Subsequently, leading you to either a groggy Saturday morning coffee or sleep in – or both? Pushing the same cycle forward to Sunday when you finish the weekly household chores in a rushed rhythm, and go to bed wondering why your weekend is so short and your work week so long? An increasing number of employees report staying up late on weekends despite having no plans – act psychologists say gives them a sense of control. It’s also stemmed from the fact that often dealing with work-life leaves little time for employees to be themselves outside of it. 

While some may not push their sleep limits though, a sadly large number of employees in the corporate sector today face some other or multiple dimensions of burnout, which commonly causes feelings of inefficacy, prolonged exhaustion, and cynicism. No matter what you do or who you are, we all need to learn to relax. Knowing when to stop can be a skill that you have to keep working at for a long time, but working on your wellbeing is always worth it. Let’s draw attention to six steps that can help to inspire you to make small changes every day and change your outlook on life.

So, What is A ‘Burnout’?

The term first appeared in the book A Burnt-Out Case (1961) by Graham Greene, which follows a wildly successful architect in the 1950s. Despite his celebrity status at work, he feels perpetually exhausted and unhappy and therefore quits his job, subsequently moving to present-day Congo. In Congo, the doctor diagnosing his feelings of unfulfillment describes them as a psychological equivalent for burnout, referring to cases of leprosy that have gone through full mutilation. Thereon, the term evolved – seemingly gaining large traction in the last decade – to be a popular way that employees describe the feeling of fiery passion they had for their work fade over time. While several firms worldwide have taken steps to acknowledge and battle burnout, the process to change the corporate sector’s treatment of human resources is a slow one, and recent studies concluded that at least 36% of Brits still reported feeling depression or anxiety because of their career. 

Everyone has someone in their life that is constantly too busy to do anything; and if you don’t have one, you’re that someone. We all go through periods where we feel like we can’t fit anything else into the day except for work, work, WORK. Finding the time to be with others you care for, do the things you enjoy and even spend time working on yourself; these are all crucial to the wellbeing of a person. Luckily, with research and time, many methods proven to battle the anxieties and lows that come with burnout have surfaced. We have compiled a list of seven small changes and habits an individual can inculcate that will make significant differences.

Don’t Work After Work!

It’s so frustrating when the clock chimes 5 pm and your colleagues start filling out, but you have a little bit more work to get done. The temptation to just finish that or edit this can feel productive and good at the time, but before you know it, it’s 8 pm, and you’re still at work tying loose ends. This can come from feeling like you aren’t working hard enough at your job and can be a way to prove to yourself that you are worthy of this employment. However, by letting yourself work beyond your working hours, you mess with your routine meaning it will become much harder for your brain to switch into “home” mode when it’s 5 pm. To remedy this, make sure you plan your day well to ensure that you aren’t working until the last second. If this isn’t possible, at the end of the day, try to finish at a convenient point in the work and detail in note form what needs to be completed tomorrow morning.

Go To Nature 

Working can be hard, stressful, and sometimes even an unhappy environment depending on your situation. It’s important to give yourself a space where you can be yourself without the worry of completing work or finishing a deadline. Most employees in the corporate sector experiencing burnout have a common trait: the constant demands of work-life and the fast pace of modern living leave them out of touch from nature. 

Science tells us – as do our bodies – that just a small stroll in the garden barefoot have pain-reducing and stress-relieving effects! Scheduling such short strolls between meetings or major tasks in nearby office parks can increase productivity and alleviate your mood easily. You can also find a quiet and beautiful place to spend some time after work to help you ease your nerves and distract from negative thoughts, feel more peaceful and relaxed.

Bring Nature In! 

Plants don’t only look beautiful, but also circulate oxygen, help to reduce stress levels and increase productivity. They can help to enhance concentration, improve wellbeing, and employee engagement with their work, both cognitively and emotionally.

Research has continually shown the benefits of natural products, and nature remains unparalleled for our very naturally made bodies. Studies conducted by the Journal of Physiological Anthropology proved that having greenery around employees was a mood booster and that plants in the office reduced chances of sickness by removing the toxins from the air. This can be a perfect substitute for all those who do not get an opportunity between work to get fresh air.

Make sure to place a few plants at your desk, keep the shades and windows open to let in the fresh air and outside world. If you don’t have windows near your workplace or can’t see anything natural, consider installing a picture of nature as your desktop wallpaper and keep photos of it nearby to stimulate a better mood, be more productive, happier, and calmer.

Sleep Well 

While sleep is scheduled to take a third of our lifetime, it remains possibly the most neglected part of our routine. Not only does it rejuvenate the body but also, a good night’s sleep keeps us more focused and therefore helps us perform better in our daily tasks. This is why having trouble sleeping is concerning and definitely unpleasant. 

However, an increasing number of individuals have started experiencing disruptions in their sleep cycle that leads to morning grogginess in the short run and can cause chronic illnesses as well as memory problems in the long term. Modern medicine has recognised the power of natural plant-based products, particularly cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants. It has gained the interest of many in the pharmaceutical industry as a natural replacement to many drugs used to battle sleep and anxiety disorders due to its non-addictive nature and it’s natural ability to target serotonin, a neurotransmitter. Low serotonin is linked to depression and anxiety, and therefore CBD oil is becoming an increasingly preferred supplement to traditional pharmaceuticals that are often harsh on our body. For the takeout lover, it can be simply sprinkled onto food or consumed directly from the mouth. 

Rethink That Coffee 

Sleeping well is not enough… almost! Although you got used to resorting for help to a cup of refreshing coffee, after the quick boost, your energy usually decreases. This makes you consider the opportunity of drinking another warm cup of joe for an immediate performance burst. However, consuming too much caffeine isn’t good for your health as it’s addicting, can irritate the bowels, and increases heart rate and blood pressure, leaving you shaky and nervous.

If you are a sufferer from anxiety or find yourself getting the jitters through a morning meeting at the cost of staying up, you may want to switch up your daily morning coffee with a more gentle brew that avoids the inevitable energy drop when you leave work. A great idea to consume caffeine in moderate or drink fruit-infused water, tea, or hot chocolate, which have less caffeine per serving.

Consume Natural Supplements

Feeling constantly hungry, tired, and digestion issues can all be signs that your diet is not keeping you well-nourished. The decreasing nutritional value of soil and ultimately our food, has pushed humans to adapt their diet. However, deficiencies are common and manifest as focus, memory, stamina, immunity related issues, and more effort towards providing people with a substitute to all these natural nutrients is continuously made. We suggest using plant-based supplements that are organically grown. 

Incorporating specific products into your diet may strengthen a person’s immune response, which results in a robust immune system that helps to keep a person healthy and energised. Consider refraining from sugary and junk food and sticking to healthier options. Try to maintain a more well-balanced diet by incorporating beneficial fruits and vegetables to your nutrition plan such as blueberries, ginger, broccoli, spinach, and others.

Furthermore, good habits like consuming natural supplements and quitting smoking and excessive alcohol are essential elements of a healthy lifestyle and wellness. Incorporating such changes requires a consistent and long-term approach to help strengthen the immune system and your wellness.  

Be Busy! 

The hours of 5 pm until going to sleep can feel like a long time if you don’t occupy yourself and can lead to more temptation to do work. Try to fill your evenings with activities and events you enjoy doing so you can battle burnout and take your mind off of your busy day. This could include any activity that you would enjoy doing and particularly recommend to try one outside your comfort zone like joining a club of people with the same interests as you, reading a new book or simply watching some Netflix. 

While some downtime is necessary, the perpetual feeling of exhaustion and stagnation in burnout can sometimes best be battled by finding anything meaningful that will provide you with a sense of accomplishment once completed. Starting a new hobby such as embroidery can also give you a project to complete after your working hours. Since a large population is at home these days, you can also try activities such as cooking or cleaning that can alleviate your mood by giving you a sense of satisfaction and making your surroundings better.

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