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Work/Life Balance: How is yours?

Work/Life Balance: How is yours?

Work/Life Balance: How is yours?

Here is a fact you could probably do without: By some estimates, the average American will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. Maybe that is why so many people end up pouring most of their energy into their jobs. That leaves very little room for family, friends, exercise, or personal time. If every time you hear the term “work/life balance” you tune out, maybe you are missing some good ideas on how to live your whole life, instead of just one part of it.

Here are some useful tips on achieving work/life balance:

  • Schedule your family time. You go to work every day on schedule, so why shouldn’t you show up for your family regularly, as well? Spending time with people you love can reduce anxiety and help you recharge. Simply not focusing your thoughts on work for a while often contributes to greater balance.
  • Have some fun. That may sound pretty basic, but one thing that often goes by the wayside when you are obsessed with work is fun. You may be surprised to hear that there is actual research that shows that having fun improves creativity, strengthens communication with others and produces positive physiological changes in your body. Combine fun with exercise and your mind and body will thank you.
  • Laugh. Laughing can help you in many ways. Some therapists incorporate humor events and laughing into treatment for emotional disorders, depression and anxiety. Can a good laugh take the place of anti-depressant drugs? Probably not for everybody, but the evidence shows that therapeutic laughter protocols reduce stress, anxiety and often blood pressure.
  • Reevaluate your approach to work. Some people who become overwhelmed with their jobs impose some of the pressure on themselves. Maybe you do not have to always be the first one in in the morning and the last to leave. Is it really so important to constantly impress the boss? Good work often speaks for itself, so perhaps you should stop pushing so hard, and devote some of that energy to other parts of your life that you may be neglecting.
  • Get a handle on your finances. Almost nothing can keep you off balance more than worrying about money. When you start participating in your own financial health, you may just feel much more in control of other aspects of your life, as well. Know what your fixed expenses are. Know how your 401(k) or other investment tools are performing. If you need help, consult with a financial advisor, but staying in the dark about your own finances can be a deal killer when we are thinking about work/life balance.
  • Prioritize your life. A good exercise for everyone is to think through and write down your priorities. If your family is your priority and you don’t have much time to spend with them, that is an imbalance that you may be able to neutralize with good planning. If your avocation or your hobby is important to you, but you just never quite get around to it, maybe you need to schedule your time for that, too. Prioritizing your life is a personal endeavor, but sometimes it helps to discuss the process with someone you trust. Talking about your priorities and writing them down is a good step toward making a commitment to finding balance your life.

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