Five Tips to Help Women Achieve Better Work-Life Balance
For many female professionals today - of any age - work and home life have blended significantly. Gone are the days when most workers punched out at the end of their shift and went home to relax for the evening. However, it is still important to balance your work life and home life. Not only is it important to give your mind and body a break, you also need to have relationships with your family and friends outside of work. If you’re having difficulty deciding where to draw the line between home and work or if you feel one is imposing on the other, here are five tips to strike a balance between your work and home lives.
1. Take Care of Yourself - Staying in shape by exercising and eating right will help you better manage your stress, whether at home or at work. The exercise will help you use up the excess energy that comes from stress. Eating right and staying in shape allows your body to move through the day by carrying the stress, without it taking its toll on your body in the forms of aches or indigestion. As well, getting enough sleep and sticking to a morning and evening routine will help you prepare for your day in a low-stress way and allow you to wind down each night so you can sleep.
2. Limit Home Work, Telecommute When Possible - Bring work home if you have to, but make it perhaps only an hour’s worth so you can be home when you’re home, and work when you’re at work. On the flip-side, however, working from home by telecommuting can help you reduce stress by eliminating your busy morning routine as well as your daily commute. Plus, working from home can make you available for non-work responsibilities such as picking up kids from school, taking care of pets, and handling personal business that can only be done during work hours.
3. Unplug from Electronics - Most working professionals spend a fair amount of their work time using a computer or other electronic devices such as phones, copiers, and cash registers to do their jobs. So when you come home, in order to feel like you’ve left work behind for a little while, unplug from your electronics. Unplugging from electronics will not only give your mind a break, but also allow you to have conversations - and build relationships - with your family members, roommates, or neighbors who may usually see you with a device in front of your face.
4. Schedule a Regular “Fun” Night - One night a week, plan to do something fun with your family, children, spouse, roommate, or friend. For example, plan on Thursday night to be “movie night.” This will give your loved ones some time to look forward to spending with you when work is not occupying your mind. A weekly fun night will also give you a reason to give some attention to those you love and help you forget about work for a while. Plus, you’ll have something interesting to talk about with your coworkers when you return to work the next day!
5. Work on a Schedule or Use Flex Time - Try leaving work at the same time every day as part of your daily schedule. If those at home can reasonably know when to expect you home each day, their stress will be lessened, and you will be showing then you’re making an effort to spend a little less time at work and a little more time at home. Another schedule adjustment you can make - if your employer allows it - is to use flex time. With flex time, you may be able to take Mom to her doctor appointment before reporting for work or to attend that school concert but still get to work in time for your important meeting.
However, you choose to balance your work and home life, remember that it is important for your mental and physical health and for the sake of the people (and pets) in your life who depend on you to be there for them. You’ll find that you and they will be happier and healthier in the long run and you may even work smarter as a result!
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