It doesn’t take much to tip the scales of life, sometimes in the wrong direction for health. But if you can make some subtle changes each day you can achieve a healthier lifestyle. A healthy balance leads to better quality and quantity of life.
#1 Reduce Sitting Time
If you work in a sedentary job or spend much of your leisure time on the lounge, chances are you’re sitting too much. Sitting or lying for too many hours per day increases the risk of chronic disease and poor mental health. By standing and moving more throughout the day, you’re lowering your risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, depression and anxiety. Sitting 8 to 11 hours per day puts you at high risk and more than 11 hours of sitting is considered very high risk.
#2 Stick to Work Hours
Many Australian workers will tell you they’re working longer hours than they did pre-pandemic. There’s a variety of reasons why this may be the case. Many employees are working from home part or all of the week. The time they would have spent commuting and chatting to colleagues in the lunch room is now spent working so they’re clocking up more work hours in front of the screen.
Some industries have experienced a boom during the pandemic or on-hold services started to resume. Organisations haven’t been able to find more staff to handle the workload so existing staff are required to do more which often leads to paid or unpaid overtime. Starting early or finishing late a few days per week can cause stress and take a physical and mental toll.
If you find yourself working more, decide what your work hours are and try to stick to them. If you work flexible hours, try to set aside at least one full day per week to rest and spend time doing things you enjoy.
#3 Don’t Skimp on Exercise
When life gets busy, exercise is often one of the first things people give up. However, it’s important to keep it going. Even if you only have 15 minutes to spare, a brisk walk around the block or some stretching can make all the difference. Exercise is a natural stress reliever and is great for clearing your head during your lunch break so you’re ready to tackle your afternoon workload.
If you find yourself skipping your exercise, try to make a set time in your diary and make sure you keep your appointment!
#4 Take a Break from Work
More than half of Australians with annual leave entitlements don’t use all their leave each year. Most blamed being too busy and having too much to do at work as the reason for not taking holidays, but these are the reasons why we should take a break. Annual leave allows you time to de-stress, enjoy life and spend quality time with loved ones.
If you’re part of the one third of the Australian workforce that doesn’t have paid holiday leave, make sure you set money and time aside to take a break at least once a year. Not taking a break can lead to burn out and feeling like you're working all the time. Don’t put it off, send your application for holiday leave today and do yourself and your organisation a favour.
#5 Do Something Fun for Yourself
When life gets busy, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Soon we feel like all we do is work, house chores and run around after the kids. Spend some time at the beginning of each month thinking about the things you enjoy doing then book them into your busy schedule. It could be as simple as waking up half an hour earlier before work to get breakfast and read a book, scheduling a movie night or booking in a weekend spa treatment. If you don’t make the time to plan time for yourself, you might look back on the last six months and realise your self-care has been lacking.
#6 Speak to your Manager
If you find you’re working long hours or you’re stressed about the volume of work you have on your plate, make time to speak to your manager. Sometimes we might feel like it is hard to speak up or ask for help. But if we don’t, our manager might not be aware of the extra time you’ve been putting in. Explain the situation and perhaps have some solutions in mind such as delegating or deleting some of your workload.
#7 Get Organised and Plan your Meals
When life gets busy, many people turn to take away or processed foods to save time and effort. Before long, they’re eating convenience foods for most of the week’s lunches and dinners. The bad habit can cause excess kilos, leaving you feeling sluggish and guilty about not preparing nutritious meals. Try to free up some time on the weekend or one evening to plan your week’s meals and do the shopping. The AltiusLife app has over 1,000 healthy recipes if you’re looking for inspiration. If you have a few extra hours, you could cook some meals in advance and freeze them for the busy days that you’re most likely to turn to take-away.
Many people swear by the power of meditation to help calm their mind and reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed. Meditation has physical and mental health benefits. Research shows meditation makes physical changes in the brain that can:
- Slow the cognitive effects of ageing
- Support the immune system
- Improve sleep
- Control the brain’s response to pain
- Increase the ability to process information
There are plenty of apps, online information and videos that can help you get started with meditation.
#9 Prioritise your Time
Even when we’re flat-out and think we’re doing everything we can to get through the to-do list, chances are we could improve the situation by prioritising our time. We often do the tasks we enjoy the most and procrastinate on the ones that are more important and time critical. Put time aside for these tasks, even write yourself a list of the three most important tasks to complete for the day, you may be able to enjoy a more balanced, less stressed life.
#10 Make Time for Family and Friends
It’s easy to think you don’t have time to organise a catch-up or invite people over but nurturing personal relationships is important. Socialising is enjoyable and a night out or night in (via zoom) can make you feel like you have some work life balance.
Socialising has been found to improve mental health, possibly reduce the risk of dementia, and give the immune system a boost.
Altius Group's Workplace Wellbeing Program can help your employees achieve a better balance in their lives. Call us on 1800 258 487 or get in contact online.