Empowering Women's Health: Strategies for Achieving Work-Life Balance
Achieving a proper work-life balance is sometimes easier said than done. This is how to prioritise your health and balance your work with your free time.
Achieving a proper work-life balance is sometimes easier said than done. This is how to prioritise your health and balance your work with your free time
Research shows that only 31% of UK-based women feel that they have a good work-life balance. That's down from 71% before the pandemic.
Maintaining a successful work-life balance is important for the sake of both a healthy lifestyle and career advancement. But striking that healthy balance can be a challenge.
Here are the key steps to managing your professional life alongside your health, wellness, and free time.
1. Recognise that "Balance" Looks Different for Everyone
The first step to cultivating a better, balanced lifestyle is realizing that your version of balance can look very different from those around you.
No one lives with the same set of circumstances you do. So why would you assume that everyone can manage work, family, health, and social life the same way? It makes no sense.
Yet our culture is one of competition. It's drilled into us from childhood that "if she can do it, then I should be able to as well". But circumstances are rarely so simple.
"Comparison is the thief of joy", as the saying goes. So rather than measure progress against your peers, strive to be a better version of yourself.
It's important to learn how to set boundaries with others, as well as yourself.
It's tempting to cave to the expectation that others set for you. But you need to learn to listen to yourself and take stock of situations when it's clear something isn't working. If you're feeling out of balance day in and day out over a sustained period, it may be time to renegotiate your duties at work or home.
2. Don't Let "Perfect" Be the Enemy of "Good"
Women probably face more day-to-day pressure today than at any point in history. There's an expectation to be the perfect mother, the perfect spouse, and the high-achieving career woman all at once while retaining the perfect physique for good measure.
No single person can do all those things. There aren't enough hours in the day. And striving to be practically perfect in every way is little more than self-sabotage.
Not only that but exerting maximum effort every moment of every day drains your energy and saps any joy you might get out of those achievements. What does a promotion at work or quality time with your family profit you when you're too exhausted and preoccupied with other matters to enjoy it?
When you set out to do a task, it's worthwhile to ask "does this need to be done flawlessly, or just done?" Most of the time you'll find it's the latter.
3. Pay Yourself First
No one benefits in the long run if you give everything you have to others and leave yourself depleted, depressed, and sick. It's counterintuitive, but you need to put your well-being first if you're going to be of any help to your work team or your family.
This extends to your physical health as well as your mental well-being. Make regular exercise a priority. Schedule it in advance and stick to a routine.
We know that keeping up with your after-work fitness goals can be a challenge. Particularly if you have to balance home and family life as well. To help you rise to the task, check out these tips on improving the quality of your after-work activities.
4. Eat Well to Live Well
Healthy eating is as important to maintaining a positive lifestyle as exercise and personal time. Relying on quick snacks and take-away every day will have a deleterious effect on both your physical and mental health.
At the same time, preparing healthy, wholesome meals can seem daunting when you're already on a time crunch. And the guilt from the occasional backslide can be harsh on your mental state as well.
It's a serious challenge. That's why, to help cut through the fog, we sat down with a professional nutritionist to see how we can make the most of daily meal planning.
5. Find Peace in Small Moments
Even as you take steps to set boundaries and manage your time more efficiently, it's hard to escape the hectic pace of modern life. That's why you need to find ways to de-stress and find peace and relaxation in the small moments of free time that life affords you.
When you think of pilates, you probably imagine the trim and fit models that grace the covers of women's health magazines. But besides being an excellent fitness tool, pilates breathing exercises can be a great way to be mindful of your body and yourself throughout the day.
Research from Harvard Medical School supports using practised breathing to help manage stress responses. They can even help lower your heart rate and stabilise your blood pressure.
Though it may feel awkward at first, breathing techniques feel will natural with repeated use. With enough practice, you'll be able to enjoy their benefits even in the middle of a busy workday.
6. Use Yoga to Improve Your Productivity
Like pilates, it might seem impractical to practice yoga in the office. But it can be a great tool to improve your physical and mental well-being while boosting productivity.
That's why "desk yoga" has become so popular over the last few years. These simple techniques can help relieve tension, improve posture, and sharpen mental focus without disrupting the office environment. To get started, check out this guide to desk yoga, its benefits, and a simple routine you can do any time during the workday.
7. Make Time to Rest
Sleep is one of the first sacrifices we make to try and live up to the expectations we set for ourselves. But rather than helping us achieve our goals, that's one of the biggest acts of self-sacrifice we could commit.
Sleep deprivation can cause higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This can weaken the immune system, slow the metabolism, and cause reduced concentration and brain fog. In short, whatever time you think you're gaining by skipping a few hours of sleep each night is offset by the effects it has on your health and mental state.
Setting a non-negotiable bedtime for yourself and practising meditation and relaxation techniques to help you wind down at the end of each day is one of the best things you can do to improve your lifestyle.
Achieving a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Managing your career, social life, and wellness is no small feat. Healthy living often depends on making the most efficient use of your time possible.
Investing in personalised training is one of the best ways to maximise your efforts. One-on-one or small-group sessions with an experienced coach can help you make the fullest use of your limited time. To get started, check out these sports and well-being coaches available right now
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Tackling Employee Stress: Using Sports and Wellness Programmes as Stress Management Tools
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