Nowadays, smartphones and other mobile devices tend to forge the strongest ties between you and the office. And the ability to unplug from the daily stress of work becomes even more difficult.
Millennials in particular, more than other age groups, are the unhappiest generation when they can’t find an acceptable work-life balance. A survey by Ernst & Young’s Global Generation Research notes that nearly one-third of Millennials say that managing work and family, as well as personal responsibilities – has grown increasingly difficult over the past five years.
Employers can only do so much to facilitate this inherent need. And business owners and employees alike want to enjoy the benefits of work-life balance. Perhaps with a little creativity, you can find your own solution. It is possible to have both success AND happiness. Below are some tips to get you started on that path.
After-Work Mixing Isn’t Mandatory
You don’t have to join coworkers for drinks, dinners or social meetings at the end of the day simply because they invite you. Even if you have nothing planned, remind yourself that you can say no – even if the only reason is you want to go home and vegetate in front of the television.
Your free time is yours to do with what you want. And if being alone is what you really crave, there’s no reason you can’t have it.
Don’t Wait for the Weekend
The tendency is to plan cool things for the weekend. But who says you have to put everything on hold during the work week?
Plan at least one enjoyable activity for yourself and your family during the work week. That way you can have something to look forward to, in addition to knocking out some of the accumulated stress. You’ll feel much lighter on your feet in the office the day after your enjoyable evening activities.
Find an Excuse Not To Work Late
Sometimes at the end of a long day, you may look away from your keyboard and notice that you are surrounded by empty cubicles. You may be working later than you have to for the simple reason you don’t have anything to do at night.
If that’s the case, start finding things to do so that you have a reason to dash out of there with the rest of the pack. Join a spin class or creative writing group to get you out of work on time. Don’t stay late for no reason.
Put More Enjoyment in Your Weekends
We tend to save chores for the weekend, which means you get a bad case of the Sunday night jitters as you try to concentrate on relaxing. If you can whack some of those chores down during your evenings after work, you will have that much more time to enjoy the weekend.
So do your shopping on a Tuesday evening and plan something fun for Saturday morning.
Add More Hours to Your Day
We can only do so much within a 24-hours period. But we can do a lot more if we rise from bed at 4 AM versus 7 AM. With those extra hours you can simply read the paper and enjoy a couple of extra cups of coffee. Or maybe you can get a leap on some things you need to do at home.
Whatever you do, if you wake earlier than usual, you wont be in a rush to get to work or to get your work done.
Find Short Escapes During Busy Weeks
Have you ever thought about creating abbreviated versions of things to enjoy even during those times when you have to stay late at work? A short version of something can be better than nothing on some occasions.
Say your preference is to have a long dinner with a group of friends. Maybe work won’t permit such dining anytime soon, so why not find a possible substitute? Maybe meet one friend for a cup of coffee during your lunch break. Or if it’s a session in the gym you crave, spend your lunch taking a long walk to get your heart pumping.
Schedule Recurring Activities
Find some sort of ongoing social activity to add to your calendar. Maybe it’s a monthly book club or a weekly dinner with your college pals? This will give you a regular escape valve from the daily stress and pressure. It will also give you something to look forward to prior to the weekend.
Also, when you know you have plans for after work, don’t forget to focus on getting your work done in a timely fashion so you can leave on time. That way, your mind is free to enjoy those social activities.
Sleep Train Your Baby
When you have a newborn, chances are you’ll have even more trouble establishing balance, whether you’re single or married. Some professionals sleep train their baby in order to better enjoy their evenings at home. Meaning, they let him or her cry it out a few evenings in a row so the baby eventually learns how to comfort itself to sleep.
The practice is by no means traditional. But some who try this find that once the training concludes, they can truly enjoy their evenings home. And their baby can enjoy the benefit of being more well-rested while developing some valuable skills of it’s own. Some working parents consider sleep training the best thing they can do for themselves.
Shop Online at Work
If your office allows it, use downtime in the office to purchase whatever you can via the Internet. You’d be amazed at the essentials you can easily order with a click. You can even set up appointments with doctors, plan for the auto-shipping of diapers, toilet paper and even groceries among many other things.
Joining a program like Amazon Prime or something similar means you can benefit from free-shipping as well.
Don’t Always Feel Obligated
When we have downtime at work we sometimes feel compelled to quickly run an errand. To start reducing your average daily stress level, however, there are better things to do.
Go to a bookstore and browse or maybe find a pet shop and play with a puppy. Or you can simply find a park bench and tune out for a while. It doesn’t matter what you do. So long as it’s not something you feel you need to do. Removing the “need” means it’s for fun, relaxation and enjoyment purposes only.
Balance Image via Shutterstock
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