Work-life balance isn’t just nice to strive for, it’s essential. You can’t just encourage others to have it. Work-life balance must be intentionally created.
Mental health is vital for a resilient workforce, and unhealthy work habits are counterproductive to stronger mental health. But what does a healthy work-life balance look like?
Set and keep boundaries
Boundaries can mean many things in an office, hybrid, or telework situation. Set boundaries by saying “not right now” to a project to maintain a doable workload, being firm about your work hours and breaks, or requesting flexibility to better fit your productivity. Blocking off time for video-meeting-free days and quiet work time are other examples.
Workspace and routine
Having a proper “workspace” is vital no matter where you do your work. Having “work specific” spaces that allow you to lock-in on tasks and walk away when you are done will help you maintain your boundaries. This can be further benefitted by a routine that helps you get ready for your day of work and wind down when it ends. An assembly of good habits, including morning exercise, a nutritious breakfast, and “dressing for the office” can contribute to a day of healthy stress management and success.
Breaks and core hours
Try to keep core hours that work well with your productivity schedule, meet the needs of your company and team, and block them off in your calendar. You can also do this with breaks, so you get a reminder when you need to step away and refresh. Consider a short walk or stretch. Leave your workspace at the end of the day, and do not let your workday consume your time after hours.
Take time outdoors
Incorporating time outside can be incredibly helpful for your mental health and productivity. Take a short walk on a break or take your lunch on a bench in the sun when weather permits. Set up a table and chairs outdoors and pull out your laptop. Getting 15 to 30 minutes of Vitamin D two to three times per week improves can improve brain function, and your mood.
Take breaks to stretch, release tension in high-stress areas of the body like the back, neck, shoulders, and jaw. Small moments like this can help you reset if you’re hitting a roadblock and helps improve circulation when sitting for long hours. In addition, being flexible with schedules can give you and your coworkers space to be human beings.
Life, and exercise needs vary from person to person, and as hybrid and telework change the way we quantify successful work, we need to increase space for people’s lives to harmonize with their work schedule.
For more everyday mental health tips for working from home, request the free Mental Health Recommendations for Teleworkers on our Twin Cities Telework website. Just fill out the short form and you have access to it, and all our work from home resources for teleworkers.