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The Importance of Work-Life Balance

September 2019

Updated June 2020 for work-life balance during the COVID pandemic!

It’s the month of September, which typically means children are back to school, after-school sports and activities resume, the roads are little more crowded during the commute, the days seemingly get shorter with decreasing sunlight, and people start making plans for the holidays. All of this—and more—may contribute toward an increase of stress and anxiety.

To help maintain your sanity at work during this stressful time and throughout the entire year, it’s important to practice work-life balance. That’s why, we’re encouraging employees to share tips that help them maintain control of their personal and professional lives. Below are some additional ideas from the Mayo Clinic. What would you add to the list?

Make a list. Put family events on a weekly calendar, and keep a daily to-do list at home and at work. Having a plan helps you maintain focus. When you don't have a plan, it's easy to be sucked into the plans and priorities of others. Don't have any plans? Trying to maintain social distancing? Schedule your workouts for the week or meal prep!

Eat a healthy diet. The Mediterranean diet — which emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables and lean protein — enhances the ability to retain knowledge as well as stamina and well-being. Although it's tempting, try not to rely on comfort foods for every meal; it may feel good in the moment, but balance is important too. 

Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep increases stress. It's also important to avoid using personal electronic devices, such as tablets, just before bedtime. The blue light emitted by these devices decreases your level of melatonin, the hormone associated with sleep.

Volunteer. It's important not to over-schedule yourself. But research indicates that volunteering can contribute to a greater sense of work-life balance. Selective volunteering might lower your levels of burnout and stress and boost your emotional and social well-being. This may be especially hard during the COVID pandemic, but research ways you can volunteer virtually, or look into volunteering for community food deliver programs to the elderly or dog walking. Additionally, make time to clean out your closets, basements, or attics and donate. 

Bolster your support system. At work, join forces with co-workers who can cover for you — and vice versa — when family conflicts arise. At home, enlist trusted friends and loved ones to pitch in with child care or household responsibilities when you need to work overtime or travel.

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