Balancing the demands of work life and home can be a major source of stress; some simple techniques can help you improve your well-being and quality of life.
Do you spend more time at work than you do at home?
In today's global workplace of advanced communications people now have the ability to work almost anywhere – from their home, their car, even while they are on vacation. Thanks to technology like cell phones, laptops, and video conferencing, many people are working longer hours than they used to and the boundary between work and personal time has blurred. But when your work life and your personal life are out of balance, your stress level can soar.
Pressures at work or at home can increase your stress level and lead to muscle tension and tightness. Squinting eyes, hunched shoulders, tight jaw, back pain, can all be symptoms of stress. Here is some good advice on how you can combat stress-related muscle tension while at work:
- Clenched jaw or grinding teeth
open your mouth as wide as you can, stretching your jaw muscles, pause, and close. Repeat 3 times, and then relax your jaw towards the ground.
- Squinting eyes
focus on an object in the distance for 10 seconds while relaxing all facial muscles.
- Hunched shoulders
raise your shoulders toward your ears, pause, and then roll your shoulders back and down towards the ground. Repeat 3 times.
- Furrowed forehead
relax all facial muscles, close your eyes, and imagine your face melting towards the ground.
It isn't easy to juggle the demands of career and personal life. For most people it's an on-going challenge. Here is some advice from the experts on how to maintain the balance:
- Protect your day off
try to schedule some of your routine chores on workdays so that your days off are more relaxing.
- Keep a log
track everything you do for one week, including work-related and non-work related activities. After you see your patterns, decide where to make adjustments, such as cutting or delegating activities you don't enjoy, or which aren't priorities.
- Manage your time
organize household tasks efficiently, for example: doing one load of laundry every day, rather than saving it all up for your day off.
- Nurture yourself
set aside some time each day for an activity you enjoy, such as reading, listening to music, or practicing a favourite sport or hobby. This will help you to decompress after a hectic day.
- Get enough sleep
there's nothing as stressful and potentially dangerous as working when you are sleep deprived. Not only is your productivity affected, but you can also make costly mistakes. You may then have to work even more hours to make up for these mistakes.
- Communicate clearly
eliminate time-consuming misunderstandings by communicating clearly and listening carefully. Take notes; write lists, etc. to keep yourself organized.
- Set aside one night each week for recreation
take the phone of the hook, turn off the computer and TV, and discover the activities that you can do with family and friends. Making time for the people and activities you enjoy will rejuvenate you.
- Bolster your support system
during times of stress it can often help just to talk about it with a trusted family member, friend or co-worker. You may also want to consider professional help such as your doctor, a psychologist or a counsellor.