Finding a work-life balance can be emotional, and these days, we find ourselves on a new precipice. How can we work productively either from home or back in the office without draining ourselves of precious time and energy that we’ll need later to go to the grocery store, walk our dogs, take care of our loved ones and ourselves while still waking up the next day feeling refreshed? And, how can we remove some of the emotions and stressors surrounding all of our own new, varying nine-to-five routines?
We don’t have all the answers, but we do have some advice that might help. Here are four tips to better physically and emotionally manage stress and anxiety, for the collective sake of our work—and the sake of our post-work selves.
1 Regularly filter through emails. In the face of hundreds of unread emails, science is just now seeing how much email takes a toll on more than just our time at work; it also takes a toll on our energy, too. Communication is necessary, but there’s a healthy way to balance our input and output. Reply to what you can, utilize starring or flagging emails by priority, and remember calling is always an option, especially when it may be easier to talk through the topic rather than go back and forth in lengthy email chains.
2 Establish new task management methods. For example, each Monday, we pull our weekly priorities onto a sticky note. Then, each morning, we review the project list and write out the top tasks for the day. We’ve also learned that if there’s a large project we have to complete, it’s more productive to write it out as a separate, specific task. Thoughtfully working through tasks can be immensely tiring, so giving each item its own space on our to-do lists is a practice in self-respect to ourselves and colleagues.
3 If you can, take a break. Step out for a ten-minute walk, make a cup of tea, or simply step away from your screen or workspace for a few minutes. Taking a break usually gives your brain enough mental and physical clarity to come back feeling refreshed and confident to power through the rest of the workday.
4 Take a few deep breaths before starting or going into work each day. Try starting the day with a mantra, an empowering quote, or test out the Power Posing method – whatever you need to do to begin each day with an open mind, heart, and sense of resilience. On nonstop days, we’ll practice deep breathing between meetings. It’s a helpful way to feel more present and gets us out of our mile-a-minute minds.
A self-care-focused work-life balance is one that doesn’t nag you, doesn’t keep you up at night, or detract from your most important work. It’s a lifestyle that empowers you, serves you, and moves you forward.
Cheers, fellow nine-to-fivers. We’ve got this.