In today’s mobile world, people are readily available at a moment’s notice.
It’s largely why finding that all-important work-life balance is becoming more difficult.
While mobile devices may have ushered in a new age of social media and instant connection, they’ve also made it far too easy for customers or employers to reach us after hours.
This became particularly true during the pandemic.
As people started working remotely, the line between work and personal time became blurred.
Now that we’re out of the pandemic, it can be hard to disentangle the two and return to a healthy work-life separation.
Here are some tips to help you separate your work life from your personal life.
In a perfect world, people would never have to face the constant demands of an unreasonable employer.
However, we don’t live in a perfect world.
There are employers who just seem to think that their employees are their property or a resource that can be tapped anytime they need.
You’re well within your right to establish some boundaries.
You are entitled to your own time to spend with family and friends away from work.
Like many people, you have family responsibilities and demands outside of work, and you should never be made to feel as if you have to justify or explain why you’re not available.
Sit down with your employer and establish some boundaries about when you’re available and when you’re not.
This free-exchange discussion will help both you and your employer understand each other’s expectations.
Sometimes it has nothing to do with an employer or a demanding boss.
Sometimes it’s just a workaholic that just can’t separate themselves from their work.
While it’s good to be career-driven, it’s something else entirely when you find yourself consumed with work.
If you’re one of those people who can’t shut it off after hours, then it’s time to start occupying your time with non-occupation-related activities.
Block off time after work for stuff to do with family and friends.
Planning these activities ahead of time will ensure you have no choice but to enjoy yourself.
Stress can be a good thing.
It can motivate us to succeed.
It can keep us focused.
However, when that stress becomes too much that it starts to affect our mental health, then steps need to be taken to nip it in the bud.
Take a stress management course if need be.
Set aside some time just for yourself where you can disconnect from the constant demands of your job.
Managing your stress ultimately comes down to being mindful of your limitations.
If you’re someone who likes to take on additional challenges at work, then put that drive aside when your stress levels become unmanageable.
Let someone else pick up the slack for once.
Taking a break from taking on additional tasks will give you the respite you desperately need.
However, most of us don’t need to read any studies on the science of exercise.
We understand the benefits.
We know how good we feel after we exercise.
We feel better, are more alert, and are more awake.
Exercising improves your health, strengthens your heart, and builds up your self-confidence.
You can join a gym, go for a walk at lunch with colleagues or join a softball or touch football league with your friends.
There are plenty of these leagues available for all kinds of age groups.
This could easily be one of the activities you use when occupying your time.
Start small and then build up your exercise routine over time.
Set Time Off
Stress doesn’t just come from being overworked.
It doesn’t just come from taking on too many work tasks.
Sometimes it’s a combination of work and the constant demands and responsibilities of our everyday lives.
Take time off for yourself.
This should be a day where you do whatever you please.
It’s a day for yourself by yourself.
Go see a movie, do an activity, get a massage, or go to a spa.
Read a book.
It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you take time for yourself.
If need be, take more than a day off.
Do what you need to get refreshed.
Take up a Hobby
Keeping yourself distracted is a great way to relieve stress and alleviate the mundane.
Think of something you used to do when you were younger that you go away from.
Now is the time to revisit that activity.
Having a hobby or finding an activity you enjoy will help you decompress.
It will keep your mind off of work and allow you to enjoy something you haven’t been able to do for years.
Outline Work Time
Define your work time.
This means defining specific times when you start in the morning, take breaks in the morning and afternoon, go outside for lunch, and when you finish at the end of a long day.
Stick to these times.
You may need to force yourself to step away, but that time away is needed.
Keep track of how well you adhere to these times.
Going out for a walk at lunch or having lunch outside of work with coworkers is a great way to unwind.
It’s really about setting time for yourself and recharging your batteries.
Polish Your Resume
If you’ve defined your boundaries with your employer and tried everything on this list with little success, then it’s probably time you refreshed your resume.
It’s not easy coming to terms with the fact that your employer has unrealistic expectations of your time.
No matter how much you might enjoy what you do if your employer can’t respect your boundaries, then it’s all for naught.
Working on your resume is the first step to finding new employment.
It can be very therapeutic.
You’ve decided to find another job and that will help you refocus on your career and the challenge that awaits you.
For many, working on their resume and starting their job search is an exciting time.
At the very least, you’ll be able to properly convey your boundaries and find an employer that will respect your work-life balance.
Putting Yourself First
In the end, it’s all about taking care of yourself.
Setting aside time for you, your family and your friends outside of work is not only healthy but also necessary.
Devoting all your time to work or working for an employer who demands all your time can lead to high stress or burnout.
Long before that happens, make sure you find your work-life balance.