At some point in our lives, the challenges of our demanding work schedules and trying to find a way to spend time with our loved ones lead to us reaching a point where we feel like we’re completely exhausted or on the edge of burnout.
With everything that is demanded of us, we often forget the most essential thing enabling us to balance work and life effectively—maintaining our health.
As challenging as this seems, we cannot undermine the importance of taking care of ourselves, busy schedule or not. We need to attempt to make our health a priority.
If we do not, we will inevitably reduce our chances of maintaining a work-life balance, and at least one side will eventually suffer. However, there are ways to avoid burnout and keep all the balls in the air.
Avoid Sleep Deprivation
Sleep is often one of the first things we sacrifice when we get busy. We feel that there isn’t enough time to spend a third of our day unproductive. This way of thinking is counter-intuitive, though, as people who have a minimum of 7-hours of uninterrupted sleep each day tend to be far more productive and can work faster and more efficiently.
Those who lack sleep tend to be sluggish, lack concentration, and struggle to keep their minds on the task at hand. If you are looking to perform at your peak and remain mentally sharp, and ensure an improvement in physical function, getting enough sleep should be a priority. You can’t make up for lost sleep; sleeping 15 hours over the weekend will not compensate for missing out on sleep during the week.
Manage Your Health, in the Same Way, You Manage Your Work
We all make use of agendas and calendars to schedule every part of our workday, and if we know we have that big meeting or client presentation coming up, we do everything we can to prepare for it. This approach can make a massive difference when you implement it in other aspects of your life too.
Instead of prepping a single healthy meal when we have time, why not cook bigger batches to split into portions for the entire week. Preparing yourself a few healthy snacks to keep in your bag can have a substantial positive impact; this way, if your demanding schedule gets in the way of your lunch break, at least you have some much-needed fuel for your body and mind on hand.
If you can’t find the time to prepare these, add some pre-made healthy snacks to your list for your next grocery run.
Find Time for Movement
Exercise can often seem like a busy person’s worst enemy, but it is the opposite. We can’t all afford to spend an hour in the gym every day, but there are alternatives that can help keep us healthy despite how busy we are.
Taking a 20-minute walk as part of your morning routine, for instance, or if you have the option, cycling to and from work each day. For those who often bring work home, consider using voice to text to complete drafts while you use a stationary bike or do some other cardio.
Try to find something that works for you; it doesn’t have to be strenuous or feel like torture to be effective. 20-30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every day can improve both your mental and physical health and positively impact the quality of your sleep too.
Take a Break
Just like an engine can overheat from continued use, we risk burnout if we do not take some time to relax. We often overlook the most essential aspects of keeping ourselves healthy. One of these is getting in some well-deserved relaxation.
Treat yourself to a spa day, find inner peace with some meditation, or get away from it all with a fishing or camping trip if nature is your passion. Do something you enjoy and release the stress you build up while keeping up with your busy schedule.
Challenge Yourself by Setting Goals
Setting yourself milestones or goals for your health, like reaching a certain distance during your 20-minute walk or gradually increasing the briskness and then rewarding yourself once you accomplish it, can be great motivation.
You could challenge yourself by avoiding your favorite indulgent meal until you can complete a 2-mile walk in a specific amount of time. Having a challenging goal and rewarding yourself can be a fun way to include some healthy activities in your busy schedule. You’ll also have a sense of accomplishment as you reach your goals and create new goals to aim for.
Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out or Outsource
We often feel we need to take care of everything ourselves, whether it’s pride or not wanting to burden others with our challenges; we tend to silently slog away until we reach the point of exhaustion or ultimately burnout. This does not need to happen, don’t be afraid to lean on your loved ones from time to time.
Caring for yourself is not being selfish, and asking for help is not demanding; burnout can mean you can no longer provide for those you love.
Keep in mind that we live in an age where we can hire someone to help us with just about anything; you can even find someone to buy and deliver your groceries while you exercise by simply yelling out a few voice commands to your mobile device.
You may even have the option of outsourcing some of your tasks; hiring a freelancer can make a world of difference. If part of your struggle is handling your 9-5 schedule and finding a supplemental income, then finding a good productivity app for automating tasks or searching for the best portfolio tracker to download can buy you a lot of valuable time.
It isn’t wrong to reach out for help, especially if this ensures you stay on top of your work and health. Finding a balance means you can handle more in the long term.
You cannot underestimate the importance of adding health to your daily regime; the sooner you start making small changes, the faster you will see a big difference.
These are just a few of the many ways to balance your health and busy schedule. If you feel close to burnout, give these a try; these may be the changes you need.