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Expert Roundup: How to Balance Work Life and Personal Life

In these days of high technology and easy access to people, work can often spill into your personal life, and it’s hard to find a balance. This article will provide you with expert advice on how to manage your schedule better, make time for yourself, and follow a healthy lifestyle.

Health Web Magazine Experts

Finding the Balance in Work Life and Personal Life

Many people find career such an important aspect of life that it spills into their world. This can be very problematic to manage work & personal life, as it can lead to increased stress. Added worry can have physical manifestations such as limited energy, headaches, insomnia, and low sexual libido. It’s essential to learn to calm your mind and body. For your overall health and immunity, learn to manage your work and personal life, so you get an equal balance of each.

Also, during these unusual times, you may be going back to work after several weeks or months off. Rather than going back to your regular workplace, you may be returning to a new normal, where everyone is wearing a mask, and you may be short-staffed. There’s a temptation to work longer hours, but this is something you should try to avoid. To be a good employee, you have to be healthy and content with your personal life.

Below are some key points you can take into consideration to balance out the personal and professional life:

  • Put your diet first. If you don’t follow a healthy lifestyle, you won’t be content in your work or personal life. Make sure to eat properly, consuming lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, and lean meats. Avoid sugar and processed foods.
  • Remember to follow an exercise routine. Exercising regularly will give you more energy and help your productivity. That way, you won’t have to work late. Plan some easy home workouts you can do on your own every day.
  • Set work boundaries. Learn to say ‘no’ at work, so you don’t take on too much. Set boundaries for how late you’re willing to work and how much you’ll work after hours, especially after returning to a new normal at your job.
  • Practice mindfulness and meditation. According to The Harvard Gazette, these therapies will help you to calm your mind and body and lower your stress. They’ll help you detach from work and relax.
  • Take time to detach from technology. It’s important to turn off all your devices sometimes. You should spend time with yourself or some friends or do some easy home workouts to relax your body. A break will recharge you for when you’re ready to get back to work.
  • Make time for your loved ones. If you spend all your time working, you miss out on being with your loved ones. Make time to foster your relationships.
  • Take a vacation. Everyone deserves time off work every once in a while. Plan a fun vacation that will allow you to shut off from your job for a short time.

We asked a collection of health and wellness experts to provide us with their best advice on managing work and personal life effectively. Here are what they suggested:

Specialist Advice on Managing Your Personal and Professional Life

Susan PetangSusan Petang, Stress & Anxiety Relief Coach

First, make the best use of your planner or organizer that you can. When you are at work, then it’s “work time;” conversely, when you’re NOT working, it’s YOUR time. Make sure you set aside time in your planner to take care of yourself and enjoy activities that you love, spend time with your partner, and have activities to do with the kids. Use time blocking techniques to keep those personal items sacred!

Second, make sure you draw hard lines in between work and home. Turn off devices. Don’t pick up your laptop to work on a work project “just for a few minutes.” Are you “working to live” or “living to work?” Take a few minutes to evaluate your priorities and make sure you’re putting your money where your mouth is.

Third, brush up on your conflict resolution skills and techniques to set limits. Be prepared for some push back from your boss or coworkers if you’ve been known to work at home before. For example, you may need to say things like, “It sounds like you want me to work on this report over the weekend, but I’m not available. Let's find another way to get this done in time.”

Fourth, learn mindfulness. Stay in the moment at hand (especially when you’re off!) so you can enjoy your own time without the “gremlin” of work bothering you.

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Jacob BustosJacob Bustos, A Chef, Cooking Coach, and Food Enthusiast

Wow! Especially at this time, work/life balance is so important! Taking walks daily and turning off my phone even if it’s just for a while is a great start! Playing with my dog Bentley is also a great way to turn off work!!

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Eileen Cotter WrightEileen Cotter Wright, Travel Writer And Journalist

Block out time for rest as you would for work! Real rest, where you can unplug your devices, breathe deep and enjoy the moment. This can be in your home, or a place you travel to, whether it's a quick weekend road trip or a flight to a far-off destination.

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Maureen ScanlonMaureen Scanlon, Life Coach

Juggling the balance between work and life is a constant challenge. It’s probably best to divide this dilemma into pre and current pandemic status. Pre-pandemic focus was more about time crunching and involved driving kids to school, getting to work, and running errands.

Now that we are currently in a pandemic and most employees are working from home, the lines are blurred and our daily lives can appear more like a watercolor than a paint by number.

Here are some tips to help maintain the balance:

Follow a schedule: Set your alarm in the morning, plan the amount of time needed for each task and stick to it. Don’t fly by the seat of your pants each day as this will cause quite a bit of anxiety. Getting up, making your bed, getting dressed and having to be accountable for the hours will keep the workload manageable.

Communicate expectations: It’s important to have clear-cut expectations about what is expected from your family. For Example, if you take calls, inform your family that you cannot be disturbed during specific hours. If the children have online schooling, set a time that they must be ready, in their seats, and prepared to learn. Set a time that dinner will be ready so you aren’t bombarded with questions.

Take time for fun and relaxing activities: Although you have a lot to accomplish, it’s very important to keep your mindset at a place of peace. Plan a movie night at home with popcorn, each person puts a movie choice in a jar and you can pick one. Maybe a trip to the park to walk the pets or get fresh air is in order. Even a mid-day crafting project or meditation to reset is a good way to relieve overwhelmingness.

This too shall pass: Remember that this is temporary and that when things are more readily available, you can maintain these methods. It’s a good practice to allow everyone to express their feelings and frustrations and “feel heard” through all of the changes happening. If you ensure your household has a safe place to land, you will get through and even deepen the bonds between family members.

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Dr. Dina KulikDr. Dina Kulik, Pediatrician, Pediatric Emergency Medicine Doctor

Spend some time every day on you, not your business: If you are entirely focused on your business and your family, you will feel stressed and tired and are more likely to burn out. What do you love to do? Do you like to run? Do pottery? Watch Netflix? Spend dedicated time on this joy every day. Yes, every day. Without my morning run or cycle I am inefficient, moody, and a bitchy mom, employer and doctor. It may be an hour a day I lose to working on my busi-ness, but what I gain is worth much more than that time lost.

Recognize what you love, and what you don’t love: Make what you love the priority. Farm out what you don’t love. You can hire people to do the tasks you don’t enjoy, or if you can’t hire help now, you can ask people who love you to help. Don’t be shy about asking your partner, friends or family to pitch in. If they know you have a dream to be a business own-er, and you ask for help, they will be there for you. But you have to ask. Stop being a martyr. You are only hurting yourself.

Take time for you and your partner: You will work better as a team (for parenting and in life) if you like each other. Try to plan, and stick, to dates alone. Use family members, caregivers or even friends. People like doing things with kids. Let them help. If you are happy in your relationship, it will be one less thing to worry about. Entrepreneur-ship is stressful enough; you don’t need the added stress of a troubled relationship.

Don’t procrastinate: As business-owners, there are always tasks that we prefer to delay (or not do at all). When you delay the inevitable it looms like a dark cloud and makes it that much more emotionally draining to complete. Instead, work on the tasks you don’t want to do, get them out of the way, to free yourself for the tasks you enjoy and look forward to.

Make your own parenting and work style: When I had my fourth child in 2017, I didn’t want to stay at home, but I didn’t want to be apart from my baby. So, he came with me to work. He became a Kidcrew mascot. I loved being with him every day for those 20 months; he was around so many people that loved him, and I got to do the work I love without feeling I was giving up time with my baby. He loved it and I loved it. Throwaway the cookie cut-ter parenting and work approaches and make your own cookie from scratch.

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Veena DhandhiaVeena Dhandhia, Certified Life Coach & Motivational Speaker

There are times when one aspect of life becomes a barrier to another aspect, for example, progress in work life may be throwing family or personal life out of balance. Having the highest intent of happiness for both aspects, outstanding people allow the ENERGY of each area to MERGE together and allow a vision of 'being balanced and whole' to emerge.

Exercise: Write down 3 values that are important to you for each area, say joy, creativity, love. See which values fall short in the other area (for example, you may feel you don't have enough joy in your work as you have in your personal life). Then think of practical ways to bring in those values equally in both areas.

Some practical simple ways that can be used:

1. Have set hours for your work, and work in a way not to spill over time that you could use for your personal life. It's a cycle: have quality time in the evenings with your family and friends, wake up the next morning happy, go to work in a happier state of mind (and this will improve your productivity at work), and because you've had a good day, come home happy. Be happy all over again!

2. Manage your time for the long run. Create a timeline for your activities, breaking up work tasks and family commitments such as family celebrations or holidays. When working, put in your heart and soul to strive for ongoing success. For commitments, make sure you are unavailable for work on those days. Spending few but meaningful quality times will do wonders.

3. Take time to make time for yourself. Do things you love doing, and don't skip exercise and meditation routines for extra work. A healthy body and mind will supercharge you for work and aid better productivity in less time!

4. Perform a self-analysis from time to time, and see if the feeling of fulfillment is there. Rectify where you feel the need. This balance will also add to your peace and the highest intent of happiness!

All in all, depending on your identity and value system, take time out to seriously analyse what's working and what's not. Delving into your inner potentials will give you the answers that will work for you!

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Farah MillerFarah Miller, Health & Nutrition Coach

I am a big fan of self care and self growth routine. The thing is that you must bring balance to your personal energies, emotional, physical, mental, and auric. The more balanced you feel inside the more balance you will experience in your outer world. I am my 4 most favorite quick and easy ways to bring more balance and harmony in your personal and career lifestyle.

Meditate: Start each day with a practice to calm the mind chatter, get focused on the intention for the day and then practice being in your joy center all day. This practice has changed my life. So much to gain, nothing to lose.

Journal: Journaling will help with managing stress and releasing blocks from subconscious mind. It will help you release emotions and will help with emotional balance.

Exercise: Daily movement of the body is so important to bring balance to all area's of our life, and brings balance to mind.

Creating a vision of your life can help with evaluating your goals/priorities, which can bring a lot of clarity and focus towards direction of your daily habits and how to balance all areas of your life with ease.

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Narado PowellNarado Powell, ISSA Certified Trainer & Nutrition Specialist

Achieving work-life balance is not easy. It has been a struggle of mine for years. The fact that I am type A personality does not help.

I have made few changes in my life.

I start every morning with recovery work. Mainly yoga and meditation. I take time for myself whenever I can and spend time with those closest to me.

These practices have made me happier and in turn more productive.

In order to be the best version of ourselves, we need to maximize, mental, emotional and physical health.

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Meghan MeredithMeghan Meredith, Health & Wellness Coach

Ah...the ever elusive question! Everyone is always trying to figure out how to achieve this balance. While I do not have it perfected, it is something that is a top priority and value for our family. We maintain balance between work and personal life by implementing fairly strict boundaries when it comes to work hours and working at home. We try to not check work emails or respond after certain hours of the day.

We also maintain this balance by setting aside time to be together as a family, whether it be an outing on the weekend or our beloved Friday Pizza Nights where we can unwind after the week and unplug and enjoy each others company as we head into the weekend.

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Emma CampbellEmma Campbell, Lifestyle Blogger

It's a difficult one, and I feel you have to really nail how to be organised in order to effectively do this. Use to do lists and daily time planners, writing down per hour slot what work tasks need doing, and when. Then, slot in any personal life tasks after you have planned out your working day. This could be an odd task on your lunch break, and then after work, say from 6pm onwards. It's key to stick to a written down plan like this, as your mind knows 'personal life' is coming - but just not to be squeezed in when getting through work tasks.

I honestly feel so much more organised and can do effectively work between the two when I have all work and all personal tasks carefully added to daily time slots each day.

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Jenna LessnerJenna Lessner, Wellness Coach

I believe a key to maintaining a work-life balance is scheduling! As a business owner, the lines of between work-life and personal-life can get a little fuzzy. But one of the most important things that I've done to help make sure I'm taking care of me is scheduling in my personal time. Whether that is my workouts and meditation - both which help me reduce stress levels, my meal prep that allows me to fuel my body with the nutrients that it needs, or scheduling time to simply unplug.

I have a no email day on Saturdays because I've realized that unplugging from my email is not the end of the world and there isn't really anything that can't wait until the next day. Unplugging allows me to be fully present in my personal life with loved ones and with myself.

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Megan Johnson McCulloughMegan Johnson McCullough, Fitness & Health Trainer

When you find a career that you are passionate about, it doesn't feel like "work". It is part of who you are, but your job cannot define your every waking moment. Having a personal life is important and relationships require your attention. Balance means prioritizing your time, practicing time management, and making sure to maintain self care. By doing so, you can avoid burn out, excess stress, and regretting missed opportunities.

We only live once, so separating work from home is essential and possible when you make every day count and stick to your agenda. Keep one eye on the future while living in the present moment.

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Sandra JollesSandra Jolles, Wellness Coach, Group Fitness Instructor

Wellness is holistic and I believe a focus on our primary food groups (exercise, spirituality, relationships, and career), will help to balance our personal and professional priorities. At the beginning of each week, I think a tentative schedule will help to incorporate each primary food group for increased fulfillment. If we focus the majority of our attention on work, we will neglect the other important aspects of our well being. Since wellness is multidimensional, it's imperative to be mindful about taking care of both our mind AND body, and that comes through implementing healthy and sustainable habits.

For instance, incorporating physical activity a few times a week while also taking the time to decompress through mindfulness and meditative techniques allows a reduction in stress which will positively impact the other areas of our well being.

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Jess RoeJess Roe, Health & Fitness Coach, Corrective Exercise Specialist

The most important thing to keep in mind when you're trying to create a balance between work life and personal life is that it will never be perfectly balanced! There will be times when your work life needs more from you, and there will be times when your personal life needs more. Even knowing this, I'm sure you want to create some balance where you feel like you're in control of your life, where you aren't stressed and overwhelmed and where you're actually achieving your goals instead of being stuck on a hamster wheel every day.

There are 3 skills you need to work on that will help you find the best balance for you while allowing you to be flexible.

1. Planning - You need to know what your schedule looks like for both your work and personal lives. The more you can plan ahead, the more flexible you can be, and the less stress you'll have to deal with. You need to be in control of your time and that takes practice with consistent planning. Start with daily and weekly planning, then when you start getting the hang of your general routines, you can start planning your month out, then quarterly and even rough yearly plans. Most importantly, SCHEDULE yourself a little time each day and week to look ahead and plan out your time and review what's been working and what hasn't.

2. Set boundaries - This is SUCH a hard skill to learn, but so important if you feel like you haven't got any balance between your work and personal life. Once you've started planning out your time, you'll know what you have time for, and what is going to create stress. Now you need to start defending your time and setting boundaries so you can limit the amount of stress and overwhelm that enters your life, while giving you the time and space to work on your work or personal goals. Setting boundaries can look like saying no to certain commitments, setting time limits for projects, scheduling time for yourself, and delegating some tasks to others to free up room in your schedule. This is a skill that gets easier with time. The first time you have to say no or ask for help is the hardest and the more you do it, the easier it will become!

3. Know your limits and needs - This goes along with setting boundaries, but it takes a little more self-awareness and introspection. Take some time to think about what you really need to support your wellbeing both in your work and personal lives. Make sure that you're giving yourself some time to meet those needs, because all the planning and boundary setting in the world will not leave you feeling fulfilled and happy if you aren't also meeting your needs. This goes along with knowing your limits. You can't set boundaries or plan your time wisely if you're always overestimating how much you can actually take on. This skill can take some time to develop if you haven't learned how to listen to your body and follow your intuition. But with some trial and error and persistence you will get it!

That's it! Work on these 3 skills and you will be well on your way to creating a better balance between your work and personal lives that will be flexible enough to manage whatever life throws at you while decreasing your stress and overwhelm and leaving you feeling happy and fulfilled!

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Madeline BaslerMadeline Basler, Registered Dietitian

Schedule days and weekends off, exercise, and plan vacations

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Mari L. McCarthyMari L. McCarthy, Therapeutic Journaling

Keep a daily pen-to-paper Journaling For The Health Of It™ Practice

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Sabina GreenSabina Green, Family & Lifestyle Blogger

Plan, plan, plan! I use a Marketing Planner to help me plan out my days/weeks and months in advance so I know what to expect and nothing gets missed.

I have been a work at home Mum since my daughter was born and through the birth of both of my boys and I definitely haven't always had the balance right but finally, I feel like it all slots into place.

My rule has always been that I only work when my children are at school, in bed or out of the house with friends or family so during an average school week I book myself 2-3 glasses at the gym to give me some 'me time' and I usually schedule in a catch up with a friend once or twice a month. The rest of my day is usually spent working or walking the dogs.

In the evenings it's all about spending time with family, usually doing homework, running them around from one club to another, playing games, visiting the park or watching a film together. Once they are in bed I will do another hour or two of work before settling down to relax with my husband or doing a Reiki self-treatment which I love.

Weekends are when we tend to do things together as a family, we love being outdoors so we will usually be found exploring woodlands, beaches or chasing the dogs around a field.

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Emma LanniganEmma Lannigan, Author, Reiki Teacher, NLP Practitioner & Coach

Finding the balance between work and personal life comes down to purpose and awareness. Discovering your purpose can help you align and connect all your work and personal life activities. Where once you felt you were being pulled in multiple directions, living with purpose helps you wake up with clarity, focus and more energy for each day. The other element to maintaining balance is being aware of your well being.

There are four key areas in particular that can help you focus: Give, Play, Love, Learn. Paying attention to giving and receiving in your life will help you become aware if you are giving everything and not receiving. This simple imbalance can have a huge effect on your energy levels. It can also be the difference between feeling compassion or feeling drained by your life.

Finding time to play in your day is also equally important. A space for creativity and movement. Doing or listening to something different can bring you back to now in the present. And for that moment you feel you're fully experiencing your life.

Next is to find love in your day. Love being an expression of compassion and kindness and equally for yourself as towards others. The love and self care you can offer your mind, body and spirit will restore calm and re energise.

Finally learning through daily and regular practice of self awareness will bring more empowerment to your life. You will have more insights to what is working and what isn't; What you enjoy and what you don't.

Exposing yourself to learn more about who you are and what you want fro your life brings the gap between work and life closer and closer. Eventually you will be experiencing life balance. And remember, with balance comes movement. Learn that being proactive and responsive you will adapt with more ease as life continuously shifts and changes.

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Sian LloydSian Lloyd, Holistic Health Coach

A big part of creating and maintaining a healthier work-life balance is to get clear on what's important to you. Work may be important but, what else is important? Family? Time in nature? The time to eat healthier? Exercise? Reading? Home cooking? Travel? Sleep?

If you're a recovering workaholic like me, creating and maintaining a work-life balance can be tricky. Because part of you feels like 'work' is the most important thing in life. That's why sitting down and getting clear on what else is just as important is such a good place to start.

Once you know what's important to you, you need to keep prioritising and creating more space for these areas of your life. And this can mean setting healthier boundaries and saying 'no' to other things so that you have more time for what's truly important...

Of course, work can have a way of creeping in and bulldozing other areas. But that's life, an ebb and flow. When you fall out of balance and find yourself over-working, just be aware and look for ways, no matter how small, to re-balance. This could mean getting an extra hour of sleep, or clearing out your calendar on a Saturday so that you can do a yoga class and spend quality time with your family.

Something that has made me very aware of my time and work-life balance is that I actually schedule in my 'personal life' into my 'work' calendar. I have my mealtimes, morning routines and workouts all scheduled in. I even add in blank areas to allow myself time to 'just be'. Google calendar is amazing for this, as you can colour code different activities and get a good idea of how you're actually balancing your time.

Other than that, being very intentional with my time while I'm working has also helped a lot. When I sit down to work, I focus completely. I use a timer most of the time, and this encourages me to get my best work done efficiently, leaving more time to cook a delicious meal, do an hour-long yoga class or spend quality time with my partner.

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Shraddha ShahShraddha Shah,

Put your diet first. If you don’t follow a healthy lifestyle, you won’t be content in your work or personal life. Make sure to eat properly, consuming lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, and lean meats. Avoid sugar and processed foods.

Remember to follow an exercise routine. Exercising regularly will give you more energy and help your productivity. That way, you won’t have to work late. Plan some easy home workouts you can do on your own every day.

Set work boundaries. Learn to say ‘no’ at work, so you don’t take on too much. Set boundaries for how late you’re willing to work and how much you’ll work after hours, especially after returning to a new normal at your job.

Practice mindfulness and meditation. These therapies will help you to calm your mind and body and lower your stress. They’ll help you detach from work and relax.

Take time to detach from technology. It’s important to turn off all your devices sometimes. You should spend time with yourself or some friends or do some easy home workouts to relax your body. A break will recharge you for when you’re ready to get back to work.

Make time for your loved ones. If you spend all your time working, you miss out on being with your loved ones. Make time to foster your relationships.

Take a vacation. Everyone deserves time off work every once in a while. Plan a fun vacation that will allow you to shut off from your job for a short time.

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