Millennials have hit the workforce in … well … full force. In addition to their full-time jobs, many millennials also have side hustles they commit to on the weekends. It goes without saying that these days it’s become pretty difficult to afford rent, food, utilities, pay off student debt, and save money for those important life milestones — like buying a first home. It often requires a lot of time and side gigs. Furthermore, considering how competitive the current workforce is, millennials end up under a lot of pressure to always be available to show their commitment.
This amount of stress and exhaustion coupled together can be detrimental to your physical and mental health. Of course it’s not as if any of us choose to work relentlessly in an effort to get by, which means it can be hard finding a healthy work-life balance while still being able to pay the bills. However, when work takes over all facets of your life it’s important to find ways to get back to a happier, healthier you.
Signs It’s Time to Re-adjust
Do you ever find yourself sitting anxiously at dinner with your group of friends or unable to have a deep conversation with your S.O. because you’re constantly thinking about your email inbox, Slack messages, etc.? If you’re always worried about not seeing a message from your boss or client, even on your days off, it’s hard to enjoy the moments with loved ones or to ever feel truly relaxed.
According to Regis College, signs of a poor work-life balance also include:
- Messy Surroundings: Both at home and at work.
- Patience Is Wearing Thin: When you don’t ever enough, even the slightest inconvenience can feel like the end of the world.
- Aches and Pains: Being under pressure all the time can put a lot strain on your body.
- Insufficient Sleep: Since you’re always plugged in, turning your mind “off” for a good night’s sleep is nearly impossible.
- Perfectionism: It’s not enough to just complete your tasks, but you have to actively go up and beyond with each one.
- Always Glued to Your Phone: You’d be on the verge of a breakdown if you didn’t have access to your phone — even just for a few hours.
Work stress every now and then is fine, but when it begins intruding on your relationships, health, and general happiness, it’s time to make time for yourself and make your life a priority again. You’ll feel better, and in turn, you’ll likely work better too. It’s a win-win.
Striking a Balance
There are several ways to begin finding a good balance between your work and your personal life. First, it’s important to set boundaries. Have your set working hours and stick to them — no more and no less (if you can help it). It’s also a good idea to create a no-phone zone. Whether that’s at the dinner table or in bed, spending time away from your smart device can help you focus more and engage with your current surroundings. Also, learn how to say no. Chances are, you’re overestimating the expectations your boss has of you, and they likely won’t get angry or think less of you if you have to say no to a new project or favor once in a while.
Furthermore, considering the physical and mental effect stress can have on us, it’s worth working on a better mind-body connection, both at work and on your time off. According to the Center for Vein Restoration, “taking a break to meditate or otherwise decompress can reduce any impact a recent [work] assignment may have on your mental health. Moderate exercise can have a positive effect as well — yoga, hiking/walking, riding a bike, and swimming laps are all great ways to both improve your circulatory health and decompress.”
Centering yourself can help you feel more at peace, relaxed, and refreshed. Of course, it might seem impossible to fit a scenic walk or hike into your busy schedule, but if you work to make it habit, you’ll find that the benefits you reap are well worth it.
While there is nothing wrong with working hard to show that you’re a highly motivated, committed, and enthusiastic employee, prioritizing work above everything else is a recipe for disaster. As millennials become more and more involved with their careers and side hustles, a lot of other important aspects in their life can fall to the wayside.
Self-care Isn’t Selfish
Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, work picks up and you’re slammed with due dates, errands, and clients. Sometimes, it’s unavoidable. However, with that being said, when work does enter into the busy season, it’s important to find ways to counter the additional stress.
Self-care can be both outward and inward health. If you look good, you feel good. That is to say, it definitely isn’t necessary to put on a tuxedo or a full face of makeup (especially when you’re busy) in order to feel better, but investing in those small pampering moments never hurts. It also doesn’t have to require a lot of time or money.
Consider your morning routine. How can it improve? When you have a full day ahead of you, it’s important to really enjoy the few minutes you get to yourself and that doesn’t really work if you’ve got a bad shower situation. You shouldn’t dread stepping into the shower. As Groom and Style puts it, “[Shower heads] turn what might be a pitiful, slow drip into a cascade of comfort, satisfaction, and even luxury. They’re what make a simple shower into a wonderful shower. All that’s required is selecting the right fixture.” A new shower head can be life-changing without breaking the bank.
Another small fix worth correcting is your current sock situation. Investing into your sock drawer can help make those long days at your desk just a bit more bearable. Splurge on a pack or two and toss those with holes and discoloration away. It might seem little but it can make a huge difference during those busy work days.
It also wouldn’t hurt to invest in some bathroom tech like waterproof speakers. Most of us tend to enjoy getting ready while listening to our favorite podcasts or music playlists and a good speaker can ensure you don’t miss anything while blow drying your hair or showering. Ultimately, remember all the little things do eventually add up, and you’ll never regret treating yourself every now and then!
It’s important to commit to a healthy work-life balance in order to enjoy everything life has to offer. While it does feel great to finally get that promotion, if it’s at the expense of your health, relationships, and happiness, you might end up burnt out and ready to collapse at any moment. It can be challenging finding the right balance, but with enough determination, you can get your life back onto the road of success both personally and professionally.
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