A work/life balance may seem like a myth during those insanely busy weeks where we barely have time to eat or even sleep. We go through the motions of every day feeling exhausted and wondering how we got ourselves into this situation. Many of us are completely overbooked and burdened with too much work which is a reality of our 24/7 work culture. We also take work calls on vacation and check our emails at midnight when we’re in bed and first thing when we wake up in the morning. But it’s completely possible to take control and achieve a solid balance of work and life that won’t have your head spinning. Check out these five ways to do just that, and get inspired to stay happy and healthy when your schedule is overwhelming.
1. Make 5-Minute Breakfasts
Your mom always told you to eat a good breakfast before leaving the house for school when you were a kid, and now that you’re a grown-up she’s still completely right. Breakfast can help you shed those pounds and, without it, you will be tired, foggy-headed and will find it very hard to concentrate on your work. It’s even more important to eat healthy and feel good when we’re super busy because without a good breakfast, we can feel like we’re slaves to our jobs and every little thing that comes up can make us feel even worse about how busy we are. Make sure you’re still sticking to your health goals and make easy 5-minute breakfasts. Some ideas include prepping oats before going to bed so you can eat on the go before work (just put oats in a mason jar, add some milk, a banana and some spices or sweetener, and let it set in the fridge overnight), smearing nut butter and banana on whole grain toast, or a quick smoothie of fruit, milk and nut butter.
2. Don't Skip the Gym
We know. You’re really busy with work – how can you possibly find time to work out? But this is the first thing that goes when you’re booked solid, and it will only make you feel completely unhappy once your deadline passes and you have some free time again. Find one or two nights a week when you can make it to a yoga class or run on the treadmill at your neighborhood gym. Or make the effort to wake up an hour earlier and work out before work. It sucks, but it’s important to work out on busy days so you feel like you’re still on track with your health and that work doesn’t define you.
3. Make Social Plans Once a Week
Friends are just as important as work. They’ve seen you through the best and the worst times of your life, and they make you laugh, help you have fun, and relax. Don’t neglect your friendships just because work is busy right now; after all, you wouldn’t want them to do the same to you. While work is a priority, you can make social plans once a week to ensure that you still get some face time with the people that you love. Try a new restaurant with a friend or go to an art gallery on a Saturday afternoon for something different. Whatever you do, don’t go weeks without seeing a single soul besides the people you work with. That’s a surefire way to become married to your job.
4. Take Some 'Me' Time on Sundays
Everything typically falls by the wayside when work gets crazy – from healthy eating to working out and doing anything but work and worry about work – so don’t fall into that trap. Take some time for yourself every single Sunday, no matter what. You’re not supposed to work seven days a week, after all. That’s one way to get stressed, and you don’t want your job to make you sick. It’s not the only thing in your life. Practice some yoga, meet some girlfriends for brunch, or stay home all afternoon and watch your favorite movies. You will feel so much better come Monday morning, and you will be ready to face yet another busy week.
5. Cook One Evening a Week
Cooking meals from scratch and insanely packed weeks at work don’t usually go hand in hand, but many of us love to cook. It’s a great way to relax and unwind, and trying new recipes can be a great form of creative expression, so don’t let your cooking hobby go. To make things realistic, cook dinner once a week. If you can make a huge batch of pasta sauce or chili, and stick it in the freezer to help you out on your busiest days, that would be even better. Or embrace your slow cooker and prep meals in the morning so you can come home to a ready dinner.
See Also: Why Work Conditions Are Important For Work-Life Balance
With these five ways to restore your work-life balance when things get insane at the office, you will never survive on pizza for five days straight again. You will be able to maintain your physical and mental health by keeping up your workout routine a little bit, by cooking one night a week, and making sure to take time to relax on Sundays. Being burnt out won’t ever lead to success at work, so you owe it to yourself to make sure your life doesn’t get taken over by your job.