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Work-life balance: 7 strategies to swap stress for success

When owning and running a company, being your own boss is the biggest benefit. Even when we love what we do however, most of us still find switching off from work when we’re supposed to difficult.

If you find yourself constantly worrying about work after hours, it might be a sign that you’re stressed. Stress is defined as our body’s response when the demands of work overload your ability to cope. We end up in a mental loop of worry, where we can’t stop thinking about what’s due, who we’re meeting, or what email needs to be sent.

Passion for your job is admirable, but when hard work turns into stress and feelings of being overwhelmed, our focus, and often our relationships, can suffer too.

This guide will show you why it’s important to switch off, and how to do it effectively so you can continue to love your job.

How to detach from your work day

Managing your workplace stress is the first step to maintaining a positive work-life balance. Being able to take mental breaks from work, no matter how fulfilling it might be, is so important – as fixating too much on work can make us unproductive.

If we’re distracted by what need to be done by the next day, week, or month, those worries lead to restless nights and an unproductive next day. Relaxing evenings on the other hand, lead to a great night’s sleep, better focus and a positive mood the next day.

Not sure you can switch off on your own? Well, first thing’s first:

Write an exit list at the end of your day

Remembering to write a ‘tomorrow-do list’ is a great way to clear your mind, and reassure yourself that you can handle what’s in store tomorrow. If you plan what you need to do the next day, and it looks manageable on the page, this stress-busting technique makes it easier to let go of your work day and relax.

Get active

Physical activity is one of the most effective ways to separate work from life, and reduce stress.  As a form of escapism, the distraction provides a welcome break from the demands of work.

Plus, it’s a proven mood booster. The endorphins released following a workout give you a “high” for at least 2 to 3 hours and make you happy and relaxed for up to 24 hours afterward.

If you can: exercise outside too, as studies have shown that the views and changing terrain have significant mental wellbeing benefits.

Rediscover your hobbies

Sometimes our best ideas and motivators come from activities that have nothing to do with your job.

We’ve all heard of the benefits of mindfulness, but the only way to get the emotional and productivity benefits of it is by switching off worries and distractions from time to time.

Easier said than done, yes. However, doing something you enjoy is a good place to start. The more you love it, whether it’s cooking, gardening, or even reading a good book, the easier it is to divert your full attention from work and steer your focus toward another activity. It’s a great way to hit the reset button, and your mind will be refreshed for the next working day.

Stop sleeping near your smartphone

If you don’t sleep enough at night, your body produces more stress hormones, so it’s important you get your beauty sleep.

Though many people advise you turn your work emails off after work, when you run your own company that isn’t always an option.

Solid advice for a sound sleep, however? Ensure you charge your phone in a different room than your bed. According to Sleep.org, the blue light emitted by screens from phones inhibits melatonin production, which is the hormone that regulates your sleep/wake cycle or circadian rhythm. Reducing melatonin makes it harder to fall and stay asleep.

Plus, scrolling through your phone keeps your brain alert too, which prevents you from sleeping.

Prioritise your diet

Cooking and eating healthily feels hard when your to-do list is as long as your arm. However, taking care of your health is fundamental when you run your own business – not just for you, but for your employees, clients, and family too.

Poor nutrition not only makes it more likely for you to get ill, studies have shown it leads to physical health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and is even linked to depression. Therefore taking time to prepare and eat balanced and nutritious meals is key to the ongoing health of yourself and your business.

Alcohol isn’t the answer

While it might seem like a quick destress tool after a long day, alcohol can often be more of a hindrance than a help for your stress levels.

According to Drinkaware UK, hangovers aren’t just bringers of headaches and an upset stomach, many people also wake up feeling depressed and anxious.

To avoid this during the work week, try going for a walk after dinner instead, or playing a board game with your family or friends. Saving alcohol for weekends and special occasions means you’ll have time to really relax, enjoy yourself, and let loose, without disrupting your stress levels at work.

Accept your limits

As a business owner, there are never enough hours and always more to do. However, it’s important to accept that you can’t get everything done on your to-do list, and that’s OK.

Overworking yourself, and doing too much overtime, makes you less productive and isn’t helping your team or your business in the long run.

It could also be a sign that you’re taking on too much work.

Even when you own a company, everyone deserves to relax. If you’d like to free up some of your time by cutting down on admin, find out how EMMA’s executive assistant services can help, or get in touch for a chat