It’s not always easy to find that perfect balance between work and home life; a job can consume an inordinate part of your life to the point where you may wonder “Do I live to work or work to live?” (According to a recent survey by the Families and Work Institute, one in three Americans are chronically overworked.)
The demands of wearing multiple hats can particularly make entrepreneurs easy targets for chronic (ongoing) stress, which can break down the immune system and increase bad cholesterol (while decreasing the good kind).
And it’s not readily apparent; you think you’ll handling it (due to the adrenaline release by the stress response), even powering through it, because the damage is disguised.
Here’s a few ideas that will help regain the equilibrium of both business and personal worlds:
Make time for “down” time (even if they‘re small amounts). Take a break to do nothing (this can be anywhere from 5 minutes to 2 hours-or more. It’s up to you!). Seriously. You can just sit or lie down, meditate, stare at a wall or look out a window, or close your eyes-sneak in a nap! Try to keep your mind “blank”, away from any business or current concerns (most politicians have already mastered this technique!).
Go outside. Set aside at least one day (preferably two) for a recreational activity; take a walk (with the dog, if you have one), go cycling, hit a round of golf or play some tennis, football, etc. Getting more exercise on a regular basis will help make your life feel more well-rounded (you’ll also be physically fit and will lose weight; it’s a win-win!).
Take the edge off the morning rush (and commute) by preparing the night before: Plan breakfast, get lunch ready (or know where you’re going to eat), try to keep your gas tank at least half-full and set out the clothes you’re going to wear. You’ll have an effortless start! And listen to your body; if something’s not right, nip it in the bud!
If you have an important project or report coming up, if at all possible, start early (do a little bit at a time, steadily gathering and building up needed info. Putting all the info together is not as hard as getting it, in my humble opinion).
Keep a well-stocked emergency shelf of supplies at work (and home, too). Because you just never know.
Schedule your day realistically. Allow enough time between meetings or appointments so you don’t have to rush, worry or apologize for being late, end up with a speeding ticket or worse.
Pass on any extra work projects that you know you won’t have time for.
Bring a plant into your workspace (or home office) and post some inspirational posters, cartoons and jokes on the walls or the pin-up board (and every 2 to 3 months, rotate the posters; for those on a budget, simply make a few new ones when you have a free moment. Posterboard paper and a few colored pencils are all that’s needed!
Sources: “De-Stress Your Life” -The Hope Heart Institute-Working Women magazine and “Stress: your own worst enemy” by Joe Robinson-Entrepreneur magazine, Oct. 2013