Stress in the workplace can lead to burnout. Here, our Business Support Manager and Armed Forces veteran Sally Allison shares her top tips for achieving a good work-life balance.
Get out in the fresh air
Make time to connect with nature, it’s the perfect way to relax and recharge your batteries. In my leisure time I am a keen gardener and I make sure I spend a little bit of time outdoors every day. I have a seven-year-old daughter and I walk her to school instead of reaching for the car keys – it makes a difference.
Everyone knows the benefits of exercise for the body – but those feel-good endorphins are great for blasting away any stress. If you don’t fancy going out jogging (my knees never fancy a jog) a brisk walk will do the trick. It’s all about getting the heart rate up and the endorphins flowing. Remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Practising meditation is a simple way to find your inner calm and keep anxiety at bay. Find a quiet space and concentrate on taking slow, deep breaths. Let go of all thoughts and just focus on the moment. Or do it at bedtime; I use Deep Sleep Meditation on my Smart speaker.
Take your breaks
Staring at a screen all day is not going to do your mental health any favours. Don’t spend your lunchbreak eating sandwiches at your desk – there’s no substitute for getting up and having a change of scene. You might even find you’re more productive when you get back to your desk.
Explore flexible working opportunities
The pandemic has proved to the world that we can work from home, and it’s made the workplace more inclusive. I don’t have to be physically present to do my job, my team is national so I’m managing people all over the country. If you have the option to work from home when it suits, then why not go for it?
Communicate with your boss
Having an open dialogue with your boss can help you to feel valued as an employee. If your boss is not accommodating, speak to your HR department for advice. Here at Ingeus, I know I can ring my boss and have an honest and open conversation, and my team know they can do the same with me.
Don’t be the last one to log off
If you find yourself working late, ask yourself why. Maybe you think it makes you look loyal and dedicated but your superiors might take a different view. They might think that either you can’t manage your time properly, or the workload is simply too much and needs to be shared out. One positive thing to have come out of the pandemic is it has helped to destroy the altar of presenteeism. Be present when you need to be – not because you want to look like the busiest person in the office!
Understand when you need to hit the reset button
You can’t pour from an empty cup, sometimes you need to take a breath and reset yourself. If you’re being pulled in all directions at work, try to negotiate a bit of breathing space. During lockdown at my previous job, I was getting overwhelmed by the emotional cost of calls I was having to deal with. In the end, I asked if I could have one day a week where I could work from home and not be the face of the organisation. That really helped me to reset.
Switch off
At the end of a working day, make sure your computer is shut down and the office mobile is switched off. Don’t be tempted to check your work emails, they can wait. This is your precious time to spend with family or friends. If you’re working from home, keep your living space and workspace separate. My desk is hidden behind a voile curtain, it’s a bit like Miss Havisham’s dining room but it works for me as a visual block.