MEMBER WELLBEING – Achieving a healthy Life and Work Balance

Most of us are spend­ing more and more of our wak­ing hours at work.  Whilst there has been a sig­nif­i­cant increase in part-time work­ers, many part-time work­ers have more than one job.  Cur­rent sta­tis­tics show that the aver­age Aus­tralian spends some­where between 39 and 50 hours a week at work with those in min­ing, trades and the health sec­tor mak­ing up the major­i­ty of those work­ing long hours.  With these sorts of trends, it is no sur­prise that we spend more time with our work col­leagues than we do our fam­i­lies.  So how do we main­tain our work/life bal­ance, when work is increas­ing­ly creep­ing into our out of work hours?

If your home is like most, you prob­a­bly have an office (or an unused din­ing table) where the work office slow­ly creeps into the home space.    Your mobile phone is prob­a­bly linked to your work email and your car to your phone.  You start the morn­ing check­ing emails on your phone, then jump into the car and busi­ness begins.  You eat lunch at your desk or whilst dri­ving from one appoint­ment to the oth­er and fin­ish the day, parked in your dri­ve way end­ing the last work calls for the day.  Sound­ing famil­iar?

Here’s a few sim­ple ways you can claim back your life and bring bal­ance into your work and home space;

  • Try to avoid eat­ing lunch at your desk. Instead, use your unpaid lunchtime to increase your well­be­ing and decrease your stress lev­els.  Go out­side, to a park, read a book or catch up with a friend.
  • Try doing some lunchtime exer­cise or yoga with a col­league. Hav­ing a laugh with a friend at lunchtime reduces stress and gives you that extra burst of feel good hor­mones to get you through the after­noon.
  • Get into the habit of only check­ing your emails when you get to work. Even bet­ter, don’t have your out­look set to open up at your email.  Try set­ting it to open at your cal­en­dar.  That way, you can start your day on your terms, not every­one else’s.
  • Take your work emails off your phone, or at very least, turn off the noti­fi­ca­tion sound.
  • Leave your lap­top and work phone at work at the end of the day, or at least turn them off.
  • Avoid using your phone on the way to or from work. Instead, play your favourite CD or pod­cast and enjoy the dri­ve.
  • Plan to take your hol­i­days and take them.
  • If you find you can’t get your work done in your work­ing hours, have a con­ver­sa­tion with your employ­er. They may not be aware and may be able to get you some sup­port.  Warn­ing here, more mon­ey will like­ly only bring your more respon­si­bil­i­ty, not nec­es­sar­i­ly improve your well­be­ing.
  • When you get home, do some­thing to end your work day like change your clothes and take the dog for a walk or the kids to the park. This sets the bound­ary between work and home.
  • Leave work doc­u­ments at work. This stops your home office becom­ing an extend­ed ver­sion of your work­place where you are like­ly to do many unpaid work hours.
  • Last­ly, clear that din­ing table and start using it for what it is meant for, fam­i­ly meals. You’ll be sur­prised what you actu­al­ly find out when you sit down as a fam­i­ly or with friends and con­nect over a meal hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion.  I chal­lenge you to use Sep­tem­ber as the “Bring back the fam­i­ly meal month!”

Pam Bubrzy­c­ki

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