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How To Balance Family And Work To Reduce Stress

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How To Balance Family And Work To Reduce Stress

Because Americans are so busy these days, they are becoming more stressed. Back in the 1950s, the workers would go to their job, put in their eight hours, and come home to relax. Today, people bring work home. They constantly check their office email through their smartphones, respond to inquiries immediately (even if it’s time for dinner), and read reports late into the evening. This ability to be constantly connected is harming people’s health. It’s time we go back to finding that balance between work and family life.

Many personal development books suggest that incorporating play time and leisure into your work week is necessary. In fact, many companies require employees to take off vacation time to relax and recharge their batteries. However, before you can reconnect with your family, you first have to reconnect with yourself. You must find coping skills for anxiety and deal with your stress, whether it stems from home pressures or work-related issues.

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Ways To Reduce Stress

  1. Meditation is a great form of reducing stress because it forces you to forget the world around you and be quiet. You listen to your own breathing and your thoughts. You are able to find peace, even if only for a short time. This 15-minute-a-day activity can improve your health and eliminate your anxiety.
  2. Yoga uses breathing and exercises to help you reduce your stress. In many of the moves, you have to focus on a fixed spot to keep your balance. This focus forces you to remove those work pressures from your mind. As you get more limber, you can try deeper breathing and focusing techniques that improve your ability to let go of stress.
  3. Exercise is important for health and reducing stress. The more movement you create, the healthier your heart is. When the heart is healthy, you have less stress, less anxiety, and more energy to conquer those problems. Exercise also allows you to reduce weight, lower blood pressure, and think clearly.
  4. Prayer can reduce stress and anxiety. The Bible says to give your burdens to God. He will take care of them for you. If you pray, you soon will relax. You might even figure out the answers to your problems.
  5. Singing is not a common therapy for anxiety and stress, but it works. When you sing, you tune into your emotions. If you sing songs you like, you will get rid of the problems that worry you. Breakthrough Performance Workshop teaches people how to use singing to remove stress.
  6. Acupuncture relieves anxiety and stress. According to the Jade Tree Wellness Center, acupuncture uses pressure points to relieve anxiety.
  7. Massage Therapy is another way to reduce stress. Therapeutic massage is designed to heal tension in your muscles. This tension is often caused by stress.

How To Balance Family And Work

Once you have relieved your stress and anxiety, you are better equipped to handle crises at home or in the office. You can listen to the complaints of your children and not think of them as purely criticism. You can think clearly to come up with a solution. At work, you will focus more on problem-solving and what needs to be done. Still, you can do things to keep the two forces from stressing you out.

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  1. Family Fun Days or Nights. Dedicate one night or day a week to your family. Turn off the cellphones or ignore them. Do something fun. Every week, ask a different family member to choose. This makes each member feel important.
  2. Regular Meals. It is so hard today to have everyone at the dinner table and engaged. Even while eating together, so many members are using their phones. Try to make it a rule that no phones are allowed at the table. Get together regularly for food.
  3. Talk. It doesn’t matter what the subject is. Find something to say to your spouse or children. Don’t make the conversation about issues, but about other things, such as movies or other interests. Ask about your kid’s dreams and encourage them.
  4. Family Vacations. They might be costly, but you and your children need them. Plan a vacation somewhere so you can relax. Even if you can’t travel, you can take off a week and do things with your family around your hometown.

Experts agree that reducing stress is essential in balancing your work life with your family life. Take these steps to eliminate the negative forces in your life and replace them with positive influences.

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Featured photo credit: 10 Ways to Instantly Reduce Stress at Work via lifehack.org

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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