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No More Addiction To Work: 5 Tips On Maintaining Work-Life Balance

No More Addiction To Work: 5 Tips On Maintaining Work-Life Balance

Workaholics are known to have health issues from neglecting their personal care, as well as problems that occur at home by being absent too much. Finding the illusively perfect work-life balance is difficult, but is critical to ensure that people are healthy and have harmonious lives.

Because today’s technological world makes it easy to be available and working at all hours of the day and night, it’s up to you to make some changes. Here are some work-life balance tips to help you out if you fall into the category of a workaholic or just want to cut back a bit on your 40+ hour workweek.

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1. Unplug

Technology is amazing and allows people to accomplish incredible things, from the fields of medicine to space and science. But it also means you can work from home, in your car, while on vacation, while you’re supposed to be sleeping, you get the picture. Being constantly available also means you have not set up boundaries for personal time outside of work.

Robert Brooks, a professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School who co-wrote The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence and Personal Strength in Your Lifeadvises people shut off their phones and lose themselves in the moment. The notifications you receive on your phone means you’re constantly checking it, responding to texts and emails and checking out of whatever is happening right in front of you. Brooks recommends not sending work emails while enjoying quality family time or texting while watching your kids playing in a game. Doing so also will give you the feeling that you have some control in your life and make you less prone to the stress that diminishes your health.

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2. Perfectionism

If you’re an overachiever, you tend to develop perfectionist tendencies early on, even as a young child. As you grow older, you’ aren’t juggling homework, sports, activities and a weekend job. You’re now responsible for paying the bills, getting important work done and the pressure to succeed is on. Be aware that your perfectionism will become out of reach and if you continue to strive for this level at work, you’ll end up investing more and more time in your job and eventually, you’ll burn out. Executive coach Marilyn Puder-York, who penned The Office Survival Guidesaid such behavior can become destructive. So cut yourself some slack and try to ebb the tendencies toward perfectionism.

3. Exercise

This is one thing workaholics can no longer cut from their daily schedule. Your health is already at risk by logging long hours and succumbing to stress. The way to counterbalance that is with exercise, even meditation, but if you aren’t exercising, one day you’ll find yourself wishing you had. Exercise is a great stress reducer, lifts your mood and recharges you, so you can refocus on your work. You’ll be able to work more efficiently, not longer. Just 30 minutes of sweat-inducing exercise five days a week will work wonders. Psychotherapist Bryan Robinson, who is professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and author of the book Chained to the Desksaid exercise is great for calming down a wound up worker.

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4. Prioritize

Take a minute and write down what’s most important in your life. These are your priorities. Next, decide how you will establish boundaries to ensure you are focusing on these priorities and not other time wasters. Now start trimming things from your schedule. For example, if you find yourself wasting time checking Facebook or Instagram at work, set boundaries. Allow yourself 10 minutes to scroll through your newsfeed when you’re away from your desk on a bathroom break. Once those 10 minutes are up, you’re done. Now you can return to your work refreshed from a mini-break and you allowed yourself the guilty pleasure of spending a little time on social media. If your co-workers enjoy going out for a few hours after work, but you really need to get more sleep, excuse yourself after an hour of fun and hit the hay or limit yourself to going only once a month instead.

5. Let go

Realize you cannot do everything at the same time. If you’re on deadline and your phone starts going off, check to make sure it isn’t an emergency, then leave it alone. Refocus on the project, devoting all of your time and energy to it, and you’ll get it done faster and better than if you paused to address your text or email. Nicole Poirier, owner of Chef Nicole, said she’s often interrupted with a phone call or email while she’s wrapping up a time-sensitive cooking procedure or trying to get out the door on time to an event. She has an autoreply set for her phone and email, so she’s able to focus on the project at hand, without time-draining and stressful interruptions.

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Work-Life Balance Tips

Hopefully, these work-life balance tips will help you restructure your day, your week and your life to where you are still achieving your career goals while taking care of you.

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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