Tag Archives: work-life balance

Managing a Healthy Work-Life Balance


Managing a Healthy Work-Life Balance

work life balance

Straight, No Chaser welcomes Laurie Larson to our contributor panel to discuss creating and maintaining your work-life balance. That sounds like a #72HoursInADay type of proposition!

In the digital age, achieving a healthy work-life balance is harder than ever. You can practically work from anywhere on any device! So how do you turn down work in your spare time?

The challenge becomes even more difficult for those who work from home. How do you turn off your work brain and switch on your home brain when it all takes place in the same venue?

These are questions people have been asking for years and they’re worthy of attention. The lessons we learn from classics like “A Christmas Carol” reign true. It’s never worth giving up your life for the sake of work. It can be difficult to make this decision and draw these lines with the pressures to succeed, but it’s the only way to go on. Working hard is important, but you should know when you’ve stepped over into the realms of overworking.

Overworking and burning out is a serious danger you can experience. Not only can this ruin your professional career, but it can also dig away at your personal life, health, and happiness. By devoting too much time to work and forgetting about other areas of your life, it’s likely you’ll experience the effects of social isolation and even sleep deprivation when stress keeps you up at night.

Long story short: A healthy work-life balance is vital to maintain. But how do you go about that?

Five tips to help you walk the tightrope with ease!

work life balance

  1. Designate physical spaces for your work

Remember when you were in college and they told you to never do homework in bed because then it would make you associate bed with work instead of relaxation and you’d have trouble sleeping? The same goes for work.

Be careful where you choose to take your work as it can have a big effect on how you think about that space in the future. If you regularly bring work home and work on the couch, your work thoughts have infiltrated that space. If possible, avoid bringing work into your home at all, but if you have to then try to designate one area like an office or work room. This will make it easier for your brain to switch off your work brain when you’re at home. And whatever you do, keep work out of the bedroom!

  1. Stop sacrificing sleep

Speaking of the bedroom, you should work on developing a healthier relationship with your sleep. It may be tempting to push to meet those pressing deadlines by skimping out on your sleep for a few nights, but the effects of consistently losing a few hours of sleep can be detrimental to your overall well-being. Without proper sleep, you’ll experience brain fog and put yourself at risk for serious health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

Keeping up a healthy sleeping schedule will benefit you in the long run, improving your focus and productivity during your waking hours. Take the time to invest in your sleep by optimizing your bedroom environment for better sleep. This means hanging up shades to block out light, using a noise machine if needed for quiet, and make any other necessary changes to turn your bedroom into an oasis for rest and relaxation at the end of your long days.

  1. Set boundaries with your boss

If you don’t teach people how to treat you, they will walk all over you. It can seem intimidating to push back to your superiors, but unless you offer transparencies into what you’re actually capable of achieving and what kind of tasks are reasonable to expect, they will continue piling on more until you can’t handle it any longer.

Strange as it may sound, you have to teach your boss how to treat you. Set up expectations early on in your employment of when you’re willing to work, respectfully so of course. Don’t be so against having to work after hours every so often, but don’t be so pushy that you stay two extra hours each day.

  1. Pencil in time for friends and family

As mentioned before, overworking can quickly lead to social isolation. When you’re too busy working and frequently deny other’s requests to engage in social activities, they will eventually stop inviting you. It’s likely you’ll have to go out of your way and start making efforts to have some socialization time again. You may receive rejection at first, especially if you’ve burned some bridges, but your true friends and family will come around and be happy to see you again.

Humans are social creatures and we need time around our favorite people to fulfill our needs. Don’t let work make you forget about the other parts of your life.

  1. Pencil in time for yourself

As important as socialization is, so too is having time to yourself. It can feel hard to find times to prioritize yourself, especially if you feel guilt for relaxing. It’s time for the guilt to come to an end.

For an easy way to find more time for yourself each day, create a wind down routine that starts one hour before your bedtime. Take this time to do what you need to relax. Dim the lights, take a bath, read a book, or anything else that makes you feel good. This will also be beneficial for maintaining your mental health, clearing your mind after work, and helping maintain a healthy “life” side of the work-life balance.

How Laurie Maintains a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Laurie frequently writes on ways to help others improve their sleep health and overall well-being. You can find some of her work on sleep health topics here. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors any way she can.

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Straight, No Chaser: Understanding and Controlling Stress


Have you ever noticed how some people seem to strive in stressful environments? The success of firemen, police officers, air traffic controllers and many other professionals theoretically is based on being able to maintain an appropriate disposition and high level of performance in stressful situations. The entire medical speciality of emergency medicine is based on the premise that the team performs even better the more urgent the situation. I start today’s conversation with this consideration because I want you to realize that stress by itself isn’t the problem. Stress is simply a feeling of emotional or physical tension. In fact, stress can be a powerful motivator. After all, that’s what the “fight or flight” response is – a response to stress. The issue becomes when you can’t manage your stress.
stress sources
Remember that stress comes in different forms, including emotional and physical. Emotional stress is mental, and it impacts your ability to respond to situations you find challenging. This type of stress is individualized – what one person considers stressful, someone else might not.
stress health effx
Physical stress is the body’s response to triggers. A simple example is what happens if you place your hand in fire. Your body gets burned. That burn is a physical stress on your body. Interestingly, each type of stressor may result in the other. For example, that burn causes you to have emotional pain to accompany the physical pain. In another instance, your emotional stress may produce physical stress such as sweating, vomiting, blackouts or abnormal heartbeats.
Stress mgmt
You have to get in front of tough situations and learn stress management. You need to learn to detect, control, and channel tension away from its potentially crippling effects. Don’t think it can’t be done: just as the fireman runs into a burning building, the pilot navigates a crashing plane to safety or the emergency physician saves a life without being swallowed up by the magnitude of the moment, you can conquer the challenge confronting you.


Today, I want to focus on 5 factors that play into your development of physical and emotional stress: attitude, diet, physical activity, relaxation habits and support systems. These factors not only work against you if they’re not healthily managed and working to your advantage, but they are the basis for the stress management program we’ll build for you.

  • Attitude: Your perspective and attitude make you interpret the same situation or trigger either negatively, positively or indifferently. A negative attitude goes along with more stress.
  • Diet: One’s poor eating habits literally place the body in a state of physical stress and weakens the immune system, resulting in an easier ability to contract a variety of diseases. Poor nutrition eventually will affect the brain and result in additional physical and emotional stress resulting from sub-optimal function of the brain.
  • Physical activity: Insufficient physical activity will eventually put the body in a stressed state due to diminished blood flow to your organs. Just as a feeling of well-being will reduce stress, being ill and/or out-of-shape will increase stress.
  • Relaxation: Your inclination and willingness to allow your body to rest and recharge has ramifications for both physical and emotional stress. This involves taking time to sleep as well as enjoy life. If you’re not relaxed, you’re probably going to be stressed.
  • Support systems: The presence or absence of individuals and groups to help you through potentially stressful situations has the power to diffuse or magnify a situation and its associated stress.

Please take the time between this post and the upcoming post (on developing a stress management program for you) to assess your own situation, including the factors just mentioned. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and be better prepared for what comes next.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offer. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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