Over the last two weeks, the team here at The Cheshire Business Directory have been inundated with inquiries from businesses across Cheshire and Greater Manchester. With normality now in our grasp, businesses are working harder than ever to be seen and heard.
But with these raft of changes, expectations and additional pressures, it’s far too easy for those work-life balance scales to become misaligned.
We know that maintaining a productive work-life balance is key in reducing stress, anxiety and overwhelm. Yet rates of work-related stress have grown significantly since 2019.
So how do you achieve the work-life balance you deserve?
If the jobs we’re doing aren’t meaningful or impactful, why are we doing them? Is this Zoom really necessary? Do we really need to meet to discuss this? Is the effort I’m putting in to my social media paying off?
To keep productivity high, focus on your high-priority jobs, and plan future work out across the week or month in manageable, achievable chunks. When successes arise, savour and share them.
And remember, we’ll never be able to tick all the boxes, or keep each of our plates spinning in perfect unison. There’s always something else to do, so be assured in the fact that some things will have to wait. You come first.
Where possible, try and include some short bursts of exercise into your daily routine. Boost the blood flow to your brain by doing a series of squats and press-ups. Professor Bailey, from the University of South Wales, states that the high and low blood flow experienced when practising squat stands ‘releases the chemicals needed for the brain to become more intelligent.’ Professor Bailey’s work on brain-feeding exercise found that just 3 – 5 minutes of squat stands, 3 times a week, is better for the brain than many steady-state exercises. And to boost the feel-good even more, turn up your favourite music and sing along.
Enjoy a fake commute
With so many of us working from home, or hybrid working, why not devise a fake commute? Whether it’s a walk around the block or a run to the top of the road and back, creating a sense of physical separation between home and work is vital in achieving and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
It’s widely understood that social connectedness improves our emotional well-being. So try to make time to connect with a friend or colleague every day, whether it’s virtually or in person.
Nurturing friendships requires energy and time. Yet many business owners just can’t seem to find the hours in the day. So aim to keep one evening a week free to Zoom with a friend, arrange a social meet up or take that class you’ve been meaning to start.
Be strict with social media
Like it or loathe it, social media is a key part of many businesses. So if you’re in charge of your business’s social handles, it’s important to designate a set amount of time to their daily running and maintenance. Responding to inquires throughout your day will only distract you from the task at hand. Send out a professional, detailed auto-reply to all new inquires outside of these hours.
Connect with nature
Running a business is intense. So try to completely switch off at least once every day. No phone. No headphones. And no beeps or pings. Get outside and connect with nature. Draw your attention to the sky, and watch the clouds. Observe their shape, movements, colours and textures. Or close your eyes and listen to the birds’ song. Hear their distinct trills and calls ascending and descending.
Author and psychologist, Dr David Cohen, believes to-do lists provide our lives with structure, and can help to alleviate anxiety. When our daily tasks are written down, they become more tangible and less abstract. It’s important to make these lists realistic. Make sure the timeframes you provide are achievable. Once you’ve ticked off a job, reflect on its success and move on.
To-do lists can also be motivational. Look back at lists from 6 months ago, and reflect on how far you’ve come.
A poor diet can leave us feeling sluggish and lethargic. So charge into each day knowing your lunch and snacks are all sorted. Make a one pot dish on Sunday, and portion it into 5 freezer-safe, microwavable dishes. Delicious, healthy and fast – what more could you ask for? Where possible, limit sugary snacks and drinks, and instead opt for brain-boosting snacks, such as nuts, seeds and berries.
If you’re a business owner, try to foster an environment where discussing mental health and work-life balance is the norm. Where participation, equality and respect are all valued. Where it’s okay to say, ‘I’m struggling and I need some help.’
If your mental health is suffering due to work-related stress, there is help available. Check out the NHS stress support page for more information.
Want to get your business seen and heard, but haven’t got the time?
Then The Cheshire Business Directory can help.
We support hundreds of businesses across Cheshire and Greater Manchester. The team and I help them to grow, connect and thrive.
As well as running successful networking events, we ensure businesses get the reach they deserve using a range of online and in person strategies, from social media advertising to bespoke leaflet drops.
With a range of marketing packages to suit all budgets, we’ve got you covered.
To find out how we can help you, call me, Kerry, on 07501 896 445.