Finding the Work/Life Balance

These last few weeks have been really tough for creating a good balance between work life and home life. It feels like a constant struggle not to let the negativity at work (bad atmosphere, uncertain future yada yada) affect the precious time I have at home with my family.

So, what are my tips for creating a good work/life balance? Read on…

Find a job you enjoy doing

Love your job

This is easier said than done, especially in the current job market. It can seem like you’re lucky to have a job, and should stick with it even if you don’t like the company, your boss, your co-workers, the work itself etc.

But, I would encourage anyone who is able to, to make a career move when you are unhappy in your workplace. It might take time, you might have to spend some free time looking for new opportunities, network with potential new employers, maybe you want to retrain and that might mean a pay-cut? Sometimes, you have to take the leap!

Of course, if you’re stuck in a job you don’t like, here’s my more practical tips for finding balance.

Make your lunch hour your own

lunch hour
In the UK, a lot of workers have a 9-5 contract or similar, but they aren’t paid for an hour in the middle of the day a.k.a lunchtime. It can be easy to grab a quick lunch and eat at your desk, or work right through, but it is important to take that break.

You could read a book or magazine, window shop, get some exercise or catch-up with friends and family members.

When I was working in an office with changing facilities, I used to go for a 20 minute jog which meant I could still change and eat lunch within the hour. This helped to take my mind off work and also meant I didn’t have to feel guilty about spending time exercising when I got home and really just want to play with the toddler!

Leave on Time

5pm

If you don’t like your job, but you work hard during your contracted hours, leave on time. Don’t stay late as most studies show that it doesn’t make you more productive and your manager probably doesn’t notice the extra time you spend at work. Why spend more time than you have to somewhere you don’t like? Go on, log off, shut down, leave!

The De-Stress Commute

car singing

I’ve been making conscious decisions to leave the bad vibes in the car on the drive home, by playing my favourite music and just rocking out! Ignore the funny looks from other drivers, blast the music and sing your heart out! It’s amazing what a good 1-woman karaoke session can do for your stress levels!

Other options might be listening to podcasts, reading¬† a book, talk to friends and family (hands free if you’re driving!) or if you’re walking why not use a route that takes you through a park or somewhere with a nice view.

Get Outside

feed the ducks

Most people spend the majority of the day indoors, sitting at a desk or standing all day in a store. During the warmer months especially, you can start to feel resentful that you’re spending the majority of your time inside, and we all know we need the Vitamin Ds from the sun to be happy and healthy!

So, after you’ve finished work, get outside! It might be as simple as going for a walk, spend time in your garden, go feed the ducks, visit the park or my personal favourite,¬† sit in a beer garden! If you’re planning on exercising,¬† choose an outdoor workout. Running, cycling, yoga and HIIT/bodyweight exercises can all be done outside.

Be in the moment with your family

family

When you get home, make a conscious effort to be in the moment with your family. Ask them how their day was, talk about your upcoming plans, be active together or just watch a movie together! Don’t let your bad thoughts about work affect the precious time you have with your loved ones.

Make after-work or weekend plans

after work

Just thinking about something fun you have planned can help to minimise the impact of a job you don’t like. Fill up your free time with exciting plans so that by the time Sunday night comes around, you’re not thinking about the impending Monday and the week ahead, but instead you’re reflecting on all of the awesome things you’ve done! You’ll also have something to talk about with your colleagues rather than office gossip!

Which leads me to my last tip…

Be Switzerland

Be Switzerland

It can be very tempting to join in on office gossip and politics, but from my own experience, this only ever has a negative impact.

If you’re listening to others express their negative experiences, it can start to feel like it has happened to you as well. If you want to offer an objective ear to your colleagues, make sure you rationalise that their opinions don’t have to be your own (unless of course, you totally agree with them).

If you’re unhappy, think carefully who you share this with at work, and if you want to share at all. It can be cathartic to have a good bitch sometimes, but what you thought was a throwaway comment or just an in-the-moment stress can become someone else’s conversation, and the issue can become bigger than it really is.

If you’re having real problems at work, experiencing bullying or harrassment, talk to your manager, or go above them. Talk to your union or trade body if you have one. Don’t let serious things go unheard, as it can lead to stress which isn’t good for anyone!

What are your tips for creating a good work/life balance?
xoxo

*All the images I used in this post were taken from Google searches, I don’t own any of the image rights.

Friday Round Up – Fighting Stress Eating

This week has just felt rubbish! A negative work environment is really affecting my mood, and whilst I’m in the process of looking for new jobs, my stress levels are creeping up.

Normally, this would lead to some serious cases of binge eating and using food to make me feel better. Not this week though! When I’ve felt myself about to spiral out of control, I’ve taken a step back, thought about why I’m about to eat the entire contents of my fridge, and made better decisions.

On Tuesday I’d had a particularly bad day, and the moment I got home I was in the kitchen, looking through the cupboards to find something, anything, to eat. I wasn’t particularly hungry, but I felt that desire to just eat until I didn’t feel sad about work anymore.

As I opened one door, I thought to myself, will I feel better if I eat a jar of fluff and peanut butter? Or will I be sacrificing my clean eating during the week to feel a moment of relief, and then guilt once the binge was over?

I left the kitchen, took a few deep breaths and focused all of my energy on the toddler, who is a far better distraction from work stress than chocolate!

I’ll be sharing my tips for a better work/life balance on Sunday!

For the most part this week, I have been eating clean, and have really packed in the veggies! I’ve also gotten back into the swing of things in terms of exercise.

Apple and Almonds
Apple slices and almonds – my new go to snack at my desk
veg stir fry
The makings of a delicious vegetable stir-fry with rice noodles earlier this week
10k Run
Getting back to my sub-1 hour 10k with a race in 2.5 weeks!

20160817_201042

Chicken goodness bowl
Chicken goodness bowl – baked chicken with chipotle jam, peppers, carrots, peas, broccoli and wholewheat cous cous
Zumba
Very sweaty after Zumba!
Breakfast Bowl
Breakfast Bowl – strawberries and melon, The Collective passion fruit and Fuel10k protein granola
Garden
Working on our yard – we only have a small outside space but I’m trying to make it a sanctuary!

And that’s it! make sure you check out my post on Sunday about life balance, especially if you’re not loving your job at the moment!

Happy Friday! xoxo

Balance it out BABY!

One of the reasons that ‘diets’ often fail is because we limit ourselves too much. We stop eating anything that might not be great for us completely, rather than just reducing the amount of these foods that we eat.

Me, I love myself a bit of chocolate, and if I decided that I wasn’t going to eat chocolate because it wasn’t ‘healthy’, it would immediately make me want chocolate and I would end up bingeing.

So you need to learn to balance out the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ – not a 50/50 balance, more like an 80/20 balance. And some days, if you have had a really good workout or it’s a special occasion, that balance might be more 70/30 or even 60/40!

Don’t feel bad if you have the occasional treat, if you are eating really nutritious, healthy foods the rest of the time it doesn’t mean that you’ve failed, or that you will put on weight.

The Londoner, a blog about London, life, travel and FOOD has a great post about following an 80/20 diet, in fact Rosie, the author, calls it the anti-diet, precisely because you are still allowed those foods that make you feel sinfully satisfied! Hello, baked cheese in croissant pastry, yes please! You can find the post here: www.thelondoner.me/anti-diet

On a personal note, I have just eaten some delicious Galaxy smooth chocolate, but I did eat this for my lunch – I will post the recipe soon!

Wholegrains, vegetables and pesto And I even managed to wrap half of the packet of Galaxy up so that I didn’t eat the whole bar (but it is only 2pm so let’s see how long it lasts:0)

xoxo