Marlin PR
Mindfulness

5 ways you can improve your work-life balance

Working in PR can be pretty stressful. In fact, our profession usually makes it into the top ten most stressful jobs in the world, which is no mean feat. Admittedly, we don’t have to deal with life-or-death situations like surgeons or people in the armed forces often do. But juggling countless tasks from different clients, dealing with short turnaround deadlines while also managing a team, all within the few working hours we have available each day, requires serious multitasking skills and a considerable amount of brain power.

For many PR professionals, this means that they rarely switch off – especially when working with companies in different time zones. Modern communication tools have made it easier than ever before to be reachable at any time of the day and get work done from anywhere in the world. But by the same token these tools have also made it much more difficult for people to achieve a decent work-life balance. Our inability to switch off is becoming a serious problem, not just for business productivity but – more importantly – for our mental wellbeing.

Creating time within our busy schedules for some much-needed downtime is hard, especially as the odds to achieve a good work-life balance are already stacked against us from the get-go. After all, we already spend about nine hours each day at work. Add to that an average of about two hours of commuting and the eight hours of sleep most people need as a minimum to function properly, and we’re only left with five hours of actual personal time each working day. That’s just over half as much time as we are spending at work. So, we need to make the little time we have available work much harder for us.

Here are five things you can do in your spare time that help contribute to a healthier work-life balance:

1. As the old Romans used to say: Mens sana in corpore sano– a healthy mind in a healthy body.

To improve your mental wellbeing and resilience to stress, make sure you look after your physical health as well. Regular exercise has been proven to lift people’s mood, increase their energy levels and boost their memory. The NHS recommends 22 minutes of exercise a day to stay in good physical shape. So, go for a walk during your lunch break, get off one stop early on your commute or join a gym.

Exercising Man

Exercise boosts serotonin levels in the brain which

2. Mindfulness

While it is easy to think Mindfulness is just another fad like kale crisps or halloumi fries, there are scientifically proven benefits to meditating. These include stress reduction, enhanced self-awareness or a longer attention span. Just a few minutes of mindfulness each day can help you clear your head and get a bit of emotional distance to things that might be bothering you. Apps like Headspace or Calm can be a good starting point to explore meditation.

3. You are what you eat

Our body is an engine and the food we eat its fuel. If we only put in low-grade junk food, we can’t expect our body to operate at peak performance. Try and eat fruit and veg whenever you can. Make some of your lunches at home, rather than eating out. That’s not to say you can’t indulge in a burger, pizza or some chocolate from time to time, but these should be treats, rather than part of your core food intake. Your body will thank you by performing better and becoming more resilient to stress.

Healthy Food

A healthy diet is essential to feeling and looking well

4. Get enough sleep

When we sleep, our body hits the reset button. Sleep doesn’t just metaphorically help us clear our mind, it allows our brain downtime to actually physically flush out toxins that build up while we’re awake. So regular deep sleep is super important and while every person is different, there is common consensus that we should aim for an average of about eight hours of sleep each night. Try and go to bed before 10pm at least once a week. It will work wonders!

Sleeping Lady

If you find yourself nodding off on the tube - perhaps you need more sleep

5. Switch off when you're not at work

Finally, properly switching offoutside of work is probably the most important thing for our mental wellbeing, yet one of the hardest for us PR professionals to do. For starters, try and have two different phones – one for work and one for personal use. After hours and on the weekend, switch off your work phone. Equally, don’t check your emails while on leave. You might feel ready to tackle some work but this is your personal time. Work can wait. Do something you enjoy and relax. You’ve earned it!

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Date Published

August 02, 2018

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