We all understand how important work-life balance is. We’ve sworn that we’ll get more sleep, eat a balanced diet and make time for leisure, but sometimes you hit a crunch period and no amount of resolutions will help. When things get tough you can find yourself with no option but to power through, on too little sleep and too little leisure, until you’re out the other side. It’s not ideal, but there are ways that you can make it work for you without burning out too quickly.
1. Get out into the daylight
Whether you’ve worked all night or haven’t seen much sun due to long working hours, a dose of Vitamin D can give your energy a huge boost and make you feel as if you can carry on a bit longer. Don’t just open your curtains - stand up, walk outside, go for a fifteen minute walk. That tiny fraction out of your day will reward you in improved mood and productivity for hours. If your job allows it, take your work outside for an hour. A change of scenery can make all the difference.
2. Eat small, protein-heavy meals
Skipping food in favour of caffeine will just make you jittery and anxious. But a large carb-loaded lunch will find you dreaming of your bed and unable to concentrate. Small meals throughout the day, with lots of protein, will keep your blood sugar levels steady and fuel you as you power through.
3. Prioritise self-care
One or two days on minimal sleep is one thing, but if you’re facing down a stretch of a week or more of high-stress high-demand work, you need to make sure you’re being looked after. Look at the things you usually do to take care of yourself and find a cut-down version. For example, you may not be able to make that yoga class, but try and squeeze in a ten minute meditation instead. No time for the gym? Even a ten minute walk will help. A power nap can also go a long way to compensating for late nights, but not for long term.
4. Get help where you can
Now is the time to ask family or friends to help out where possible. Can your partner take the domestic burden for a little while, and would grandma like to have the children over for the weekend? Paid services, like dog walkers and cleaners, can also help free you up to concentrate on the work burst. You can repay any favours when things quieten down again.
Remember, nobody can run on empty for too long, so if you’re using these techniques long term then you need to step back and revaluate your overall work-life balance. But in the short term, they’ll help you hang in there in the crunch times and hopefully thrive.
This article was written by Tanya Ashworth-Keppel on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: Psych Central, Entrepreneur.