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Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is always important, but it takes on added importance during periods of high inflation, tanking stock prices and economic uncertainty. During these periods you might feel extra pressure to excel at work and protect your income.

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This is a good time to take a step back and determine whether you are devoting too much time to work at the expense of your personal life. If so, there are some simple steps you can take to get your work-life balance back to where it needs to be. Here are five of them.

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1. Set Limits

This is a key to ensuring that you carve out enough time for relationships and activities you enjoy. A good place to start is by managing your schedule to ensure you have enough time to get everything done, according to the Mayo Clinic. Don’t overschedule yourself, and learn to say no when somebody requests time that you don’t have.

2. Detach from Work

Let’s face it — work is no longer something we leave at the office when the workday is done. With technology right there at our fingertips, it’s easy to log on to your work account at home. However, it’s important to resist the temptation because spending too many of your off-hours checking up on work can lead to chronic stress. The Mayo Clinic suggests seeking guidance from your manager about expectations for when you can disconnect. If you work from home, dress for the job and create a quiet, dedicated workspace. When the workday is over, transition to home life by changing your clothes, taking a walk or spending time with your family.

3. Take a Vacation

This is a surefire way to cut your ties from work — heading somewhere else and leaving your laptop home. Even if it’s just a one-day staycation instead of a two-week trip to Hawaii, it’s important to detach yourself from the working world completely to recharge yourself mentally and physically. Make sure you use all your allotted vacation days to develop a better work-life balance.

4. Structure Your Workday Properly

One of the easiest things you can do to achieve a better work-life balance is to maximize your efficiency while on the job. This can help ensure that you don’t have a lot of work following you home when the workday is over. Business Insider recommends setting achievable goals by implementing time-management strategies, analyzing your to-do list, and cutting out tasks that have little to no value. Think about when you are most productive at work and then block that time off for your most important work activities. Don’t spend a lot of time checking your emails and phone, because those are major time killers.  

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5. Discover New Ways to Relax

This could entail everything from practicing yoga or meditation to taking up a hobby like gardening, knitting or painting. As the Mayo Clinic notes, hobbies can help you relax, take your mind off of work, and recharge. An even better option is to find hobbies or activities you can do with your partner, family or friends, such as hiking, dancing, cycling or taking cooking classes.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.