As we prepare for the coming of 2018, goals, reflections, and resolutions are at the forefront of minds across the world. While many will focus on sloughing off excess holiday weight, others may turn their attention to wellness — perhaps towards the elusive goal of reaching a perfect balance between work and life.
“Everyone talks about work/life balance as something to achieve, but now I realize it’s not a destination or a strive for perfect balance, it’s an ongoing work in progress,” Shelly Smith, a marriage and family therapist, said in an interview with PsychCentral. “As our lives change in various ways, we have to adjust our self-care practices to re-balance work/life.”
Professionals hoping to manage their time better in 2018 can start by establishing a daily routine. Carving out specific times of the day for exercise, food, and sleep ensures that quotidian self-care isn’t forgotten in the onslaught of never-ending work and family matters.
And while cutting out technology isn’t a necessary step, minimizing time spent on social media (or, at the very least, keeping track of time spent online every day) can help you remain mindful. Robert Brooks, a professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, told Forbes that people who refrain from texting at their kids’ soccer games or sending work emails during family time can “feel a greater sense of control over their lives.”
Professionals should also remember to take advantage of time off. In 2016, an estimated 662 million vacation days went unused in the United States. Smith recommended taking “one day per month as a personal ‘mental health day’ and taking a full week off every three to four months for a mental reset. Whether it’s vacation or staycation, clearing your mind for an extended period of time can allow you to reap benefits back in the office.