How Not to Let Work Take Priority over Spending Time With Family

In modern life, it’s increasingly difficult to switch off from work. Technology streamlines life and opens up new opportunities but it doesn’t reduce our workloads.

Now, many employees find it difficult to switch off when emails continue to pop up on their smartphone. The knock on effect here is less time spent with family.

How do you stop this trend and embrace some much needed downtime? We’ve got some handy tips for you so you won’t let work take priority over spending time with family:

1. Turn your devices off

The pressure on modern employees is enormous, which makes it tempting to continue working long after your 5pm finish. Of course, most staff aren’t paid for this overtime.

There’s even a new phenomenon called “leavism”. This is where employees take holiday time to catch up on their backlog of work, rather than relax.

Constantly working is a drain on your health. You simply need time off to recover. It’ll make you more effective at work too. So once you get back home, turn your devices off. Get away from work and catch up with your family, indulge in a few hobbies, and relax.

This may prove difficult if you’re used to firing off emails at 11:30 pm. So condition yourself gradually to make this marked shift. It should become part of your routine.

Over the course of a few weeks, you’ll lapse into more family-friendly activities. It all starts with hitting the off button – or, at the very least, your “do not disturb” feature.

2. Request flexible work time

Changing your work hours can have an enormous effect. You may want to start earlier or later, for instance.

Have a word with your manager to see if this is possible. It can open up new opportunities to ensure you can spend more time with your loved ones.

3. Take a new career route

If it’s not possible for new working hours, then a change of career path could open up new opportunities.

There are endless new opportunities available for you. Actively hunting for new roles can open up a new world for you. After all, many modern businesses are in tune with a sound work life balance. Your next step could lead to a better job, plus more time to spend with your family.

But how do you go about a career change?Here’s a guide for when you have no idea how to change career:

Is It Time for a Career Change? Find Your Answer Here with These Steps

4. Work remotely

Of course, you could improve your work life balance drastically with a remote worker role. Not every career route is open to this. But if your industry is, then you could request this opportunity with your current employer.

You can check out these 17 Types of Online Work at Home Jobs that Really Pay Off.

5. Relax before heading home

Arriving home from work feeling stressed out and unhappy can only have negative results on your family. As such, relax properly before you return home.

Take a trip to the gym, for instance, or take a walk around your local area. Do some shopping. Pick up a book you want to read. Buy a present for the kids.

Effectively switching off before you get back can turn your mind off from work. The result is quality time with your family, rather than downtime sabotaged through work stresses.

6. Make Friday a special night

For many employees, Friday night signals the end of the week. It’s a date to look forward to and cherish. So turn it into an ultra-special occasion — one that you can look forward to throughout the week.

If you add several relaxation activities to your calendar each week, make sure Friday night is a priority. It’s a chance to celebrate the weekend. And you can start that off with some family activities — a film night, for example, or a meal out. That sets the scene for your weekend.

7. Talk about something other than work

If your life revolves around work and you struggle to have conversations about anything other than work, then you can broaden your conversational horizons.

I’m not on about gossiping of course, but little instances that can shift talk away from something other than what’s going on at the office.

You can make steps in your professional life to network with people beyond asking about their work. Talk to your colleagues about their family life, for example, to find common ground. Try these tips on How to Talk to People When You Have Nothing to Say to add more meaning to your conversations at work.

8. Reduce your stress levels

Stress has an adverse affect on anyone. Over time, it can sap your morale and leave you feel negative. Combatting it with positive activities can ensure your time off with your family is properly spent.

Yoga is one such example but there are plenty of other options. Just take a look at these 8 simple relaxation techniques to help reduce stress.

As you’d expect, there are also plenty of calming apps to help you along. Headspace is a lea ding example – check out the video below. It’s free and offers tips on meditation to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. Or there’s Calm , which offers meditative sound effects and sleep stories. Also, it’s free!

9. View busyness as bad

It’s something of an intellectual pursuit in modern business. Prove to others you can hack an enormous workload. This is an outlook championed by the likes of Elon Musk. We all see it in the news as defining what “success” is.

But no matter how brilliant you are, rest is essential. In fact, if you’re overburdened with work, then your productivity will drop. Your mental health will also take a battering.

There’s a school of thought that also suggests busyness is bad for business.[1] In fact, there’s now a backlash against it. In Scientific American’s article Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime,[2] it’s argued:

“Throughout history people have intuited that such puritanical devotion to perpetual busyness does not in fact translate to greater productivity and is not particularly healthy. What if the brain requires substantial downtime to remain industrious and generate its most innovative ideas?

Downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life. A wandering mind unsticks us in time so that we can learn from the past and plan for the future. Moments of respite may even be necessary to keep one’s moral compass in working order and maintain a sense of self. most innovative ideas?”

10. And finally… have more fun

Focus on making sure fun becomes an integral part of your life. Instead of becoming bogged down in stress and work commitments, find new opportunities to focus on.

You can start by taking a look at making parenting easier. This can ease the pressures you face alongside your job. If you’re bossing parenting, then you’ll also head into work feeling confident and ready to take on your latest projects.

But you can also advance your relationships with fun family activities. As mentioned above, you can turn your focus towards making weekends as fun as possible. This list of 53 fun things for the weekend is another step in the right direction.

Reference

Harvard Business Review: Is Busyness Bad for Business?
Scientific American: Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime

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Well-being is a term often utilized in psychology literature to describe healthy individuals. It is often associated with contentment, happiness, or fulfillment. However, there is debate about what well-being really is and even how to spell it.[1] With so much confusion around the definition, individuals are often left to wonder what well-being is and how to achieve it.

This article will unlock the answers to three questions:

  • What is well-being?
  • How is it measured?
  • How is it improved?

What Is Well-Being?

Well-being includes a combination of feeling states and lifestyle factors. Feeling states associated with it may include happiness and contentment. Lifestyle factors may include feelings of fulfillment, achieving one’s potential, having some control in life, and engaging in meaningful relationships. Well-being is also associated with positive mental health.[2] In simpler terms, It is a construct used to describe many facets of life including psychological, physical, and social health. Synonyms for it include happiness, health, positive feelings, welfare, and wellness.[3]

It may also be defined as a state of balance or homeostasis. This balance is achieved by having enough resources to cope with life’s challenges.[4] Both challenges and resources may be prevalent in three areas: physical, psychological, and social.

When there is an abundance of challenges and inadequate resources, well-being is lost. However, humans are designed to work towards achieving a state of balance. Well-being is linked to interpersonal, professional, and personal success. It often results in greater productivity at work, increased learning and creativity, prosocial behavior, and fulfilling relationships.[5]

Why is well-being difficult to define? Likely because it encompasses a variety of life experiences and feeling states that may vary among individuals. To help individuals assess themselves, several measures have been created.

How Is Well-Being Measured?

Researchers need to agree on a standardized definition of well-being to accurately measure it. An adequate measure must therefore encompass every facet of well-being, including as a feeling state as well as a lifestyle. In other words, an effective measurement takes both life satisfaction and functioning into account.

Well-being can be broken down further into two categories: objective and subjective.

Objective Well-Being

Objective well-being looks at standards of living. This is useful for research looking at cultures, countries, or groups of people. It includes measuring education, income, safety, and life expectancy.[6]

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United National Development Programme, and the Italian Statistics Bureau have identified six areas for study related to objective well-being:

  1. Health
  2. Job opportunities
  3. Socioeconomic development
  4. Politics
  5. Safety
  6. Environment

Subjective Well-Being

Subjective well-being includes an emotional and mental assessment of an individual’s life. Two prominent subjective measures are life satisfaction and happiness. Measuring subjective well-being is useful for predicting mental health patterns.[7] It is determined intrinsically by the individual. Regardless of how their life might be perceived by others on the outside, this measures how individuals feel on the inside.

Subjective well-being can be broken down further into two categories: hedonic and contentment. The hedonic component relates to feelings, emotions, and moods. The contentment component relates to thoughts and whether an individual feels their life has been fulfilling. Individuals often measure their thoughts and life fulfillment against social and cultural backgrounds.

In other words, it is important to consider the context in which an individual lives. Individuals may perceive their lives differently based on social and cultural expectations. Furthermore, individuals cannot be measured without taking their environment into consideration.

In 2013, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development determined subjective well-being to be an important factor in assessing well-being. Because it is perceived by the individual, it is often assessed by self-report measures. In other words, individuals rate their own level of well-being through psychological tests.[8]

There are five areas associated with subjective well-being:

  1. Genetic factors
  2. Basic and psychological needs
  3. Social environment
  4. Economics and income
  5. Political environment

How to Improve Well-Being

There are many ways that individuals can improve their sense of well-being. It is a complex construct with a variety of factors at play. Therefore, there is no one, perfect solution for it. Instead, the goal should be to engage in a holistic approach the incorporates a variety of factors.

The following methods are not comprehensive. What works well for one individual may not be the right approach for others. Instead, these approaches should be considered suggestions for improving well-being.

Individuals looking for a truly comprehensive assessment of well-being should consider scheduling an appointment with a psychologist, therapist, or medical doctor. These individuals may also provide resources, prescribe medication, or share tips for making lifestyle changes to assist in overall improvement.

1. Spend Time in Nature

There is evidence to support the claim that interactions with nature increase well-being. This includes an increase in positive emotions, happiness, and subjective well-being. Time spent in nature is also linked with an increased sense of meaning and purpose in life as well as the ability to manage challenges in life.[9]

One study found that spending at least 120 minutes in nature each week was associated with greater health. In the study, it did not matter if that time was spent all at once or stretched out over the course of a week. Peak gains in well-being occurred between 200 and 300 minutes of nature time, weekly.[10]

2. Practice Gratitude

Individuals who experience gratitude as a trait experience increased well-being. Trait gratitude refers to the willingness to see the unearned value in one’s experience. State gratitude is a feeling that occurs after individuals experience an act of kindness and, therefore, feel motivated to reciprocate.

One study assessed state gratitude, during Covid-19 in China. Individuals were instructed to journal while practicing gratitude for 14-days, which included a one-month follow-up. The study found that gratitude practiced in a natural setting during times of increased stress and anxiety resulted in increased positive feelings and increased life satisfaction. However, increased life satisfaction was not sustained after one month.[11]

As a result of the aforementioned study, there is evidence to support a daily practice of journaling and gratitude for increased well-being. Individuals should practice both trait and state gratitude, whenever possible. Over time, these practices will become a habit and lead to lasting improvement.

3. Develop Increased Awareness

Increased awareness is associated with improvements in positive subjective experience, increased self-regulation and goal-directed behavior, and successful interactions with others.

Increased awareness can be attained through meta-awareness. Meta-awareness is the ability to consciously notice an emotion, thought, or sensory experience. It is a skill that can be taught. Mindfulness-based meditation and psychotherapy are two ways in which meta-awareness is learned. Kindness and compassion meditations are both linked with improved well-being. Both Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) may help increase awareness.[12]

4. Achieve Work-Life Balance

An individual’s workplace has the potential to either help or harm them. Workplace factors that negatively impact well-being include:

  • Work-related pressure or demands
  • Lack of autonomy or flexibility
  • Poor coworker and supervisor relationships
  • Shift work
  • Longer workday length

Employers can directly improve their workers’ well-being by providing paid leave, opportunities for salary growth, support for individuals with disabilities or those returning after injury, and access to health care. Improvements in the work environment and job structure may also be helpful.[13]

Worker well-being is beneficial both for workers and their employers. It is associated with improvements in:

  • Performance at work
  • Coping with stress and self-regulation
  • Satisfying relationships, prosocial communication, and cooperation
  • Immune system functioning
  • And physical and psychological health

Workplace well-being is also associated with a decrease in burnout, stress, and sleep-related issues.[14]

5. Seek Out Positive Relationships

Individuals with caring and positive connections often rank higher in well-being. On the flip side, poor social relationships can be more damaging than excessive drinking and smoking. Positive social relationships also help to protect against mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

Prosocial behaviors are important for forming social connections that lead to increased well-being. Appreciation and gratitude are both pro-social traits. For example, focusing on the positive qualities and actions of others. Empathy for others also contributes to higher levels of well-being. Lastly, generosity is also a strong predictor of life satisfaction.[15]

6. Stay Hopeful

Hope is a concept often related to spiritual and religious traditions. However, it entered the world of psychology around the 20th century. It is now an important construct in positive psychology. Hope can be defined broadly as the belief that things can get better, and that goals are achievable.

Hope is associated with an increase in:

  • Emotional adjustment
  • Positive feelings
  • Life satisfaction and quality of life
  • Social support
  • A sense of purpose

Takeaways

Well-being is a construct that is hard to define, yet widely cited in psychological literature. It is linked with feelings of happiness and contentment. It might also be described as a sense of purpose or satisfaction with life.

To accurately measure it, there needs to be an agreed-upon definition. In general, it has been separated into objective and subjective categories. Objective well-being considers social and cultural constructs. Subjective well-being refers to the individual’s felt sense and internal assessment of their own.

There are several things that individuals can do to improve their well-being. However, no one thing will improve everything. Rather, this requires a holistic practice of mental and physical health. Nevertheless, individuals who spend time in nature, develop positive connections, practice gratitude, stay hopeful, and develop awareness have a greater chance of experiencing better well-being.

More Tips For Your Well-Being

  • 74 Healthy Habits That Will Drastically Improve Every Aspect of Your Life
  • How to Manage Your Emotional Energy For Mental Well-Being
  • 30 Ways to Practice Self-Love and Be Good to Yourself

Reference

International Journal of Wellbeing: The challenge of defining wellbeing
BMC: Well-being is more than happiness and life satisfaction: a multidimensional analysis of 21 countries
SpringerLink: Well-Being: Physical, Psychological, Social
International Journal of Wellbeing: The challenge of defining wellbeing
BMC: Well-being is more than happiness and life satisfaction: a multidimensional analysis of 21 countries
ScienceDirect: Current recommendations on the selection of measures for well-being
ScienceDirect: Current recommendations on the selection of measures for well-being
SpringerLink: Measuring objective and subjective well-being: dimensions and data sources
Science Advances: Nature and mental health: An ecosystem service perspective
Nature: Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing
Oxford Academic: Feeling Gratitude is Associated With Better Well-Being Across the Lifespan: A Daily Diary Study During the Covid-19 Outbreak
PNAS: The plasticity of well-being: A training-based framework for the cultivation of human flourishing
Sage Journals: The Value of Worker Well-Being
SpringerLink: Workplace happiness, well-being and their relationship with psychological capital: A study of Hungarian Teachers
PNAS: The plasticity of well-being: A training-based framework for the cultivation of human flourishing

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