A recent study by the ACTU found that more than 70 percent of Australian workers feel like they are working harder for less, as bosses expect them to work more extended hours and perform unpaid overtime. Add to this the proliferation of smartphones, which means we have access to work anywhere at any time and we’ve got a population who are working more than they’re playing. How many times have you replied to a work email at 9 am on a Saturday morning? Probably more than you'd like to admit.
But what is this doing to our health? According to a recent Australian Bureau of statistics study, 35% of Australian men and 42% of Australian women always or often fell rushed or pressed for time. We know that stress if left unchecked, can cause severe problems including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes, so how do we break this cycle before it’s too late? We’ve put together a list of five practical ways to change this unhealthy pattern, and one of them includes making time for your favourite sport, swimming!
Part of the problem is that we are setting unrealistic goals, yes it would be great to get through the whole stack of paperwork before lunchtime, but sometimes that isn’t possible. Be realistic about your workload and your deadline. Start every workday by making a “to do list” and tick each one off as you go. Put the highest priority tasks at the top and the lowest at the bottom. Being able to meet milestones, however small, makes us feel a sense of accomplishment and control, which will help contain levels of stress.
We know it can be tempting to procrastinate, and sometimes you find yourself pretending to be interested in Greg’s weekend plans, rather than getting your work done. However, when we delay, the task often becomes more significant in our minds until it seems impossible. So when facing a big project, break it down into sections and reward yourself with a five-minute break every time you complete an aspect. The less time you listen to Greg’s plans the more time you can spend relaxing with your friends and family.
The same ATCU study found that more than half of Australian workers - 59 percent, feared they could lose their jobs in the next few years. It’s not surprising then that most Australians just grin and bear it, even at the expense of their health. However, you might find your boss more receptive than you think. Try having a conversation about how you feel you could be more productive, maintain more achievable goals and still have a personal life. It' also important to communicate if you won't be available for certain hours during the day or weekend because of any issues. Let your manager and colleagues know, and get their full support.
Mobile consumption and usage have never been higher in Australia. According to studies the average 25-35-year-old looks at their device at least fifty times per day. The same technology that makes our lives so easy is also starting to burn us out. We understand that you need to be accessible and it’s hard to let go of this crutch. Start off with baby steps, have at least one hour of "smartphone free" time a day. Psychologists recommend using dinner as a great incentive for switching off our phones. Enjoy a meal as a family and make sure phones don't make it to the table. This way everyone is held accountable to stay present and engaged.
The benefits of regular exercise are innumerable and have been particularly advantageous in reducing stress. Any activity will do, whether it’s a run around the park or a Pilate’s workout in your living room, whatever works. However, recent studies have shown the benefits of swimming laps. Getting in the pool is the perfect way to unwind after a stressful day and will force you to put down the phone and focus on mindfulness. Swimming is regarded as a highly effective way to remain fit and healthy thanks to its low impact and high cardiovascular benefits it’s a perfect sport for any age.
Achieving the elusive “work-life balance” can often feel like an impossible goal, especially for perfectionists. Come down to Prince Alfred Park Pool and see how swimming regularly can help change your perspective and encourage you to achieve your fitness and health goals. Sign up here.
How to Develop a Better Work-Life Balance: Hint Swimming Laps Can Help
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