It’s hard to overestimate the importance of a work-life balance in recovery. If your schedule leaves you frazzled and stressed at the end of the day, you’re at a higher risk for relapse, and your quality of life will suffer. Here are some important points about the importance of work-life balance and some tips to help you successfully navigate school, work, and life.
The Importance of Work Life Balance for a Low-Stress Life
Stress is a major trigger for relapse and keeping it under control is important in recovery. If school and work become overwhelming, you’re left with chronic stress that permeates your whole life and can quickly lead to a slip-up.
Here are some things you can do to minimize your stress:
- Develop a routine. Set a daily schedule that includes time for self-care, time for relaxation, and adequate time to take care of responsibilities like school, work, paying bills and keeping your living space tidy.
- Meditate. According to Harvard Medical School, daily meditation not only reduces stress immediately, but also improves your body’s stress response in the future.
- Have fun. Having a good time reduces stress and improves your mood. Engage in hobbies that offer fun and relaxation as well as the opportunity to develop healthy relationships.
The Importance of Work/Life Balance for Self-Care
A high level of self-care is central to successful recovery, according to an article published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re likely to experience more negative emotions and feel run-down and stressed. A high level of self-care leaves you feeling confident, strong and motivated. A healthy work-life balance leaves plenty of time for focusing on your most basic needs.
These are a few essential self-care tasks that are a major boon to recovery:
- Get adequate sleep. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night for optimal functioning. Adequate sleep promotes a strong immune system, a stable mood and better concentration and focus.
- Eat healthy food. Unhealthy, processed foods affect your overall level of health, and they can lead to blood sugar spikes and cravings. Strive to eat whole foods and a mostly plant-based diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.
- Exercise. Daily exercise improves your overall health and produces feel-good brain chemicals that improve your mood. It reduces stress, increases energy, improves sleep and promotes optimal focus and concentration.
The Importance of A Work/Life Balance for Healthy Relationships
When you’re overwhelmed with work or school, it’s easy to neglect relationships. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, having a strong, supportive social networks is one of the four pillars of successful recovery. Maintaining a healthy balance between work and life ensures you have time to nurture your relationships.
Schedule social time. Whether it’s a short coffee date, a study session, or even just a chat on the phone, regularly reaching out to the people in your sober network helps ward off feelings of isolation and loneliness, which are detrimental to recovery.
Join a club. Joining an academic, athletic, or social club can expand your social network and provide enjoyment in a structured environment on a regular basis.
Attend meetings. If nothing else, attend your support group meeting every day for healthy social interaction and peer support.
Understanding the importance of a work-life balance can help motivate you to prioritize and schedule your week so that you have plenty of time to take care of yourself, nurture your relationships and meet your obligations at work, home and school without undue stress. If you’re having a hard time striking a balance between work, school and life, talk to a counselor, who can assist you in making positive changes for ongoing successful recovery.