Working for long hours, more than 48 hours in a week, is not uncommon in the Australian workforce. However, long hours can also increase health risks (from cardiovascular heart disease to increased rates of drinking and smoking), impact on home relationships, and result in greater rates of work injuries.
Taking a holiday is rarely the answer – ever had a great, relaxing break and then a couple of weeks after getting back to work you feel just as pressured and tired as ever? Changing the every-day experience of work by establishing healthy habits is the only way to make a lasting difference.
So what kinds of good habits will help? Different things will work for different people, but here are a few to consider:
- Draw a clear line between work and home – get out of work clothes as soon as you get home, don’t check work emails after hours, turn the mobile phone to silent mode.
- Practice good sleep hygiene – avoid bright screens (computer and TV) before trying to go to sleep; don’t eat, drink caffeine or alcohol, or smoke too close to bed time; take regular exercise but not immediately before going to bed; get into a good bed-time routine with regular times and behaviours.
- Plan your day’s workload each morning, and if it’s derailed and you don’t achieve everything, reassign priorities for the next day to give yourself a feeling of control before you leave for the day and prevent yourself worrying about it overnight.
- Take a proper lunch break, preferably away from your workplace and certainly away from your desk.
- Try to spend at least a short amount of time in a natural setting each day – kill two birds with one stone and eat your lunch under a tree!
If any if these ideas appeal to you, take some time over the holiday season to plan how to incorporate them into a new approach to the coming work year. Please contact QRMC for more information.