Finding a healthy balance work-life balance can be a daunting challenge. Some of us are so passionate about our work, it’s hard to make ourselves step away. Others feel trapped, overwhelmed, or stressed out by their jobs. When you’re living this way every day, it’s nearly impossible to simply shut it off when the workday ends.

Unfortunately, whether you love your job or hate it, allowing your work to dominate your life can cause an array of physical, mental, and emotional issues. Working too much can damage your relationships and lead to weight gain, decreased immune function, and an inability to live up to your full potential.

Don’t let this happen to you! Here are 10 tips to help you balance work and life so you can enjoy long-term happiness.

1. Start Your Day Off Right

Wake up early enough so you can enjoy a healthy and relaxing breakfast at home. Take a few minutes to get your mind right, and it will flow through to the rest of your day. Dashing out the door with nothing but a cup of coffee will leave you feeling stressed out and frazzled before you even start your workday. Even worse, grabbing a calorie-laden fast-food breakfast will weigh you down and leave you feeling sluggish.

2. Hold Off on Those Emails

Try to avoid logging into your email account as soon as you wake up. Your brain needs time to adjust, and bombarding it with whatever is lurking inside your inbox right away can set you up for a full day of misery.

Instead, stretch, drink a glass of water, and do something you enjoy. Whether it’s snuggling with your pet or having a pleasant conversation with your significant other, starting your day off with a positive interaction can stimulate the feel-good endorphins in your brain, giving you the positive boost you need to successfully sail through your workday.

3. Work Smarter, Not Harder

Before you leave for work, take the time to review your tasks for the day and create a plan for conquering the most important ones first. Estimate how long each task will take to avoid over-scheduling. Don’t forget to leave some wiggle-room for the unexpected things that will inevitably pop up throughout the day.

Prioritizing both your work and your personal life will help you make sure critical tasks aren’t neglected. Writing down your plan will help you stay focused and hopefully help you avoid unnecessary meetings and other distractions.

4. Take a Break

Although it might seem like a great way to squeeze in a few minutes of extra productivity, there are a ton of reasons why you should avoid eating lunch at your desk.

Taking a break for at least 30 minutes will help reset your mind and keep you more productive throughout the day. Get up from your desk, fuel your body with some healthy foods, and take a walk if possible. Once your blood gets flowing you will feel far more focused and energized, making the second half of your day not only bearable but productive as well.

5. Speak Up Before You’re Drowning

People-pleasing may be in your nature but accepting additional workloads when you’re already at your max isn’t good for anybody. Learn to speak up when you start to feel overwhelmed or the expectations you’re faced with are too high.

Work on your communication skills and learn to say no in a positive way. You’ll often be surprised to learn that your employer would far prefer to renegotiate your workload than allow the quality of your work to suffer. If you let your job push you past the breaking point, you’ll eventually burn out and make yourself physically sick. Take a step back voluntarily before your body forces you to do so.

6. Know When to Say When

One of the most important ways to maintain a work life balance is knowing when to call it quits. Constantly staying at work late or taking work home with you will put a strain on your personal life. No one should expect you to work around the clock, and it’s up to you to set those boundaries. Plan on a set quitting time and do your best to stick to it. Once that time arrives, turn off all work-related communications and focus on something else.

If you absolutely must take some work home with you, designate a set area where you’ll get it done. Let your family know you need some time to concentrate on work, and you’ll make yourself available as soon as you’re finished. When you complete the tasks that are absolutely necessary, put your work away, come out of that space, and focus on enjoying the rest of your evening.

7. Don’t Skip Your Workouts

When you need to get a few more hours of work done, it’s easy to justify skipping your workouts. However, a lack of exercise will quickly take its toll. Not only will your pants start to get tight, you’ll eventually suffer from negative effects like muscle atrophy, slowed metabolism, and cardiac issues. Some studies have found that a sedentary lifestyle is twice as deadly as obesity, meaning that it’s entirely possible for you to literally work yourself to death.

Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise each day and your body and mind will both thank you. If you’re not feeling up to an intense workout, try taking a walk, playing outdoors with your kids, or practicing some yoga poses before bed.

8. Plan a Vacation

Far too many Americans skip their vacations, and it’s damaging our health. If you’re feeling too busy and stressed-out, that’s all the more reason to take a vacation. Stop ignoring the warning signs your body is sending you and give it the break it deserves.

Planning a vacation gives you something to look forward to and helps keep you going on those days that seem unbearable. Taking some time away from all work-related tasks allows you to clear your mind and get a fresh perspective. Your family will be happy to have your undivided attention, and when you return to work your boss will appreciate your renewed focus and energy.

9. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Staying up late to finish a project or answer emails only sets you up for misery the next day. Instead, try to keep a consistent bedtime and adjust your workload accordingly.

Unplug from all work-related tasks at least an hour or two before your planned bedtime. This gives your mind and body a chance to let go of the day’s stress and prepare for a good night’s sleep. Getting the rest you need means you’ll be more likely to jump out of bed the next day feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever life throws your way.

10. Make Work-Life Balance a Priority

Remember that you are ultimately responsible for creating and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. You’ll often have to make conscious efforts to control how much you let your work interfere with your life, and vice-versa.

If you make work-life balance a priority, you’ll be able to recognize issues sooner, allowing you to adjust your course before it becomes a major problem. Commit to checking in with yourself at least once a week to evaluate how things are going and change course as needed.

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