Finding balance in the never sleeping city
March 2016; Continuing with a healthy lifestyle after January can be a challenge, but even taking a lunchtime walk in London can help, says CABA’s Nicki Cresswell.
We know these are concerns that past and present ICAEW members are experiencing, and this was reflected in our recent research with 40% of members in the UK stating that work gets in the way of healthy eating. Additionally, 56% of respondents said that they are aware exercise helps their performance in the office, but they feel work prevents them from doing enough.
Striking a healthy work-life balance is a problem many struggle with, and allowing the balance to slip too much towards work is not uncommon. In our globally interconnected world, our ability to turn off our computer and leave the emails until tomorrow has vanished, and now many of us check work emails constantly – some of us don’t even get a break on our journey home anymore, with smartphones and mobile connectivity.
You have the power
Despite the fact that working long hours may benefit your bank balance, not finding the time for physical activity or sacrificing your family life is not going to help your health and wellbeing in the long run.
However, you have the power to implement change! So, for the 20% of members who are worried about their weight, they might choose to walk to work instead of getting the tube, or at least walk some of the way.
The NHS recommends 30 minutes of activity 5 days a week, so leave the crowded Northern Line platform and opt for a brisk walk instead. This gives you fresh air (good for clearing your mind) and exercise is proven to reduce your stress levels. It also removes the pressure of competing for space in a hot, crowded carriage.
Our research also flagged that 40% of members stated that their job impacts their home and family life, and that 43% felt stressed due to work. Prioritising yourself or your family over work is challenging, both in terms of managing your workload or pushing back on demands.
No Londoner will get through life ‘stress free’ – there will always be something playing on our minds. However, this year try not to let work overwhelm you: find the time to hit the gym or take a lunchtime walk through one of the beautiful London parks and try to take the stairs at the tube station!
Setting boundaries and communicating your priorities and time constraints will also help you manage expectations, allowing you to set aside time for yourself. Your career is important, but your health is vital if you want to live well. So let 2016 be the year your personal and professional priorities really are balanced.
Nicki Cresswell is wellbeing coordinator for CABA.