But with an increased awareness of the importance of work-life balance, there is a strong push towards finding that balance. Which is all good and well, but… how? According to this article and a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation (OECD), Spain is ranked second in the world for their ability to balance work and life effectively, so here are some work-life balance tips to learn how to manage things the way the Spanish do:
Leave work at the office
The temptation to take your laptop home and cram in some extra hours just to make sure you are on top of things may be great, but unless you really have to, it’s important that you resist said urge. It also might be time to take your work emails off your phone. Work is important, no doubt about it, but it does already take up the majority of your waking hours, and your downtime is equally important for different reasons. In terms of work-life balance tips taken from a Spanish perspective, we recommend that you focus on what’s important after work hours, and make time for good food, magnificent wine, the best of friends and ample quality time with your family. Post-work, these things are definitely the priority.
The Spanish are fortunate to have the luxury of an absolutely incredible climate. Apart from being able to indulge in long hours soaking up the summer sunshine, the Spanish are able to make the most of the weather to play football, cycle, walk and run, or for those who prefer, just go to the gym. If you only choose one of the work-life balance tips, then let it be this: ensure that you make time for exercise at least three times a week (and ideally you should try to fit in some form of physical exercise every day). When you exercise – even if it is a brisk walk for 20 minutes around your area – it allows you to disengage from the rest of your day, to practise mindfulness, and of course to get the blood pumping. Take the time for yourself – it’s worth it.
Take your lunch break
How many lunches this week have you spent at your desk or in front of your laptop? While many of us feel too guilty to take our full lunch hour, this is something you need to start forcing yourself to do – one of the top work-life balance tips we can give you. While we may not be able to go full-on Spanish with some people taking ‘siestas’ which actually allow for a little afternoon nap, getting out of the office, getting a fix of fresh air and some healthy food can do wonders for your energy as well as your headspace. Make sure you take your lunch hour, and if possible, do so away from the office.
Largely linked to the point above, the Spanish love to take the time to fully enjoy their meals. One of our most important work-life balance tips is to ensure that, like the Spanish, you and your family really take the time to enjoy your meals. First of all, because eating slowly has numerous health benefits (click here to find out what those are) consciously slowing down the act of eating, and taking our time to enjoy meals also lowers stress, allows you to connect properly with those around you and to be present. Not only that, but the Spanish love their food, and if you shovel it down, you don’t get the full enjoyment of the food’s flavours. Their diet – rich in the freshest ingredients, olive oil and spices – is as delicious as it is healthy, and when you support your body, you are better equipped to take on the stressors of daily life. Try it out, the next time you sit down for a meal really savour it.
Relish the small things in life
The Spanish have a way of making the most of life, and while they work long, hard hours during the week, they seem to make a point of finding ways to enjoy life. Many Spanish people make the most of their eclectic and amazing festivals, appreciate magnificent music, indulge in glorious food and will opt, sometimes daily, for a glass of fine wine. Last but not least in our list of work-life balance tips is to find the things in life that make your heart sing, make time for them, and relish them. The more joy you have, the easier it is to tackle challenges that may come your way. And remember life’s short, teach yourself to embrace every moment.
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