Wellbeing Wednesday with Debbie Stokoe: 5 ways to achieve a better work / life balance

For this week's Wellbeing Wednesday, since it's Mental Health Awareness Week, we wanted to talk about work / life balanceWhether you're self-employed, working full time or you're studying, we're all guilty of not taking enough time for ourselves. We live in such a busy world now, that self-care and balance are so important to our mental wellbeing. Research has shown that two thirds of us experience a mental health problem in our lifetimes, and stress is a key factor in thisSo for this week's Wellbeing Wednesday, we chatted to the wonderful Debbie Stokoe, a business owner helping others to manage their stress and she shared her top five ways of achieving a better work / life balance.
 
Debbie herself is no stranger to stress. After suffering work-related breakdowns to the stress of careers in Law and Teaching, she now runs Breathe In Business and helps business owners to stay in balance via coachingNetwalking (outdoor netwalking) and retreats (a five day retreat in Santorini is planned for October)She had to learn about self-care and stress management the hard way after being a self-confessed workaholic and perfectionist for a long time. “I realised that I couldn’t carry on the way I was,” Debbie says. “I educated myself about self-care and wellbeing and slowly recovered from work-related mental health issuesIt took a while but it’s so important to learn the skills and be aware of your trigger points to avoid more serious mental health conditions further down the line.”
Maddi Alexander Wellbeing Wednesday coffee and reading
1. Limit your time on social media

It’s so easy to get pulled into spending all of your time online, partly because we get addicted and also because of FOMO (fear of missing out).  I have felt very isolated and low in the past and I realised that it was because I was spending too much time in front of a screen. Now I try to limit social media use to two hours a day - an hour at lunch time and an hour in the early evening.

2. Put your health first 
We live in a culture of burnout nowadays and it’s so easy to crash and burn. We all wear so many hats and there never seems to be enough time in the day. Make sure you have a strong self-care routine in place to help to counterbalance stress - exercise, eating well, seeing friends and staying hydrated.

3. Don’t compare yourself
It’s easy to see other people appear to be doing really well on social media and start to feel bad if you're going through a difficult patch. Remember that most of the time people are just trying to make themselves feel better by posting stuff that isn’t accurate or real. Work on your own self-esteem and self-love and don’t spend time feeling inferior. Unfollow people that trigger you or make you feel less than.

4. Ask for help
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you have to do everything by yourself nowadays. The age of independence has gone a bit too far! There’s no shame in asking for help when you need it and admitting that you’re struggling. Don’t keep things bottled up which can lead to long term stress, anxiety and depression. If you’re struggling and feel alone access
talking therapies or helplines if you feel like you can’t talk to family/friends.

5. Get enough sleep
Sleep is so crucial for good mental health. Many of us try to function on too little sleep. Aim to switch off tech before 9pm and charge your phone downstairs or in a different room overnight so you’re not tempted to look at your phone, as the blue light will keep you awake. Try not to look at your phone until an hour after you wake up. And switch off as much as possible at weekends. Use a pillow spray, an aromatherapy candle or essential oils to help you to nod off.

If you'd like to learn more about Debbie Stokoe and Breathe In Business, her wellbeing business that helps self-employed people to stay in balance via coaching, Netwalking (outdoor netwalking) and retreats, visit Breathe In Business.

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