Written by Irna Fathurrubayah
Don’t accept that work-related stresses off the job are a part of life; it will ruin your overall well-being. These are six proven simple yet powerful things that we can do to achieve a reduced stress life even on our most hectic days.
1. End & Start Your Day Earlier
Staying up late will ruin your body’s clock and adversely affect your health. A study conducted by researchers from The Netherlands in 2015, found that Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is clearly associated with people who stay up late. It also reported that they are more likely to have worse moods in the morning than people who start and end their day early. What’s more, Islam encourages us to end and start our day earlier.
It was narrated that ‘Aishah said, “The Messenger of Allah did not sleep before the ‘Isha’ nor stay up (talking) after it.” (Hadith Ibn Majah)
In another hadith the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “O Allah, bless my nation in their early mornings (i.e., what they do early in the morning).” (Hadith Ibn Majah).
Modern sleep findings and sunnah practices have been found to be aligned with regards to achieving healthy sleep habits, including explorations done by Professor of Thoratic Diseases and Sleep Medicine at King Saud University, Ahmed S. BaHammam.
Being a morning person gives plenty of time to prepare for hectic days. Grasp the fresh air after performing fajr prayer, do a little exercise and start your day with a high dose of gratitude towards the Creator.
2. Never Bring Work Home or Vice-Versa
Setting a clear boundary between work and home will greatly contribute in maintaining overall well-being. Allowing personal problems to invade your professional space will only cause stress and lower productivity rather than solving the problem itself. Likewise, some of us maybe describe ourselves as workaholic or perfectionist, but contaminating our “sanctuary space” with “additional noises” (deadlines, emails, etc.) is not a healthy long term practice.
Studies have found taking work home can be physically and mentally tiring as we need psychological recovery time from work. We cannot work endless hours. Focusing on work tasks only during office hours will get the work more effectively done. Also, saying no to additional tasks so that we have defined sanctuary space can help us to maintain work-life balance.
3. Set aside Quality Time with the Quran
Listening to the Quran recitation can bring us an inexplicable inner peace as well as boosting our faith. Just play some Quran right now to verify this. A number of research studies show that listening to the Quran can increase alpha waves in our brain which are responsible for reducing anxiety and creating relaxation. A study from University of Salahaddin, Iraq, published by The Egyptian Journal of Experimental Biology in 2013 analyzed the psychological responses to resting, listening to Quran, soft and hard music during open and closed eye using electroencephalogram (EEG). The result shows that during listening to the Quran recitation, the alpha wave magnitude was highest compared with the other conditions—resting and listening to slow and hard music.
Set around five to ten minutes during your work break to attentively listening to the Quran recitation. It will bring a huge impact in our spiritual as well as psychological well-being. I prefer listening to the Quran recitation video than audio player because it also provides the meaning of each verse which we can read along with listening to the recitation.
4. Avoid Multitasking at Any Cost
Heaps of work in seemingly approaching deadlines can be legitimate reason for us to do a wonderful thing called “multitasking”. Women tend to do this so-called “magical strategy” a lot more and are praised for it, while men are dismissed as just not being as good at it. But hang on sisters, multitasking may not be as fruitful as we thought. The idea of getting everything done by multitasking sugarcoats the truth which science has revealed.
Our brain is not deemed to be capable in handling two separate tasks concurrently. In a podcast of University of Florida Training and organizational Development, Scott Blades, M. Ed explains that research has found multitasking tied to higher stress levels. Looking at its adverse effect it is better for us to overcome heavy workloads wisely and save the day by setting priorities rather than multitasking. Let your planner become your best friend, stay-focused and accomplish your tasks singly yet effectively.
5. Keep De-Cluttered As Much As Possible
How frequently do you use ctrl+f throughout your work day? And then scroll and scroll? Maybe you have to do a follow up with another ctrl+f. Having de-cluttered files in organized folders on our computer along with a clean desktop visual appearance makes it effortless to find any file. This isn’t just about saving time, it’s more so about de-stressing your personal processes.
Having a clean de-cluttered desk with stationeries, papers, and files in their places will further prevent us from unnecessary headache. Start a de-cluttering journey with getting some inspiration for de-cluttered desk and room designs on Pinterest. Invest in storage solutions, this is investing in your health.
6. Do Yourself a Favor and Enjoy Your Life
Ultimately, we need work-life balance. Who wants to be out of balance? That’s why we should not revolve our life only around work and office. We can learn new things, visit wonderful places, try new recipes, or take interesting courses. We own our bucket list. Think about simple yet valuable activities and moments that we can have as daily habits to enjoy our life. The sun rises and sets every day beautifully filling the sky with various color palettes, yet we tend to miss them. Likewise, each short walk we have to take from point A to point B is likely accompanied by some awe-inspiring elements, whether it be a bit of nature, an awesome design element or some kind people. Look for the little things that our minds are regularly too busy to see.
I hope these six simple things can be benefit you in dealing with how you re-emphasize the “life” part of your work-life balance. The more balance you have, the more you can contribute your expertise to your family and community in a good state of overall well-being.
Bio: Irna Fathurrubayah is an Indonesian Muslimah blogger and is a teacher of an Islamic Elementary School. She is a bookworm and loves to write. You can find her on her personal blog Rubayah’s Note and educational blog Atfalna Education (coming soon).