Ideal for those wanting to redress their work/life balance.

Work. Huh, yeah. What is it good for? Actually, rather a lot it turns out. Research last year suggested that work is indeed good for you. But here’s the caveat; only if you’re working for one day a week. Yep, British scientists have suggested that eight hours a week is the optimum amount of work for happiness and contentment. 

Of course, this is the dream, and a distant one at that. But there are ways to take control of your time a little better, and get the most from your job without becoming burdened by stress and pressure. Here’s how; our 7 tips on how to avoid overworking yourself, IDEAL for those wanting to redress their work/life balance.


Telltale signs that you’re overworking yourself can be easy to miss if you’re not careful. Working too hard generally leads to stress, and stress affects your entire body. Therefore, keeping an eye out for signs of excessive workplace stress will help you identify when it’s time to slow down. 

Stress often leads to trouble sleeping, mood variations, excessive worrying, brain fog, and general feelings of being overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed in particular is something you should pay attention to. If just looking at your schedule fills you with desperation and anxiety, it might be time to make some changes in your life.

Some of the physical signs to look out for include:

  • Dermatological disorders (breakouts and general skin problems)
  • Frequent headaches or migraines
  • Bleeding gums
  • Hair loss
  • Upset stomach (constipation or diarrhoea)
  • Weight loss
  • Muscular tension
  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure


It sounds simple on paper, and as such, it should be on paper. Being able to identify which situations at work cause you to feel overwhelmed is the first step taken to reduce and hopefully eradicate that feeling. So, keep a workday journal of times when you felt particularly under pressure, what caused it, and whether you were able to resolve it. 

Note down your feelings, thoughts and any information about the situation, including who else was involved, the physical setting and the circumstances. Keep track of your own reaction as well; did you get angry and raise your voice? Retreat from the situation and go for a walk? Head to the canteen for a quick snack? By keeping a journal, you’ll be able to identify triggers and the best ways to avoid them.


If you must work intensely for a long period of time, then it’s important to factor in regular breaks to your schedule and to respect the time your body and mind need to rest every day.

Remember, being overly productive right now may feel necessary, but if your workload is draining and crushing you, that productivity you covet will ultimately be affected detrimentally. Regular breaks will help you survive in the long run.

The alternative is pushing hard with no breaks, which will lead to a crash sooner or later. A crash that will leave you burned out at best, or in a hospital at worst, as chronically stressed people are in the risk group for a large number of medical conditions.


One of the best ways to prevent overwork is to allow yourself the time you need in order to complete each task. Try not to take on more tasks than you can reasonably handle, and learn to say no.

In other words, you can avoid overworking by working less. Work smarter, not harder, as they say. Which sounds obvious, but when half a dozen people are asking you to do things for them, it’s easy to get carried away and say yes to too much. Especially if those requests are coming from your boss or your loved ones.

This is where a good schedule comes in. A well organised, strictly adhered to schedule will help you track how much of your time is already booked, allowing you to spot when you are getting close to your upper limit. You may also need to work on learning how to negotiate and how to say no in order to protect yourself from work being unfairly imposed on you.


Speaking of learning to say no….

The shrinking of the world had led to a massive rise in expectations regarding when and where we should be working. Evenings, weekends, even when we’re on holiday; nothing is off limits now in terms of when you should be available and ‘on’. But you need to set boundaries, both for yourself, and your colleagues and bosses.

This could be a rule to not answer the phone during dinner or when out with friends, or not allowing yourself to check emails at the weekend. Everyone will have different opinions when it comes to blending office and home life but drawing a few red lines in the sand will prevent work-life conflict and the stresses that come with it.


Phew, you’ve honed the art of saying no. You’ve got your breaktime rhythmic and sensible and you’ve learnt how to identify the signs and triggers of stress. Now, you can help yourself better handle pressure and work by learning some simple relaxation techniques. 

Mindful meditation, breathing exercises, medical hypnosis, and activities like yoga have all been shown to help people relax.


Exercise is one of the key elements to living a healthy lifestyle, physically and mentally, and as such, it can have a hugely positive impact on your workplace wellbeing, too. However, if you’re sat at a desk all day (the risks of such a sedentary lifestyle are well documented) it can be difficult to incorporate exercise into your workplace. 

Right now, with so many working from home, it can feel even harder to keep fit during the working day. Don’t be defeated; check out our 5 IDEAL tips for working out at home and feel the burn today!

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