This Is How Our Editors Find Balance, Even With a Full Inbox
With approximately one in five Australians currently affected by mental illness, we're taking it as a timely opportunity to not only raise awareness around this far-reaching issue, but also to take a moment and ponder on our own mental health. Unfortunately, with lofty pieces of advice on maintaining a work/life balance floating around—although it is really important notion—it can be hard to actually find strategies that work for your specific lifestyle (our chat with Girlboss' editorial director, Jerico Mandybur, proved that). Have you ever tried to practice mindfulness with a crowded inbox, back-to-back meetings, and impending end-of-day deadlines? It's hard, trust us.
To shed more light on finding practical ways to attain balance within a busy schedule, we asked our editors—who are very familiar with daily deadlines and overflowing to-do lists—to reveal the little ways they carve out space for themselves in order to prevent burnout and prioritise their own mental health.
Keep scrolling to find out how we keep our mental health at top of mind during the workweek.
"I treat myself to two things that keep my body healthy: One private Pilates class per week, and I order a healthy lunch to the office each day. Allowing myself both of these things without guilt changed my life (and my waistline).
"Beyond strengthening my body, I work with crystals a lot. I have them everywhere! On my desk, in my bag, beside my bed. I generally work with just one a week though. I choose it on a Sunday depending on what I need for the week coming—decisiveness, clarity, or self-acceptance.
"My work schedule is quite brutal, so weekends are exclusively slow. I dedicate Saturday and Sunday to spending quality time with my husband and close friends. I found I started opening up more after I turned 30. I realised there's no shame in needing a shoulder, so I've been working hard on inserting myself—and my stuff—into more personal conversations. That's really helped me and I guess more broadly, this concept of sitting in my true self."
"I do little things throughout my day to check in with my mental health. Firstly, I make sure I work out in the morning—it helps me stay focused, and gives me one full hour a day where I can be all about me. At work, I keep a Post-it on my computer screen that says 'SLOW', to remind myself to slow down, and not rush through my day.
"When I get home, I have a ritual before bed—I spray this Venustus muscle spray onto my shoulders and back, then dab frankincense oil on my wrists, behind my ears, and behind my knees. I'm not sure if it's a placebo effect at this stage, but it helps me fall asleep immediately and wind down at the end of a busy day."
"In all honesty, I have struggled with work/life balance in the past few months, but I'm really making a conscious effort find a happy medium. First, I always make time to exercise, but I don't put too much pressure on myself if I don't get to the gym as regularly as planned. I also eat breakfast at home with a book or magazine every single day—I don't go on my phone anymore. I also don't use my phone when I'm commuting to work. I catch the ferry, and it's such a nice view, plus I get enough screen time at work.
"I am also a huge advocate for 'speed cleaning'. It's where you put on four songs (about 20 minutes) and clean a space in that time. It means that when the weekend rolls around, you're not stuck with a messy/dirty house or apartment. I refuse to spend my Saturday cleaning."
"To maintain as much balance in my life, firstly, I prioritise the basics: Exercise and sleep. Along with (relatively) healthy eating, this keeps me feeling like myself. I've recently started changing habits here and there, such as limiting my commute time to reading my book with no scrolling on my phone. I've been getting through books much quicker and really loving this small change I've made. I also love treating myself to a massage every couple of months, there's nothing more relaxing than this.
"Another thing I've learned is it's okay to take a mental health day when you really need it. You'll be much more effective at your work if you have a clear mind and even the most successful people have off days. With the fast-paced environment we live in, it's nice to be gentle on yourself and understand signals from your mind and body."
"Going to the gym and eating healthfully are really important ones for me. I try to get a sweat up at least three times a week, and always watch what I eat from Monday to Friday. Doing this gives me more energy and just generally makes me feel better about myself; knowing that I'm doing the right thing by my body. This is balanced out on the weekend as I don't deny myself my vices—I eat pizza and Tim Tams on the regular!
"I also try to schedule in a social outing at least one or two nights out of the working week. It's easy to stay back at work and make excuses about how busy/tired I am, but meeting up with my closest friends always perks me up. The best thing about it is that most of my friends don't work in the media or fashion industries, so table discussion always revolves around our families and relationships, rather than work. This really helps me keep everything in perspective."
"Early on in my career—thanks to a case of stress-related shingles and an autoimmune outburst—I learnt that my body doesn't handle anxiety very well. Which, in hindsight is good, because I learnt early on how to still be an effective and productive employee, without sacrificing my health (which is now a non-negotiable for me).
"I find balance in little ways, like going tech-free on my train commutes into work, and instead, writing at least five things I'm grateful for in that day. I also have a thyroid condition, which makes sleep vital for a healthy body, so if that means leaving work on time so I can cook a healthy meal and get to bed early, I will always prioritise that.
"Also, I have learnt that it takes courage to raise your hand and say you can't do something in your job, but it's often the best way to ensure that you are curbing burnout long before it happens, meaning you're giving both you and your employer a chance to have a growing and successful partnership. I always think of it like this: You can leave your mark on the world, but it doesn't have to be the quickest climb up the ladder."