Reversing the “always on work culture” isn’t just good for your health, it can give you a competitive edge on the job.

It was early in my career when I realized the toll that stress can take on your body, mind and relationships. Burnout is bound to happen to most people at one point or another when you’re ambitious and dedicated to your career. When I was on the fast track to burning out, I deprioritized what should have been the top priorities in my life – physical health, mental wellness and relationships with my family and friends.

Reversing the “always on work culture”
It’s obvious why we all need to put our health first, but what’s even more interesting is new research that shows that leisure time and reversing the habits that lead to “always on work culture” can actually give you a competitive edge at work. Check out the recent MITSolan Review article “Leisure is Our Killer App.”

Knowing that you need reduce stress and focus on your personal wellness is one thing, but doing it is another. Most people feel overwhelmed even thinking about trying to find time for fitness or incorporating a new habit into their already busy lives. Below I’m sharing five easy and effective ways I’ve been able to reduce stress and boost my health and wellbeing, without major lifestyle changes or time commitments.

1.    Turn off notifications on your phone
This might sound unrealistic but it’s much more achievable than it seems and has huge benefits. Keeping my phone on silent has helped me be present in the moment and focused on the task at hand. Plus, you can set your phone to ring only for selected contacts so you won’t miss any important calls. Don’t get distracted by or worried about that latest message – you can deal with it later.

2.    Organize your day around your most productive times
Research proves that most people are most productive first thing in the morning. Prioritize your most demanding tasks or client calls first, then build in time to recharge and eat lunch. Don’t skip meals, and do tasks in the afternoon that help you wind down. Schedule in “me time” to recharge – for me a facial goes a long way!

3.    Find simple ways to be active
While I do love yoga and Pilates, it’s not always possible to make a class or fit an hour long workout into your routine. Find small ways to be active throughout your day. My favorite activity is walking my dogs. Not only do I get exercise but I’m doing it with my dogs who make me happy and keep me calm.

4.    Find a cultural outlet that makes your brain switch gears
One of my favorite things to do to de-stress is listen to podcasts or read books that challenge me to think differently. Watching a TED talk, or listening to one of my favorite podcasts, like The Splendid Table, helps to keep my mind open and shifts my attention away from daily to-dos. 

5.    Prioritize healthy meals
Now when I say healthy meals, I don’t just mean what you are eating. When I’ve been at my busiest, I have skipped meals and filled the gap with extra coffee and bad snack choices. When you’re running late, or have an extra client that you need to squeeze in, it’s easy to push meal times out of your schedule. All of us deserve and need proper meal times. Plus, if you take the time to sit down, it’s easier to find food that nourishes your body instead of setting yourself up to crash later from that caffeine frenzy. You can help your body even more by adding a nutritional boost! Try my favorite environmentally conscious, clean, nourishing line of supplements and powders from Alaya Naturals. Make sure you block off meal time in your schedule and stick to it.

How do you reduce stress throughout your day? How do you stop burnout before it happens? Let me know in the comments below.