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Five ways to maintain a healthy work life balance

Don't let a busy schedule dominate your stress levels.Manuel faba/iStock photo

Don’t let a busy schedule dominate your stress levels.

Stress in the workplace can be as detrimental to your health as secondhand smoking, a recent study found.

Factors such as long hours, performing under pressure and lack of social support can have a negative impact on a person’s mental and physical health, according to a study by the Behavioral Science and Policy Association.

The statistics show that job insecurity increases the chances of reporting poor health by about 50% — and long hours, a reality for most New Yorkers, can increase a person’s chance of mortality by a whopping 20%.

Despite the alarming figures, few lawmakers and employers in the U.S. have taken any action to combat stress in the workplace.

But here are things anyone with a busy schedule can do to relax:

; stu; WEB;Tom Grill, Getty

Map out the week ahead, and make sure to set aside some time to unwind.

1. Schedule your week ahead

It’s often helpful to write down all the worries and plans floating around in your head, experts say.

Organizing your week ahead of time can help to eliminate any feelings of lack of control.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed, and many of us are guilty of biting off more than we can chew. By creating a little personal timetable, you can visualize your upcoming work week and say yes, or no, to different projects accordingly.

NRnevarpp/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Find little moments of Zen throughout the day.

2. Office meditation

No, we’re not suggesting you channel your inner yogi in the middle of the office floor.

For those who have the time, an hour of meditation in the morning can have a big impact on the rest of your day.

But for those who don’t have the time — or would rather spend it in bed — simple steps like mindful breathing at your desk, or sitting in silence, sans smart phone, for five minutes at lunch, can be wonderous for clearing the mind.

There are also plenty of apps on the market, such as Headspace — which teaches basic meditation skills to help you find little moments of Zen throughout the day.

Get to know your coworkers — you might make some lifelong friends.

Get to know your coworkers — you might make some lifelong friends.

3. Make an effort to get to know your colleagues

Sometimes a quick vent at the water cooler is all that’s needed to alleviate stress.

Whether it’s grabbing a coffee together at lunch, or hitting happy hour after work with a few colleagues — it’s important to feel there are others you can confide in at work and not just on a professional level.

Not having anybody to talk to at work can be isolating and it can also contribute to anxiety and depression.

Try to schedule an out of office get together once a week. You may just make some lifelong friends.

Jog to the photocopier.Kzenon/shutterstock.com/AFP

Jog to the photocopier.

4. Keep moving

Sometimes a workout just isn’t possible with the office workload.

Sitting in front of a screen for eight-plus hours a day invites a host of different problems — including a decrease in productivity, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and in extreme cases, blood clotting in the legs.

Little steps — like aiming to do a lap around the office once every hour, or skipping the elevator and taking the stairs — can make a big difference to one’s health.

If you genuinley don’t have a second to get up and move around, practice stretching exercises while sitting at your desk to improve circulation.

Plan some "me time."Jose Luis Pelaez/Getty Images

Plan some “me time.”

5. Reward yourself

Take a step back every once in a while and look at how much you have achieved.

Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to what you were doing five years ago. Consider the energy you give to your job and reward yourself for it.

Treat yourself every now and again — start planning a holiday, eat in your favorite restaurant once a month, get that jacket you’ve been eyeing up for the last few weeks.

You work hard, so give yourself a little pat on the back now and then.

mnewman@nydailynews.com

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Health – NY Daily News

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