With Labor Day approaching, it’s time to start saying our goodbyes to summer. More than just an extra day off of work, it’s important to remember what Labor Day is really meant to celebrate. While we recognize the hard work first-responders invest, today we’ll explore five ways that you can improve your work-life balance, because there is more in life to enjoy than just our careers.
Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day?
The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the Central Labor Union to celebrate workers' contributions to the well-being of our country and the economy. Many years later, on June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a law to make Labor Day a national holiday.1 Now, the first Monday in September is dedicated to the hard work and achievements of American workers.
Improving Your Work-Life Balance
We all know how it feels to be overwhelmed by work, and sometimes it can seem like it’s taking over your life. Especially as a first-responder, you do so much in the community protecting people and saving lives, it’s easy to feel pressured into making your job your everything. If you find yourself working overtime and constantly thinking about work, it’s time to evaluate how you can change your habits to live a more balanced life.
Plan for Personal Time
Set aside some time for you to do something for yourself. Whether that is going on a hike, reading a book, or just unwinding by watching a movie, do something small that makes you happy every day.
Let Yourself Unplug
Stop checking work emails during all hours of the day. Instead, communicate with your colleagues and leaders so they can know when you’ll be working and when you won’t be available to respond. Creating, communicating, and abiding by these boundaries is crucial when it comes to maintaining a work-life balance. Take a few hours each day to shut off your phone and enjoy the moment.
Prioritize Your Health
Keep yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy by taking steps to put your health first. Eat healthy meals, especially breakfast before work, sleep at least seven hours each night, and schedule time into your day to exercise and move your body. These practices will help you to be more energized and productive while boosting your immune system and overall mood. Running yourself ragged will only push you closer to burning out, which can be hard to recover from.
Invest in Relationships
Don’t let work keep you from your loved ones. Plan for quality time with your family and friends, even if you live with them. Make room in your schedule to see loved ones throughout the week when possible, not just on the weekends.
Leave Work at Work
Make it a point to stick to your scheduled work hours. Making plans for shortly after your workday ends could help you to stop working for the day and get on with the next activity.
Creating a work-life balance doesn’t just happen overnight, you need to gradually integrate these healthy habits into your life. Let yourself have fun, relax and prioritize yourself and your personal relationships. You may even see your work and productivity benefiting from these changes. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend, and remember to prioritize your health and happiness this year.
Make sure you have a strong retirement plan that lets you stop working when you’re ready to. For more information, explore our Guide to Retirement Planning for First Responders.