11 science-backed tricks for finding work-life balance.

How to turn off your screens, work with focus, and take care of yourself.

11 science-backed tricks for finding work-life balance.

Today, most employees can work out, eat, and even drink a beer without stepping outside their offices.

With digital technologies available in more and more careers, you don’t even have to work for a giant tech company to feel like you’re always at work, even when you’re not at work. Anyone who finds themselves checking their work email before they get out of bed in the morning can tell you that.


"Wait, you mean your job doesn't have unlimited access to bicycles and 24-hour gyms?" — people at tech start-ups who inspire rabid jealousy in me. Photo by Travis Wise/Flickr.

But even if you love your job, failing to take time away from work can cause burnout. It’s important to establish boundaries to make sure you have a healthy work-life balance. So here are 11 science-backed methods for making sure you have a healthy relationship with your work.

1. Get enough sleep.

If you find yourself working until midnight and waking up at 5 a.m. to put in a few more hours before heading to the office, it's time to take a step back and re-evaluate. When work hours start to eat into your sleep hours, your health, mood, and even the quality of your work will suffer. You're not doing yourself or your employer any favors by being sleep-deprived.

2. Take a lunch break (and actually leave your desk).

OK, I know most of us are guilty of eating a sandwich in front of the computer at least once. Or maybe twice. Per week. But it's important to actually take a break during your lunch break. Your lunch hour is a time to let your mind recharge, not just a time to eat.

3. Make time for exercise.

Studies have found that even light exercise can improve your mood, stress levels, and productivity.

4. Stop checking your email at home.

It may be hard to completely avoid reading work email at home. But set limits: Only respond to urgent emails, don't check them after 9 p.m., and please for the love of all that is holy, don't start in on your work emails before you've had your coffee.

You could just say that this is your phone. Photo by Billy Brown/Flickr.

5. Meditate and be mindful with your work.

I don't need to sell you on the benefits of meditation — you've probably read a few dozen articles already about mindfulness and wellness. Developing a meditation practice can help you deal with work stress, even if you start with just a few minutes every day.

6. Commit to eating healthier.

I'm going to take a wild guess and say that the idea of cooking healthy meals at home and preparing cute bento-box lunches is the first thing you sacrifice when you're slammed at work. No, I'm not psychic; I've just been there. And from experience, I can say that a key part of work-life balance is treating your body to a balanced diet. (And if you really don't have time to cook your own healthy meals, at least aim for a nutritious choice on Seamless.)

If you don't have time to make a healthy lunch, browse "#healthylunch" on Instagram while you wait for a salad to be delivered to your office. Photo by Jeremy Keith/Flickr.

7. Take your PTO.

You get it for a reason. Studies have shown that vacation time (as in using it, not just accumulating it) does wonders for your stress levels and decision-making abilities.

8. Stop multitasking all the time.

Tuning out your boss's emails might actually make you a better employee. If you try to do several things at once — work, email, tweet, listen to a podcast — you're actually less productive and your body goes into anxiety mode. So try to focus on one task at a time (protip: turn off your push notifications).

9. Call in sick.

When you're sick, call in sick! Going into work when you're not 100% is bad for you, your company, your co-workers, and your family. And let's be real — you're not getting any work done when you're miserable.

10. Get a hobby.

Having a creative outlet improves your psychological health and helps you to relax. Plus, your co-workers will think you're really cool if you have to duck out of work a few minutes early for band practice.

11. Re-evaluate your job.

OK, obviously take this advice with a grain of salt. But if you can feasibly do it, there are many cases where you would probably be happier if you looked for a new job or even retired early. If the thought makes you giddy, it's worth exploring.

This is what retirement looks like. (I think. I'm at least four decades away.) Photo by Barbara Ann Spengler/Flickr.

The core of work-life balance is investing in your own well-being just like you'd invest in your career.

So go forth and invest! And let us know what other tricks you use to take care of yourself when work gets stressful.

Cats are notoriously weird. Everyone who's had cats knows that they each have their own unique quirks, idiosyncrasies, preferences, habits, and flat-out WTFness.

But even those of us who have experience with bizarre cat behavior are blown away by the antics this "cat dad" is able to get away with.

Kareem and Fifi are the cat parents of Chase, Skye, and Millie—literally the most chill kitties ever. They share their family life on TikTok as @dontstopmeowing, and their videos have been viewed millions of times. When you see them, you'll understand why.

Take Chase's spa days, for example. It may seem unreal at first, but watch what happens when Fifi tries to take away his cucumber slices.

When she puts them back on his eyes? WHAT?! What cat would let you put them on once, much less get mad when you take them off?

This cat. Chase is living his best life.

But apparently, it's not just Chase. Skye and Millie have also joined in "spaw day." How on earth does one couple end up with three hilariously malleable cats?

Oh, and if you think they must have been sedated or something, look at how wide awake they are during bath time. That's right, bath time. Most cats hate water, but apparently, these three couldn't care less. How?

They'll literally do anything. The Don't Stop Meowing channel is filled with videos like this. Cats wearing glasses. Cats wearing hats. Cats driving cars. It's unbelievable yet highly watchable entertainment.

If you're worried that Kareem gets all the love and Fifi constantly gets the shaft, that seems to be a bit for show. Look at Chase and Fifi's conversation about her leaving town for a business trip:

The whole channel is worth checking out. Ever seen a cat being carried in a baby carrier at the grocery store? A cat buckled into a car seat? Three cats sitting through storytime? It's all there. (Just a heads up: A few of the videos have explicit language, so parents might want to do a preview before watching with little ones.) You can follow the couple and their cats on all their social media channels, including Instagram and YouTube if TikTok isn't your thing, here.

If you weren't a cat person before, these videos might change your mind. Fair warning, however: Getting a cat because you want them to do things like this would be a mistake. Cats do what they want to do, and no one can predict what weird traits they will have. Even if you raise them from kittenhood, they're still unpredictable and weird.

And honestly, we wouldn't have them any other way.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

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There have been many iconic dance routines throughout film history, but how many have the honor being called "the greatest" by Fred Astaire himself?

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, known collectively as the Nicholas Brothers, were arguably the best at what they did during their heyday. Their coordinated tap routines are legendary, not only because they were great dancers, but because of their incredible ability to jump into the air and land in the splits. Repeatedly. From impressive heights.

Their most famous routine comes from the movie "Stormy Weather." As Cab Calloway sings "Jumpin' Jive," the Nicholas Brothers make the entire set their dance floor, hopping and tapping from podium to podium amongst the musicians, dancing up and down stairs and across the top of a piano.

But what makes this scene extra impressive is that they performed it without rehearsing it first and it was filmed in one take—no fancy editing room tricks to bring it all together. This fact was confirmed in a conversation with the brothers in a Chicago Tribune article in 1997, when they were both in their 70s:

"Would you believe that was one of the easiest things we ever did?" Harold told the paper.

"Did you know that we never even rehearsed that number?" added Fayard.

"When it came time to do that part, (choreographer) Nick Castle said: 'Just do it. Don`t rehearse it, just do it.' And so we did it—in one little take. And then he said: 'That's it—we can't do it any better than that.'"

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