We’re halfway through 2017, and it’s a good time to reflect on how the first half of the year went.

And no, we’re not talking about the number of the ticks off your New Year’s Resolution checklist or milestones you've attained at work. More importantly, have you been treating yourself the right way? If you constantly feel burnt out, don’t hop onto the next plane to Maldives just yet. You'll want to start cultivating positive habits that will help you manage stress on a day-to-day basis.

Spending long hours at work may be your way of trying to stay ahead of the game and you're not alone. According to a Forbes report, Singapore ranks 4th on the list of countries where young adults work the longest hours. However, extended hours at your desk does not necessarily mean you are contributing in meaningful ways. In fact, research shows that overworking can be counterproductive!

Overworking could also lead to health issues and affect other aspects of your life. Here are a few signs that tell you it’s time to turn off that laptop and take some time off:

Increased Anxiety

If you’re constantly frazzled with thoughts about work and your loved ones have been lamenting about how irritable you seem lately, you could be facing heightened work anxiety, which in the long run could jack up your blood pressure, leading to other health problems, or even result in memory lapses.

Chronic Back / Shoulder Aches

You might have realized that your muscles are tensed and your back is stiff. This happens when you sit at your desk or stare at your computer screens for long hours, especially if you do not maintain a good posture at all times. Dealing with immense pressure also causes your muscles to tense up, causing nagging back and shoulder aches. Aches aside, do you know that it affects your breathing too?

Irregular Meals and Snacking

Do you feel like your workload piles up every time you step away from your desk? Or do you feel like you can accomplish more at work if you ate at your desk? Eating at your desk might allow you to make the most out of your lunch break, but it will also cause indigestion and result in irregular meal times. And yes, if you feel unsatisfied with your meal, it'll lead to unnecessary snacking - not helpful in the health and weight department if you ask us.

So, if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by work and it has taken a toll on your health, it’s time to take charge of your well-being! Here are 7 tips on how to take back control of your life.

1. Start your day right

The golden rule to start your day right is to never skip your breakfast. Besides being an essential source of energy, breakfast also helps to improve one’s memory and concentration.

Preparing your own breakfast can be fun and therapeutic, especially when you get to taste the end product. Take some time over the weekend to bake these delicious Chocolate Chip and Orange Hot Cross Buns and pack them to work. They’ll go perfectly with a hot mug of coffee. If you don’t have time to make your own breakfast, there’s still no excuse to skip your morning meal! Pick out your favourite breads, buns, and cakes the night before from Four Leaves, Duke Bakery, or grab a bite at Bread Talk, Dough Culture or Mr Bean before your morning commute, and you’ll be all set for the day!

Grab tasty baked goods from Four Leaves (Northpoint, Anchorpoint, Changi City Point, YewTee Point, Eastpoint Mall & Causeway Point) and Duke Bakery (Anchorpoint & Bedok Point).

Get to-go breakfasts from Bread Talk (Causeway Point & Changi City Point), Dough Culture (Causeway Point, Changi City Point, Northpoint, Eastpoint Mall & Waterway Point) and Mr Bean (Causeway Point, Changi City Point, Eastpoint Mall, Northpoint, Waterway Point & YewTee Point).

2. Work smarter, not harder

To achieve productivity at work, start managing your priorities, delegate tasks, ask for help and don’t be afraid to say a big fat “NO”. If you find it tricky to juggle all your responsibilities, get a planner to help you out. List out the most urgent tasks to the least, and strike them off one by one. It gives you a sense of achievement each time you complete something. Plotting out your meetings in advance on the weekly calendars of your planner will also help you to have ample time to prepare and be mentally ready for them.

Get planners from Typo (Waterway Point), Typo Outlet (Anchorpoint), and Popular Bookstore (Causeway Point, Northpoint and Eastpoint Mall).

3. Make your workstation cosy and conducive

Since a bulk of your time is spent at work, it’s crucial to ensure that your work-space is welcoming and comfortable. Start with getting a detachable back support from Ergoworks that will help to right that slouching posture while keeping your back and shoulders relaxed throughout the day.

Maintain a natural sitting posture by making sure that your mouse is positioned in a way that doesn’t require you to constantly arch your shoulders up. Get a wireless mouse from Challenger and Harvey Norman that’ll give your arm more flexibility.

Transform your desk into a corner of tranquility by beautifying it with some indoor plants. Besides being aesthetically pleasing, surrounding your work space by potted greenery also helps to boost your mood and alleviate stress. Check out our guide for different kinds of indoor plants you can keep in the office!

To cultivate a healthier and more comfortable sitting posture, get a backrest from Ergoworks (The Centrepoint & Causeway Point).

Improve your work space with wireless computer accessories from Challenger (Bedok Point, Causeway Point, Changi City Point, Northpoint, Eastpoint Mall, Waterway Point & YewTee Point).

4. Distinguish work life and personal life

In today's context, you don’t have to be physically in the office to be working. But being able to bring work anywhere you go also means that it’s harder to separate work from your personal life. Treasure your after-work hours, and although it may seem uncomfortable at first, try unplugging from your mobile devices once you’re off work.

If you need to unwind after a long day at work, take a light stroll along the Singapore River where you’ll get to soak in our city’s gorgeous skyline, and drop by the nearby Robertson Walk for an idyllic respite. Make the best out of your me-time and don’t even whip out your phone to take pictures – just live in the moment!

5. Spend quality time with your loved ones

With work being such a major part of our lives, it’s inevitable for us to tie our successes to our corporate identities. We tend to allow this to consume us, and we forget that personal relationships make up a large part of us too. Rekindle relationships with your loved ones by engaging in meaningful activities. Here's a guide of things you can do to unwind in Singapore, and the best part is, the more the merrier!

I guess what we're saying is - always make time for your family and friends - they lift your spirits and help you stay on track. For a big gathering, we suggest planning a BBQ get-together.

6. Eat healthy and be active.

Chuck away those snacks and start giving yourself a balanced diet! You are what you eat – so eat well and you’ll feel good! Pack a delicious and nutritious tapas-style lunch and a refreshing salad to snack on at work.

Don’t start paying attention to your health only when you’re feeling under the heat. Maintain a positive energy at work by regularly consuming tonics that’ll give your body a natural boost and sharpen your focus at work. Eu Yan Sang purveys a range of herbal and tonic remedies that can help to strengthen your body’s immunity, treat lethargy and improve your attention span, and Nature’s Farm offers a selection of health supplements that will boost your energy, improve your memory, and help in detoxification.

Get tonics and health supplements from Eu Yan Sang (Causeway Point, Eastpoint Mall, Waterway PointThe Centrepoint) and Nature’s Farm (Causeway PointWaterway Point).

Don’t forget to squeeze in a quick workout at least three times a week to keep yourself energized! If you’re bored of running the usual laps around your neighbourhood, spice up your exercise regime by heading to Bbounce Studio. The popular rebounding fitness studio offers a range of classes that will help you to shake off all your stress while keeping fit! Or get a late-night workout at Gymboxx Silver and Anytime Fitness, both open for 24 hours!

Get a fun and intensive workout at Bbounce Studio at (The Centrepoint), Gymmbox Silver (Bedok Point) and Anytime Fitness (Valley Point).

7. Pamper yourself once in a while

Take the weekend to simply indulge in a massage session or beauty treatment that’ll relieve those aches and help to rejuvenate your mind and body.  If your skin is looking tired from all the stress, get a skincare boost with Citispa’s Dermalift treatment. Or ease those tense muscles with a therapeutic body massage at Chen Kang Wellness.

Visit Citispa at (Northpoint & Yew Tee Point) and Chen Kang Wellness (Bedok Point & Eastpoint Mall).

So be good to yourself and you’ll handle your work responsibilities well! After all, there’s always another email to answer, but there’s only one you. So take care of you.