Once upon a time, the boundaries between work and home were very distinct. Today, however, work is likely to intrude on your personal life — and preserving work-life balance is no simple undertaking.
This can be especially true if you work long hours. Technology that provides continual connection might cause work to seep into your time at home. Working from home might also blur professional and personal boundaries.
Still, work-life balance is attainable. Consider your relationship to work and how to create a healthy balance.
Married to your work?
If you’re spending most of your time working, your work and your personal life can be badly affected. Consider the effects of inadequate work-life balance:
Fatigue: When you’re weary, your ability to work effectively and think clearly could diminish – which might take a toll on your professional reputation or lead to risky or costly blunders.
Poor health: Stress can increase symptoms associated with numerous medical disorders and put you at risk of substance use
Lost time with friends and loved ones: If you’re working too much, you can miss key family events or milestones. This can leave you feeling left out and can hurt your relationships.
Strike a better work-life balance
As long as you’re working, combining the responsibilities of professional and personal life will definitely be an ongoing issue. But by setting limitations and caring for yourself, you may achieve the work-life balance that’s ideal for you.
Setting limitations in work
If you don’t establish limitations, your job might leave you with little time for the relationships and activities you like. Consider these strategies:
Manage your time. Give yourself ample time to get things done. Don’t overschedule yourself.
Learn to say “no.” Evaluate your priorities at work and at home and strive to shorten your to-do list.
Cut or delegate things you don’t love or can’t handle — or express your problems and possible solutions with your boss or others. When you stop taking on responsibilities because you feel guilty or have a false feeling of responsibility, you will free up more time to devote to pursuits that are personally significant to you.
Step away from your task. Working from home or making regular use of technology to stay connected to work when you are at home might give you the impression that you are never really off the clock at work. This might cause tension that lasts for a long time.
Take care of yourself and your well-being
Talk to your manager and find out what the expectations are for when you may disengage from work. If you work from home, you should still dress professionally and try to find a separate location that is as quiet as possible.
Detach yourself from work and ease into your home life by changing into a different wardrobe, going for a drive or a stroll, or engaging in an activity with your children when the day’s work is done.
Think about the choices you have. Enquire with your employer about the possibility of working fewer hours in a week, working fewer hours overall, job sharing, or any other kind of flexible scheduling. The more control you have over how you spend your time, the less likely you are to feel overwhelmed by stress.
Taking good care of oneself outside of work
The ability to deal with stress and strike a healthy balance between work and personal life both need a healthy lifestyle. Maintain a healthy diet, include some form of physical activity in your daily routine, and get enough rest. In addition to that, strive to:
Relax. Make it a habit to schedule time in your schedule for things that bring you joy, like doing yoga, tending to your garden, or reading. Relaxing, taking your mind off of work, and recharging your batteries are all benefits that come from having hobbies.
Find activities that you can participate in with your significant other, your family, or your friends, such as going on hikes, dancing, speed dating, or taking lessons in the kitchen.
Volunteer. Volunteering your time to help other people has been shown to strengthen your relationships with those around you, as well as contribute to greater overall life satisfaction and reduced levels of psychological discomfort.
Create a network of people who can help you. Join forces with other employees at your place of employment so that they can cover for you if a family emergency arises, and vice versa.
When you have to put in late hours at the office, ask reliable friends and family members to help you out at home by watching your children or taking care of other chores.
Take time out if needed
Recognize when you need the assistance of a professional. Talk to a mental health professional if you feel that the chaos in your life is too much for you to handle, and you find yourself going in circles thinking about it. Utilize the resources available to you through an employee assistance program if you have access to such a program.
Achieving a healthy work-life balance is an ongoing effort that must account for the shifting priorities of your family, interests, and career. To ensure that you are moving forward in the right direction, it is important to review your priorities on a regular basis and to be prepared to adjust them if required.