In honour of mental health week we're discussing all things work-life balance. A quick read that will help you to understand your current position and shares some key tips and tricks to improving your work-life balance by changing everyday habits.
Most people's lives are getting noticeably busy, with more responsibilities and with ever approaching deadlines it can be hard to draw the line between work and leisure. There is an abundance of evidence that supports the notion working long hours day to day, and high stress levels can have a detrimental impact on our mental health, with studies suggesting a poor work-life balance often being the route of workplace anxiety.
It's important to say that work life balance doesn’t necessarily mean 50% of your time is spent working and 50% as free time But rather, it should be viewed as a feeling of contentment in the work and leisure areas of your life.
To establish the level work-life balance you have, ask yourself the following questions and see which areas that you could improve.
- How often do you stay late in the office to get a few more items checked off the list?
- How are your personal relationships, are they affected by what happens at work?
- Do you think/ get stressed about work during out of office hours?
- Is your social life impacted by deadlines at work?
- Do you feel energised and ready to tackle each day?
- When was the last time you 'switched off'?
- Do you find yourself doing admin on your way to and from the office?
Now it's not to say that doing any of the above are explicitly negative, it's normal for work stresses to impact your mood or to stay late finishing a task every once in a while. But, if the above behaviours occur on a regular basis, it can lead to intense feelings of guilt, anxiety, mood swings.
To better combat these feelings, heres a few tips and tricks to improving your work-life balance, whether you work in the office, at home or a bit of both.
Be realistic - When planning your day, week or month, set goals that are attainable with your workload. Putting too much pressure on yourself can cause you to work ineffectively and slow you down.
Take a break - Regular breaks away from the screen, perhaps a lunchtime walk or simply taking 10 minutes to make yourself a drink or listen to music. Regular breaks give your fresh eyes and a moment for your mind to refresh.
Unwind - Rather than spending your commuting time catching up on emails, take the time for yourself, download an ebook, listen to a podcast or start learning a language.
Say no - It's easy to fall into a cycle of taking on more work and responsibility. It can be too much, not just in a physical sense that relates to the volume of work. But, also in a mental sense, everyone, at one point or another will face personal challenges, should you feel you are having a down week or month, say no to taking on more than you feel you can cope with.
Socialise - The post pandemic working world means many of us work from home at some point of the week, which, can be somewhat lonely. Make an effort to spend time getting to know your colleagues on days spent in the office. If you work from home full time take the time to complete jobs around the house, to free up your time in social hours.
Dedicate your workspace - Try not to blur the lines between leisure and work. Give yourself a designated work area, maybe a room or a desk. Get dressed everyday, you may find yourself lacking motivation when working in our loungewear.
If you'd like to know more about managing work-life stress, we've teamed up with Tor Walmsley, a qualified professional who specialises in the practice of mindfulness. To bring you an exclusive podcast in which Walmsley delves into the concept of a healthy work-life balance, her path into mindfulness and closes with a short practice that you can integrate into your everyday life.