7 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance
What do you go to work for? For most people, their motivation for going to the office each day is to earn money. A lot of people, although crucially not all, enjoy their jobs and gain a lot of satisfaction from their career. But very few individuals would claim that work is their life. Everyone has, or should have, a fulfilling life outside of the office full of loved ones, laughter, and adventure.
But some people find it very difficult to maintain a healthy balance between their professional lives and their personal lives. Perhaps you work long hours each day, leaving little time left in the evening to wind down or spend time with your family. Or maybe you have a job with a lot of responsibility, where you feel pressured to work on weekends or late into the evening.
Although your job is certainly important, it is even more crucial to look after yourself and set firm boundaries between work and relaxation. If you overdo it in the office, you are putting your mental health at risk. You’ll end up stressed (if you’re not already), unhappy, and potentially facing mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
If this sounds like you, it’s important you take steps to rethink your approach to work. These seven tips will help you sort out your priorities and spend more time on your personal life without sacrificing your career.
Talk to someone
The best thing you can do if you’re struggling at work is to talk to someone. Speak to your manager about the pressures you are facing, and it may be that they are perfectly happy to find a solution, whether by helping you manage your workload or by allowing you more flexibility in your working pattern
Clock out on time
You are contracted to work fixed hours each day. For most people, this will be 9am to 5pm, although this can differ. But some individuals feel pressure to work well beyond their clock-out time, thinking it will make them look bad if they pack up at 5 each day. But unless you have an urgent deadline to meet, there is no reason you should be doing this. Leave on time, get a restful evening and you’ll feel much more energetic in the morning. Instead of working into the night, use your evening to spend time with your family, go for a run, or prepare a delicious home-cooked meal.
The same goes for the morning too. Why get up at the crack of dawn to be the first one in the office? Stick to your assigned working schedule, and you’ll notice you are no less productive for it.
Working all day without a break is not only bad for your mental health, but it will also have a negative impact on your productivity too. Taking a few fifteen minute breaks here and there to give your eyes a rest, stretch a little, chat to a colleague, and make a hot drink will do wonders for your mind. Remember also to use your full lunch break - no eating sandwiches at your desk. Use this time to take a walk or deal with personal issues like booking appointments if you have to. This is your own personal time so do with it whatever you like.
Ask for a flexible working arrangement
Flexible working is the future. The pandemic proved that people don’t need to go into the office every day in order to get work done. With all the collaboration tools and communication devices we have available, it’s perfectly possible to be an effective employee from home. So many businesses have moved to the cloud, using services like Azure Analytics Consulting, meaning you can access your work files and systems from any device, anywhere in the world.
If you are working in the office five days a week, have a chat with your boss. Ask if you can adopt a hybrid working method, whereby you only come into the office two or three days instead. This will save a huge amount of time and money on commuting, while giving you more freedom to deal with personal commitments like childcare, fitness, and health appointments. It may take some convincing, but the benefits are there. And the worst that can happen is your boss says no.
We’ve all been there. You’re out with friends or enjoying some quality time with family at home, and then a notification pops up on your phone informing you of an issue at work. Even if it can wait until Monday, such problems can stress you out instantly and take away all enjoyment from your personal time. If possible, try to completely disconnect from work once you leave the office. Turn off notifications from your work emails or messaging apps and just forget all about your job until the next morning.
Find fulfilling hobbies
Having a hobby to focus on outside of work will make your personal time so much more fulfilling and meaningful. It will take away a lot of the stress of work and make you a happier, more positive person. After a weekend of engaging in your favorite activity, you will feel rested and recharged, in fighting form to come back to work and get things done. Your hobby can be anything you like from long-distance running to knitting to volunteering at your local animal shelter. Find something you love and you’ll never look back.
Seek other options
If you are finding it hard to maintain an appropriate work-life balance, you don’t have to stay in the same career forever. There are plenty of forward-thinking companies out there who value their employees and respect mental health as something to be protected. If you look hard enough, you will find a career where you earn a good wage and make a difference while also finding enough time to spend on the things and people you love.
By following these tips, you will no doubt find techniques for improving your work-life balance and benefiting your mental health.
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