Promoting Health By Creating Work-Life Balance
Developing a work-life balance is unique to everyone's individual needs and is attainable through dedication.
Work-life balance is essential to a healthy lifestyle. The ability to juggle pressures from the personal and professional realms simultaneously is essential. This balance can help prevent burnout and increase an employee's overall quality of life.
Since a large portion of the weekday hours are dedicated to work, intentionally integrating personal life pursuits in non-work times can offset the grind of work. Once a satisfying work-life balance is obtained, it can be easier to continue; however, cultivating that stability can feel like an insurmountable hurdle. Fortunately, this balance can be generated with conscientious reflection and value-based living.
Before pursuing a work-life balance, it is essential to first define what it will look like for your life. Balance is an individual experience and varies depending on a person's job, partners, children and other responsibilities. Be willing to explore what is possible for you, and how your lifestyle can be more evenly divided between work and home.
Technology has vastly amplified the accessibility of employees to employers outside of work, but this constant availability takes its toll on employees, their relationships and their general well-being. The ability to be continually accessible to work undoubtedly leads to increased stress in employees, which is known to correlate to decreased productivity. Promoting work-life balance, on the other hand, is associated with higher employee retention and overall well-being.
What To Do At Work
While at work, there are many ways to relieve work-related stress, inevitably aiding in the ability to leave your work tasks at work when you head out for the day.
Prioritize Your Time
Most importantly, prioritizing your time will be the cornerstone to a work-life balance. This firstly includes only working the hours assigned in your job description, and if possible, not working overtime.
Ask For What You Need To Succeed
Ask your employer for what you need to excel at your job. If you aren’t a morning person, inquire about an adjusted work schedule to come in an hour later.
Incorporate Small Rewards
When tackling projects, give yourself small rewards for achievements throughout the assignment and break larger tasks into smaller ones so the end can be in sight.
Ensure Your Workspace Works For You
Since so much time is spent at your job, it is crucial to experience contentment and satisfaction in your workspace and workstation. For your physical health, do an ergonomic assessment, if possible, to ensure your space is working for you. [Learn more in "The Importance of Setting Up Ergonomic Workstations For Office Workers"]. Adding small personal touches in decor, adding plants or setting up a way to listen to your favourite music can also boost happiness while at work.
Utilize Technology To Help
While technology can hinder the balance often strived for, technology can also assist in creating more balance. If it’s possible to not attend all meetings, only attend those that pertain to you specifically. Attending via video chat can also assist in time management. While at work, ensure that you take real rest breaks. Get up and stretch several times an hour, this helps creativity flow. On your lunch break, allow yourself to just “be.” Shovelling food while continuing to do more work does not count as a break. If necessary, leave your office during your lunch break to solidify it as sanctioned time.
What To Do At Home
Coming home after work is often a frantic endeavour, focused on personal responsibilities, chores, and preparations for the following day. However, there are a few ways to ease the transition.
Take A Few Minutes To Decompress And Recalibrate Your Mind For Relaxation
Take a break when you get home, and just sit for 15 minutes. Allow your body to decompress after a long day by engaging in meditation, breathing, or by silencing technology. If you can, turn off notifications for work-related technological interruptions, such as email, or put your phone on the “Do Not Disturb” function. Changing clothes after arriving home can be helpful to differentiate between professional you and personal you, keeping work and home life separate.
Don't Try To Do It All
Alter your expectations of what home life can or should be and prepare to let things go. For example, the dishes may not need to be done every day, or other household members can potentially contribute to certain household responsibilities.
Get Your Body Moving And Schedule In Priorities
If possible, schedule in physical activity to energize you for the following day. Exercise has a wide variety of health benefits and is an important thing to incorporate into your daily routine.
Continually reflect on the priorities in your personal life, such as relationships and activities, to find what you can let go of. Schedule your personal activities, something you love, in like an appointment: consider them non-negotiable. It can be helpful to schedule these activities on the way home from work so you don’t get side-tracked by the mundane demands of home life.
Find Ways To Add Balance Wherever You Can
Try stacking activities that bring joy onto something that you already do, with the intention of bringing balance to your life. While brushing your teeth, listen to uplifting music. On your commute, take in a podcast or drive in silence and let yourself take in the scenery.
The process of developing a work-life balance is an experiment, so something that works for one season may not work forever. Keep checking in with yourself regarding what’s working and what isn’t. Forming habits requires intention from the individual but also support from the workplace, including transparent discussion about boundaries and an employee's unique capacity. Set clear boundaries and communicate those to everyone involved. People need to know what your limits are. If they aren’t respected, you get to change your relationship to that person. Allow yourself to say “no”; it’s easier than saying “yes” and then having to back out at the last minute.
Questions to Ponder
What does balance mean for you? What are your values? What do you want your life to look like? What is one small step that can get you closer to that ideal? What you can let go of? What do you value? What do you want more of?
Creating a work-life balance can be an intimidating task, but the benefits of developing this stability between personal and professional are numerous. The foundation of developing this balance is prioritizing one’s values, the activities that bring a sense of inner peace. Investing time, energy and resources into this important life balance can protect against exhaustion. Both achieving and maintaining a work-life balance allows staff to have sustainable careers in fields they love.
Written by Bethany Zelent | Psychotherapist
Bethany Zelent is a registered psychotherapist and certified yoga instructor, completing her Masters of Counselling with Athabasca University, emphasizing healing from childhood trauma and working through existential issues. Bethany focuses on intentional living, enjoying life's journey and learning to be present in each moment.