8 Tips for Maintaining Work-Life Balance
When was the last time you’ve thought about work-life balance? In a society where dealing with the hustle and bustle of life has become a norm, many of us have resigned to the fate that nothing is ever going to change if we want to survive this economy.
Most of us are running on autopilot, allowing anyone and everyone to pull us in different directions without a clear personal boundary. What’s next? Burnouts, depression, falling sick and troubled relationships will probably be issues that we have to deal with.
What is Work-Life Balance?
Work-life balance refers to the comfortable amount of time, effort and emotion spent between work and personal life. As Wikipedia said, it is “the lack of opposition between work and other life roles. It is the state of equilibrium in which demands of personal life, professional life, and family life are equal.”
Work-life balance is the balance between having an exciting career and a fulfilling life as an individual. A person who enjoys work-life balance tends to be driven and motivated in every aspect of their life, on the contrary, a person who allows too much work or personal issues to infringe their life will eventually lose the zest for living.
Unfortunately, having work-life balance seems like an elusive dream for many because there is always too much work piling up, countless requests demanding your time and a painful sense of insecurity that caused you to succumb to external pressure. The trick here is not to resign to the awful fate of having a ‘bad life’ but to take back control with a few tweaks on how you manage life.
Why is Work-Life Balance Important?
Relieve Stress and Improve Mental Health
Maintaining work-life balance is key to maintaining great mental health and stress-free life. It prevents burnouts that typically happen in the workplace and chronic diseases that come along with such stress-induced complications.
A study by the Mental Health Foundation in the United Kingdom has found that:
- Nearly 15% of people experienced mental health issues in the workplace.
- Women in full-time employment are twice as likely to have a common mental health problem as compared to their male counterpart
- Nearly 13% of all sick absence in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions
Become More Productive
“All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.”
If your life revolves around work, then you are missing out on many wonderful things that you are meant to enjoy. This can make a person dull and a lot less attractive and relatable.
Having an interest and gaining experience outside of work can increase one’s skill set, knowledge, and management ability. Even a workaholic must know that employers these days prefer to hire well-rounded individuals with soft skills over those with hardcore technical knowledge, right?
Staying long hours at the office doesn’t make anyone an efficient employee, it may even dumb down the quality of work due to fatigue and reduced cognitive capacity. In another study conducted with 50,000 employees from Fortune 500 companies, employees who have work-life balance work are found to be 21% more productive than those who do not.
Better Physical Health & Well-being
When we have time to take care of our well-being, we’ll naturally feel better and enjoy greater health. That is why work-life balance is so important in the context of maintaining physical wellness and reducing the possibility of contracting illnesses at a later stage of our lives.
Research has shown that a poor work-life balance in midlife may have negative consequences decades later. Some of these problems include the risk of strokes, coronary heart diseases, and mental conditions such as anxiety and depression.
So, if you think that you can ignore your health now and look after it later, think again. Taking care of your wellness now is probably the only way that you can enjoy your life later. There are no two ways about it!
How to Maintain Work-Life Balance?
There are many ways for maintaining work-life balance, here are 8 tips that we want to share with you.
Time Some Personal Time Off
Take some time out for yourself and not let external demands get the better of you. This may mean unplugging from the digital world and blocking out the myriad of messages that are coming at you. Enjoy the quiet moments with yourself, do what you like and indulge yourself. When you feel recharged and refreshed, you can better appreciate your work and your life more deeply.
Evaluate Where You Have Given Too Much
The first step to achieving work-life balance is to know where you have gone wrong. Which area of your life have you given too much of your time and where have you neglected? Are you dedicating too much time at work and not paying any attention to your health? Have you given your power away and allowed others to take up your time too freely? Reflect on your lifestyle and habit and you may just find out where you have gone wrong.
Get Your Priorities Right
Make a list of your priorities to help you decide which areas of life you should place your time and effort. Would you like to spend more time with your children or give more attention to your wellness? Start penning these priorities down and from there start to plan your life accordingly. You may have to take time to adjust your life and even forego some obligations or people that may not fit in your life anymore.
Set Boundaries at Home and Work
Learn to say “No”.
Such a simple word, yet so many have difficulties saying it and ended up getting themselves into a string of never-ending obligations. While it is a virtue to be helpful, it can also be counter-productive if we don’t know how to set boundaries at work and home. Have a clear idea of your priorities then draw a boundary around what you can and cannot commit to. Overextending yourself may win you some nice compliments but in the long run, it may cause you more trouble than you’ve anticipated.
Follow Your Passion
This can range from finding a job that you are passionate about to get a hobby that resonates with your soul. Studies have shown that hobbies can relieve stress, improve creativity and build patience, a great tool for finding work-life balance if you ask me!
If you have always wanted to take up yoga, do it!
If you’ve been dreaming about travelling around the world, start planning it!
Meditate for Stress Reduction & Inner Peace
Starting a meditation practice is a great start for finding balance in the body, mind and soul. Through the practice, you can go inward to explore your true potential without the distraction of random thoughts and giving too much weight to the past and future. Meditation is also an effective tool for establishing confidence and having a clearer understanding of what your life purpose is.
Do One Thing at a Thing
Don’t let the world rush you into multi-tasking, especially when you are not ready for it. It’s a challenge to focus on two things and excel in them at the same time so give yourself a break, set your boundaries and commit to doing one thing at a time.
Don’t commit to baking a birthday cake for your niece when you are already worn out by your midnight shift, instead, devote your full attention to one task and make the most of it.
When you are working, focus on your work. When you are spending time with your family and friends, enjoy the precious moments and cherish them.
Be Open to Seek Help
There is no stigma in seeking help. We all go through trying times at one point or the other, if you are open to seeking help, many helpful channels will be opened to you. Tell your employers, co-workers, family and friends that you need a little assistance. Tell them about your struggles and be receptive to receive guidance.
This is the reason why life coaching and career coaching have been such popular services in recent years. People are recognising that it is much faster to learn from an expert who is well-versed with the issue than trying to go at it alone.
Work-Life Balance is Possible
Truth be told that maintaining balance is probably the toughest challenge in our lives. If there is too much work, our personal life with suffer, but if we spend too much time focusing on personal endeavours, our career may come to a halt. However, it is possible to have a successful professional career and fulfilling personal life, the crux of the matter is understanding our priorities and managing personal boundaries so that we can optimise our time, effort and emotions.
Don’t succumb to the common belief that work-life balance does not exist, we can all create the reality that we want as long as we acknowledge our worth and are willing to make it happen.
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