What is work-life balance and why is it important?
Achieving an equilibrium between lifestyle and employment is tricky. Work-life balance concerns how each aspect of your week is prioritised and managed for your wellbeing. It is also about enhancement of both your work and play.
Lifestyle can cover anything outside work, including family, friends, hobbies, and spiritual development. Getting the balance right can make you happier, healthier and more productive in all aspects of your life.
There are many studies suggesting that failing to reach an effective work-life balance can be damaging to your health. So being a bit smarter about how you manage the distinction between your work and personal life could make you feel better about yourself overall. It could also protect you from burnout.
A good work-life balance can offer a range of mental health benefits, including greater satisfaction with quality of life, lower levels of stress and physical improvements, such as better energy levels and longer life expectancy.
Conversely, a poor balance and feeling overburdened can damage mental and physical health.
How can I maintain a healthy work-life balance?
We all have times when we’re especially busy and need to put in extra hours. But, for a healthy work-life balance, that situation needs to be the exception and not the norm.
Modern technology means we’re almost always contactable, which can make it very difficult to switch off from work. Rather than making you more efficient, by not giving your brain a chance to recharge you’re going to gradually become less productive.
So what are the warning signs you need to look out for to check you balance isn’t tipping in the wrong direction?
- You’re regularly working more than 10 hours a day
- You barely make a dent in your workload, however hard you work
- Your caffeine or nicotine intake increases to get you through each day
- You’re regularly feeling physically and emotionally drained during and after work
- You take work home with you in the evening or at weekends
- You suffer from weekly ‘Sunday-night blues’
- You’re getting a reputation for letting down friends at the last minute
So if you’ve allowed yourself to get into the situation where work is ruling your life and your nearest and dearest have almost forgotten what you look like, how do you get out of the rut?