Achieving a Healthy Work-Life Balance

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I remember during lockdown, working from home became crucial. Staring at the same four walls, receiving work calls after hours, and having work emails on our phones made it challenging to separate work and personal time. For some, this blurred boundary has become a lasting situation, and defining the line between work and personal life has become a struggle. Working from a corner of your bedroom or dining table blurs the lines between work and personal space, making it challenging to switch off after work hours and resist the temptation to constantly check emails. While the lack of commute saves time, many of us miss the separation between home and work environments, which serves as a mental transition between the two aspects of life.

Have you ever felt like work takes over your life?

In the past and even now, balancing work and personal life has been a challenge for me. I looked into three studies on balancing work, family, and health. The research reveals that many people in the UK find it difficult to manage both aspects, especially in 2023. Let’s review the key findings from these studies.

  • 31% of UK workers feel they don’t have a good work-life balance.
  • Half of those who changed jobs in 2002 did so to improve their work-life balance.
  • UK employees work the longest hours in Europe, averaging 42 hours per week.
  • More than half of millennial dads want a job that lets them spend more time with their kids.
  • 88% of UK workers have experienced burnout in the past 2 years.
  • Nearly 3 in 10 employees believe poor work-life balance reduces their productivity.
  • 82% of Brits skip full lunch breaks, with two-thirds eating at their desks most days. I did this many times in my people leader role.

Do these resonate with you? You’re not alone. In my role as a people leader, I’ve heard these concerns frequently over the years, and it’s always a popular topic of discussion.

Is it about more than just going to the gym and being with family? In a world where work and home boundaries are getting mixed, especially with remote work on the rise, how do you find the right balance?

Many of us find it challenging to balance work and home life, leading to feelings of overwhelm and overwork. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. In this blog, we’ll explore ways to achieve a better balance by recognising both healthy and unhealthy work-life practices.

It’s all about balancing time and energy between work, personal life, and self-care. Ideally, we should be able to enjoy time with family and engage in activities we love after work. Here are some important ways for maintaining a healthy work-life balance:

Time Management: Organise and prioritise tasks effectively.
Setting Boundaries: Define work hours and separate work from personal time.
Stress Management: Practice mindfulness, exercise, take breaks, and disconnect from work.
Flexibility: Adapt your schedule without compromising work commitments.

So, why is it important to prioritise work-life balance?

Just as we prioritise our health, it’s essential to take care of our work-life balance by engaging in various activities and getting enough rest. We often feel the need to stay busy all the time, but overworking can harm our health and affect our relationships with both our employers and loved ones.

What does an unhealthy work-life balance look like?

It involves feeling overwhelmed by constant work demands, even during weekends and holidays, without giving ourselves the rest we require to thrive. Neglecting personal relationships and hobbies, experiencing burnout from chronic stress and neglecting self-care, such as a lack of exercise and adequate sleep, are signs of an unhealthy work-life balance.

How do we get better and improve our work life balance?

The reality is there is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving balance. However, trying out some of these tips can help you feel more at ease and in control of your work-life balance.

Set Clear Limits: Define your work hours and personal time clearly. Learn to say no to extra tasks and avoid taking on too much.

Take Care of Yourself: Make time for activities that keep you healthy and happy, like exercise, hobbies, and spending time with family and friends.

Unplug Regularly: Take breaks from technology throughout the day to relax and focus on non-work activities.

Schedule Breaks: Give yourself short breaks during the workday to refresh your mind and reduce stress.

Delegate and Get Help: Don’t hesitate to ask for help at work or home to free up your time.

Discuss Flexible Options: Talk to your employer about flexible work arrangements that suit your needs.

Set Achievable Goals: Break tasks into smaller steps and set realistic goals to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Switch Off After Work: Avoid work-related tasks after hours to unwind and recharge.

Reach Out for Support: Talk to friends, family, or a professional if you need help balancing work and life. Support can make a difference.

Trying to do everything and please everyone can be exhausting and overwhelming. If you’re feeling stuck despite your efforts, feel free to ask me questions or consider my therapy services for further help.

Contact Chris

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