Learning

Understanding and Owning Your Work-Life Balance

Clare Anderson
10th September 2021
 < 1 min read

‘Work-life balance’ is a much bandied around concept - but how many of us really know what this means, why it’s so important and how to attain it? With WFH (where the line between your professional and personal life is often blurred) being the new norm, taking time to really understand, evaluate and improve (if necessary) your work-life balance is imperative for your overall well-being. As Forbes points out, maintaining work-life balance helps reduce stress and burnout in the workplace. Not doing this can lead to things like hypertension, digestive troubles, chronic aches and pains and heart problems. Mental health can also be negatively impacted through higher risks of depression, anxiety and insomnia. Employees who push themselves with too many hours of overtime are at a high risk of burnout - and this can cause fatigue, mood swings, irritability and decreased work performance.

So what exactly does work-life balance look like? Well it means something a little different to everyone - and our knowledge and approach to it is constantly evolving. Many factors come into play but you should remember that a healthy work-life balance involves more than just the number of hours you work. When considering employers, you should ask important questions like do they offer flexible work hours, opportunities for professional growth and social connections? Working for a company that prioritizes a healthy culture and actively cultivates a happy workplace environment - especially when everyone is based remotely from home - is crucial. Work should feel more like a second home (and being part of a family) and less like working for a pay cheque.

Exercising regularly is also super-important for maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Early morning exercise is one way to give you time to think about what you want to accomplish that day - and gives you an energy boost to fuel you through the day. Exercising after you’ve finished work is also a great way to de-stress and wind down for a peaceful evening. Ensuring you block out ‘me time’ on your calendar to relax and do things you enjoy is also key. Get to feel comfortable with turning down other events to focus on you - at least once a week - more often if you can. Also make sure you take your vacation time - even if you don’t go away somewhere during it! And ensure you can disconnect from work completely whilst you’re on vacation - not doing so is detrimental to your health, creativity and productivity. Also prioritize important personal commitments (such as family occasions) as much as work responsibilities.

Successfully finding the work-life balance that works best for you will mean so much more than just improved physical and mental health. Getting the balance right will mean having a clearer, more focused mindset - less worrying and more being in the present moment. It’ll also mean improved relationships with your family and friends - and higher engagement with your work. Feeling connected to your teammates will be motivating and you’re likely to perform at a higher level. Work-life balance also increases creative thinking. Your brain needs space to think - and when you’re stressed, overwhelmed or anxious, clarity on work projects or other challenges will elude you. So when you’re feeling better (both physically and mentally), are more focused and present, are able to think more calmly, clearly and creatively, plus you’re motivated to work hard - ultimately you will be more productive - and more successful - both in your professional and personal life. Was there ever anything more important to ensure you maintain?