How to Achieve a Sustainable Work-Life Balance
Most will agree that the past eighteen months has been a particularly challenging time in many respects, not least when considering how to balance a personal life with the demands and pressures of work. For people trying to juggle the two in the same room at the same time (kids in the background of Zoom calls, cats climbing on desks etc.), it has been particularly tough. But now things are easing back to some semblance of normality, or a new version thereof, how can we be sure that we are achieving the best balance for our businesses, our families, and, most importantly, our health?
One in six of us will struggle with our mental health and increasing demands on our time and energy is a contributing factor, which is why it’s important to preempt issues before they arise, ensuring you have a manageable workload and that friends and family understand any pressures you may be under.
An unhealthy work-life balance may include aspects of neglect; for example, you may be neglecting to put aside time for yourself or you family due to work pressures, or neglecting to undertake normal every day tasks, such as preparing healthy meals. Feeling anxious or unhappy about the amount of time dedicated to work is also a telltale sign.
To address these issues, you will need to take responsibility for the balance. This includes speaking up, either to an employer or a client, when demands are becoming unmanageable — if you do not vocalise your boundaries, nobody knows where they lie and pressures will continue to mount. Lines will need to be drawn: if you work from home, this may take the form of moving your desk to a room in which you can close the door at the ned of a working day.
Recognising the importance of leisure time is key — this time could be utilised for exercise, catching up with friends or simply having a bath. Spending your spare time on yourself is not selfish; it is a protective factor and will benefit your mental health in the long run.
If the thought of your current job stresses you out, regardless of the time spent on it, it may be time to consider a career change. And, if stress feels unmanageable or doesn’t ease after lifestyle changes, do seek professional help.