work-life-balance (1)It’s important to ensure you have a healthy work-life balance and the last few years has given many people an opportunity to reassess their work-life balance. Having a career and working is an important part of everyone’s life. It helps us pay the bills, gives us a sense of purpose and allows us to meet new people. It is obviously important, however, it’s also important to remember that work is only one part of our lives and it’s vital we make sure we have a balance that allows us to take those small breaks away from the work environment and give time to ourselves and our loved ones. It’s essential for both our mental and physical health.

What is a work/life balance?

  • A work/life balance varies for each person, but essentially is the amount of time a person gives to work compared to their personal life.
  • This balance can change depending on what becomes a priority. For example, changes in personal circumstances such as a house move, having children or having caring commitments.
  • You must be able to establish a work/life balance and then keep to it as best you can.

Why do we need it?

The need to unwind from work has become crucial due to the pressures of work increasing. We want to feel in control of the things that affect our lives. If we’re not, then it can prompt negative reactions:

  1. Work burn out: Someone who has worked too hard for too long can simply burn themselves out both professionally and personally. This could cause problems with your employer as you could be showing a lack of interest in your work, a short temper, or even disinterest in your colleagues. It could become problematic.
  1. Stress: If you don’t achieve a satisfying work/life balance, you could add extra stress to your life. If allowed to linger and develop, it can cause more serious side effects including developing of physical health problems as well as effect relationships and your family life.

If you do have a lack of balance, it can cause problems that can be costly physically, emotionally and financially. It’s essential to bring it into check as soon as you start to see or feel problems arising.

How can I achieve a better work/life balance?

The first step is to think of the current demands on your professional and personal life. Do you have time to yourself? Too much time? Or none at all? This will be something that varies for everyone, but you should make an effort to create a set of rules which you will stick to so you can get the right balance. Here are some of the ways in which you can do this:

  1. Create realistic boundaries between work and non-work items.
  2. Prioritise tasks within both aspects of your life.
  3. Set time aside for you. This could be an activity; something as simple as watching a film to restarting a hobby you’ve longed to make time for.
  4. Asking friends and family if you dedicate too much time to one or the other.
  5. Don’t check work emails out of hours and turn off notifications.
  6. Learn to say no, ask for support, delegate.

Why would my employer encourage this balance?

There are benefits for your company and employer as well as yourself to get this balance right:

  1. If a workforce is happy, it increases productivity within the team.
  2. Should an employee leave due to being overworked, there are costs to both the company and their reputation.
  3. Companies are always competing and by having flexible working options, they can entice potential employees.

Thankfully most companies will support you to achieve the right balance. If you are struggling, reach out to your manager or HR department who can help to put things in place to help you. Always talk to someone about how you are feeling as getting the right support in place will help stop the problems getting bigger. Speak to your GP if you don’t feel you can speak to a friend or family member.

Remember be kind to yourself!

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