Work holds vastly different values for everyone; for one it might be the reason they get up in the morning, the thing that gets their brain going and their source of satisfaction when a job is done well, for others it may merely be a means to an end, and for others still it may be a labour of love but something they find incredibly challenging, either physically or mentally. We all look for different things from our relationships with work, but for the good of our health, we need to find our own work-life balance.
Finding your work-life balance
Don’t have a clue where to start when weighing up your work-life balance? Well if you’re not reading this with a voice screaming ‘you have got to get some of that!’ then it’s likely you’re not weighing too heavily on the work side of the scales, however so many of us allow work to cause us unnecessary stress and anxiety which can be detrimental to our physical and mental health.
The negative effects of an unbalanced lifestyle when it comes to work can actually be surprisingly damaging to your career too, so staying ahead of the issue and preventing it from developing is vital. In 2018, HSE (health and safety executive), reported that 595,000 individuals in the UK suffered from some form of work-related stress, depression or anxiety, sighting reasons such as changes at work, lack of support and workload. With common issues such as these, individual workers need to take it upon themselves to take preventative and reactive measures to help themselves.
To avoid your career impacting negatively on your life overall, take a moment to assess the things you value. Ask yourself things like:
- How happy does your job make you?
- What are the things that I dislike about my job (ie too much over time)
- Do you enjoy time outside of work?
- Do you have a career plan that you need to stick to?
By asking yourself questions like these you can begin to see the picture of your working life from a more objective point of view and from here begin to know where to implement change.
Tips to gain a little more ‘life’ in your work-life balance:
Stick to your working hours
It’s so easy to get drawn into the, ‘I’ll just do a little more, then it’s done’ mindset. While you may have a job which does demand extra attention, on a regular day, try your best to stick to the working hours you’re paid to complete. Work hard in this time, but don’t assume that you need to stay for an extra hour (or more) each evening just to feel better, or because colleagues do. If you find that you’re constantly struggling to complete your workload, perhaps it’s time to look at the way you structure your day, or it’s possible you’re being given more than your fair share!
Change your working hours
If your working hours aren’t working for you then this can be a huge issue; this might be down to the role you have or the industry you work in, in which case you might want to take on the larger consideration of, ‘is this job right for me?’, or it might just be down to the way you work. Asses when you work best in the day, this differs for everyone, some people power through their mornings and have incredibly unproductive afternoons or vice versa, while some work better in the evenings. While your options may be limited here, if your workplace allows for flexible working, take advantage of it. For example, if your mornings are nigh on useless then take a later start, do your housework, exercise class, work on your side hustle, or whatever your evenings would include, in the morning and opt to work a couple of hours later or at home in the evening instead.
What relaxes you?
So many people struggle to either find the thing which relaxes and de-stresses them or struggle to find time for it, however, if you really look at your schedule, it’s likely there is definitely time which could be carved out for this! Typical activities include walking, listening to or creating music, reading, or you could find something creative manages to switch your mindset, it could even just be a good chat with a friend. Ultimately, in a busy life finding your form of exercise is usually a great place to start, it might be a 30minute home yoga session or a quick run as soon as you get home, to shake off your working day. Whichever activity you find really de-stresses you, make time for it each day!
Find a mantra
Mantras can be a really great way to start to change any aspect of your life. This doesn’t mean you have to chant it to yourself at the being of every day, it just means that you have one clear phrase or sentence which concisely reminds you of something - in this case it might be ‘my work does not solely define me’ - reminding you to make time for the other things which shape you, or ‘Working well does not have to mean working more’ - reminding you that you don’t have to do overtime just because everyone else is, do your job well and leave work at work.