We’ve all been there. Work is a significant part of our lives, and we just can’t help thinking about it. You spend your days at work, and whilst relaxing at home, you’re still thinking about your workload, deadlines, or knowing you have a busy day ahead. Achieving a work-life balance is tough, but also important.
We can’t deny that technology is increasingly taking over our lives, and is something we just can’t stay away from. People walk across roads whilst on their phones, use their watches to keep updated, or take their laptops home with them so that they can carry on working during their personal time. Because of this, it’s leading to more difficult ways to enjoy our personal life.
Luckily for us, we talk about work-life balance a lot, because having a poor work-life balance is bad for your mental health.
The Mental Health Foundation Survey found that more than 40% of employees are neglecting other aspects of their life because of work, which may increase their vulnerability to mental health problems.
We openly talk about our work-life balance in catch-up meetings, giving us the opportunity to open up about internal/external pressures, whilst also organising social events outside of work like nights out, food, netball and football – the list goes on!
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s good to work outside of your working-hours. By replying to an urgent email, or quickly checking something that needs to be completed can relieve anxiety and stress about not having completed them prior to the next day. Sometimes, your job needs it. The important aspect is realising when it’s become a problem. Having a poor work-life balance doesn’t just affect your mental health. It can also affect your physical health, productivity and relationships.
So how can you try and improve your work-life balance?
If you’re feeling the pressure of work, or you feel that some demands are too much – talk about it! Take responsibility and make people aware of the struggles you’re facing.
Prioritisation is key! What can wait until tomorrow, and what do you feel you need to complete before the end of the day? Try not to get caught up in un-productive activities that can take up a lot of time if you already have deadlines.
Step away from the keyboard. Taking a break will help you look at things from a different perspective and increase your motivation.
Understand the linked between work-related stress and mental ill health. You can reduce stress through relaxation, mindfulness and hobbies.
Recognise the importance of protective factors
Exercise, leisure activities and friendships can improve your mental health and give you positive well-being. Try and spend spare time on them. If aspects of your job require you to work outside of working-hours, then make sure you spend time on your personal life too. Meet up with friends, see your family, or spend time doing something you enjoy. Your work doesn’t have to take over your personal life, so don’t let it.