Finding the right work-life balance: Life in the twenty-first century can be overwhelming. The rise of globalisation has blurred the lines of working hours; the advent of the Covid pandemic and the pre-requisites of younger generations has changed employees’ work lives through demands for a world of remote working with flexible hours.
Technological advancements allow us to stay connected to our work 24 hours a day, making it difficult to disconnect from our professional lives. Additionally, financial pressures, such as the current cost of living crisis and rising debt, are forcing the engaged workforce to have no choice but to work longer and longer hours. This can make it challenging to find time or money to engage in leisure activities. It’s no wonder that in today’s culture, managing work-life balance has become an increasingly difficult task for many people.
In a world of ever-increasing demands and expectations, social media pressures and the stress of trying to keep up with the fast-paced nature of the modern world, it’s crucial to find balance as employees increasingly feel overwhelmed. Working long hours makes it difficult to find an equilibrium between our personal and professional lives. Finding a better balance is of paramount importance to workers and employers alike, as work-related stress is a tragedy of cataclysmic proportions.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential to survive the stresses of the current climate. A good work-life balance is critical in helping us live harmoniously in this day and age. A healthier work-life balance can help you achieve success professionally and personally. This article will explore the importance of balance in our daily lives.
What is Work-Life Balance?
Work-life balance is a term used to successfully determine the ability to juggle work and personal commitments. It’s the equilibrium between both fulfilling one’s professional responsibilities and caring for individual needs. It is the taking of time to ensure that both are addressed, and both receive the appropriate attention they deserve.
It’s not necessarily about allocating the equivalent time for work and life, but finding a balance that works for specifically for you. A good work-life balance is the process of finding a healthy balance between work and leisure activities so that individuals can enjoy their lives without feeling overwhelmed, or exhausted. It’s also the ability to successfully manage work and personal life in a way that allows for a sense of satisfaction and contentment. A delicate balancing act, if achieved, can lead to improved health and life satisfaction.
The Importance of Work/Life Balance
Work-life balance is essential because it allows you to have a better quality of life in many ways:
- Stress Reduction – When your work-life balance is out of whack, it can lead to feelings of constant pressure and chronic stress, resulting in eventual burnout. By ensuring that you have time for work and enough time for leisure, you can ensure that your stress levels remain manageable and that you’re productive and successful in both the professional and personal aspects of life.
- Mental health – Life imbalance can lead to feelings of constant anxiety and depression, thus increasing the propensity to suffer burnout. By taking the time to prioritise your work and leisure activities, you can reduce anxiety levels and ensure that you have time for yourself and that you can relax and re-energise.
- Physical Health – When constantly feeling overwhelmed and stressed can take its toll on the physical body. Having equal time for both work and leisure activities can help you get enough sleep, exercise, and eat a healthy diet. All these factors can contribute to increased self-care, which contributes to better physical health and improved well-being.
Benefits of Work-Life Balance
Living in balance can lead to several benefits, including increased productivity, greater job satisfaction and the building of better relationships.
- Productivity: Work-life balance can increase productivity. Knowing you have clear boundaries with time allocated to work and play allows you to focus on the present and tasks at hand. Rather than being time-constrained which can lead to feelings of overwhelm associated with work and personal life demands.
- Job Satisfaction: Work-life balance can also lead to increased job satisfaction, as it allows you to feel more in control of your life, which in turn can increase motivation to work, which increases feelings of happiness and achievement.
- Relationships: Having a work-life balance can also lead to improved relationships, as it allows for more time to be spent developing a social life and spending quality time with family and friends.
How Work-Life Balance Can Reduce Stress
Many of us struggle due to too much stress, leading to many health issues, including sleep deprivation and disruption, physical ailments, and general malaise. Stress can be caused by a multitude of circumstances including work, family, and financial pressures.
Stress can be lessened in the working environment by employees’ focus on replacing long hours with working remotely and reducing weekly working hours. By employees taking time for themselves and allowing personal lives to take more centre-stage, more personal time is reserved for hobbies and calming pursuits.
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Stress can be reduced by taking the time to relax and unwind. It’s essential to find activities and hobbies that can help us to focus on something other than stress, such as yoga, walking, crafting, meditation, painting or reading. Additionally, we should get enough rest and sleep, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy diet.
Barriers to Creating Work-Life Balance
Creating a work-life balance can be difficult for many people due to the reasons mentioned above. Financial and work constraints and various cultural and societal factors, such as the perception that working less means you are lazy or work-shy and the resultant lack of support within the work environment. Additionally, mindset and attitude can act as a barrier to relinquishing their current imbalanced existence as people feel they need more time and energy to make the changes required to create more excellent work/life equilibrium.
Top Tips for Creating Work-Life Balance
Creating a work-life balance requires making changes to one’s lifestyle and mindset. Here are some top tips and examples for creating that status quo:
Look at your current situation and outline your priorities. Is your aim to spend less time at work? Have more hours in the week to achieve personal ambitions? Work only half the time or share job role with colleagues? Implementing these changes can include setting boundaries and compartmentalising time to create a schedule that works for you.
Creating a healthy work-life balance requires dedication and effort to create a plan for managing your time and energy. A plan should include setting goals and deadlines for completing work tasks and a productivity tracker .
Additionally, it is vital to recognise your limits and have realistic expectations. Be aware of when you need to take a break or ask for help. It’s important to struggle no more!
Where to Get Help with Work-Life Balance
Here are five steps to creating the balance you seek to help you lead an optimal life
- Identify how balanced your life is
- Assess the results
- Clarify how you want to live both your professional and private life
- Approach people with whom you need to discuss the changes required to create your new balanced life. These can include your boss, relevant family members (partner/dependents), and healthcare professionals (doctor, therapist, stress-management coach). All of whom should recognise that health and well-being are priorities that cannot be taken for granted
- Stipulate what your preferences are for each person
- Implement the changes based on what’s important to you and your unique set of priorities (not based on working harder)
Creating a positive work-life balance is essential to thriving in a stressful world. To create a balance between work and personal life, it is important to practice self-care, which means prioritising your own needs. Doing this can reduce stress, improve well-being, and lead an optimal life.
- UTC.edu – 8 Productivity Apps to Help You Focus… – Found on 08/02/2023
Link to page on utc.edu