Whatever field you work in and whatever level you find yourself, having a healthy work-life balance is important to succeeding and going far. For many, juggling the time spent between the office and home can be hard and evenings can feel wasted and weekends over in a flash. Equally, days at work can turn into evenings spent late in the office and catching up with emails in bed.
Sometimes, it can be hard to identify when you have an unhealthy work-life balance. Generally, the balance becomes unhealthy when work or life becomes busy and it’s at these times we struggle to reflect and self-analyse.
Feeling as though you are missing out on personal time and occasions – If you constantly feel like you are missing out on not only time to yourself but important milestones in your friends and loved ones lives then it may be you are experiencing a poor work-life balance.
Feeling unable to ‘switch off’ from work when at home – When you get home, if you find it hard to forget about what has happened in the day, or find yourself hopping straight back onto your emails then it’s clear that work is occupying a large amount of your mind (and therefore, your time.)
Feeling stiff and in pain all of the time – When we are stressed, we tend to hold ourselves more tensely, after time, this can translate to a constant feeling stiffness and even painful headaches and aches.
Feeling as though you can’t turn your phone off – If you feel nervous or even scared to turn your phone off in case of missing out on something, it’s likely that you are putting too much energy into work and allowing it to control your life.
Feeling as though your personal space is messy – One clear sign that you have a poor work-life balance is a messy workspace and home. When we are busy and stressed, it’s small things like this that go awry, and a constantly messy desk is a clear indicator that you aren’t taking the time to improve yourself and your surroundings.
Although there can sometimes be events out of your control than mean work has to be a bigger priority in your life, it is possible to craft a healthy work-life balance for yourself. Having a good work-life balance will satisfy both aspects of your life and make sure they work for you.
Being a people pleaser may seem like the best way to get to the top, but it’s also an easy way to experience burnout. By taking on too much, your plate will be filled with tasks that you either can’t complete or can’t complete to a high standard. Being able to manage expectations and say no when it all get’s too much is one of the main steps towards creating a healthy balance.
We spoke to Natalie Ellis, a HR consultant and blogger. Natalie explained her experience with having an unhealthy work-life balance: “When I first started my HR career, I was absolutely exhausted! I rarely made time for my family and friends and I felt like I had to work all the hours under the sun to prove myself and gain as much experience as possible. This combined with studying for my HR qualifications meant that I set very little time aside for much-needed rest which majorly impacted upon my own mental health, not to mention relationships with those closest to me.
She then explained what that had taught her: “It is important to keep in mind that by creating a healthy work-life balance, we are not being selfish, we are ensuring that we make time to get adequate rest which aids our productivity, as well as making time for our relationships with friends and family.”
Natalie’s tip for crafting a positive work-life balance is to learn how to say no: “I would say that the best tip is to hone the craft of being disciplined when it comes to work, it might mean learning to say no. Whilst this can be seen as a negative; if you are stressed and feel overwhelmed, you will not produce work to a high standard, and stress causes us to let things slip, so manage those expectations, saying no can be a good thing!”
As soon as you step out of the office door, your mind should be able to drift to simple things like what you might be having for dinner tonight, when to visit the gym and meeting your family and friends. Having the ability to leave work at work may be hard for someone who is used to bringing it home, but it helps create clear mental separations.
This could even mean un-syncing your work emails from your phone. In today’s society, many people have and are expected to access their work emails from their phone and there is a real ‘always on’ mindset. However, un-syncing your emails from your phone and home computer can help you get out of the habit.
WorkInConfidence is an app which allows management and staff to communicate issues in the workplace quicker and more successfully. The CEO, Tim Martin, offered his tip for fighting a poor work-life balance: “However committed to work, the vast majority of people function better when they have proper downtime to recharge the batteries. Even better if in that downtime they integrate healthy food, regular exercise and supportive friendships. In a digital age, realising the likely benefits and committing to creating an environment where you can and do take proper breaks from work can have a positive impact on your wellbeing.
Tim also explains that: “Having supportive colleagues who will pick up the slack when you are not around and creating good habits of switching off properly all help with achieving a work/life balance.”
Whether it’s a short walk home from the office, or a weekend getaway to a campsite, getting into nature can really help. Reporting on the 30 Days Wild campaign, which asked people to do something ‘wild’ for 30 days, the BBC said: “The study showed that there was a scientifically significant increase in people’s health, happiness, connection to nature and active nature behaviours, such as feeding the birds and planting flowers for bees – not just throughout the challenge, but sustained for months after the challenge had been completed.”
If you want to try and fit your work into new and more natural environments, exploring options like our Cheshire conference centre mean that you can do so in a fresh and beautiful setting, sure to bring a breath of fresh air to any meeting or conference.
Erin, a blogger at Beauty in the Busyness where she blogs about her fulfilled life. Erin told us: “We’ve heard for years that work/life balance exists, but how do you achieve it? No matter who you are and how much power you have, work and life are blended and often collide, causing a life of chaos, too many obligations, and a feeling of being stretched too thin. So, what should we be seeking instead?
“Life is too short, and time is too precious to be anything but fulfilled and complete. Seek a life that includes the best of all parts of you, not just the pieces that have been put into a ‘work’ box or a ‘personal life’ box. Focus on doing only the things in your life that fulfil you will provide better clarity on how time is spent and with whom. Say no to all the rest, and don’t apologize for it! When we commit to tasks or commitments or careers that drain us, we don’t have the energy to be present and joy-filled with our families or fully engaged while at work… creating that feeling of imbalance.”
So, whatever field you work in, take these tips and balance your work-life routine to make them work for you. Soon, you’ll have a spring in your step and will feel more successful both in your career, and your home life.