In the trawls of working life, especially if you find yourself starting a new job or going through a stressful or busy period, it can often be hard to maintain a good work-life balance and this is turn may affect your mental health. We all go through difficult and stressful periods at one point or another whether it is personal or work related, and even if you are someone that copes with stress well, you can still find yourself feeling overwhelmed sometimes. Work-related stress can be a big factor that can affect our mental health, and although it may not always be possible to get rid of this stress completely it is important to find ways to control or reduce it to a more manageable level. A way of doing this is by trying to maintain a good work-life balance.
But what is work-life balance?
This is a phrase we use to describe the amount of time we spend on non-work related activities versus the time we spend on work related activities. If you find yourself spending more time on work-related activities, you may find yourself losing out on time for other activities such as hobbies and time with family and friends. What with the pressure people put themselves under to succeed in their careers, this is something that most people find themselves suffering from at one point or another, and this may lead to negative impact on their mental health. Similarly, this can be an important factor that can influence people in seeking or accepting new employment and so is something we should not neglect.
Everyone has their own way of dealing with things and one person’s methods may not suit someone else. However check out some of our suggestions that may be useful for regaining your work-life balance:
Plan your schedule well
One way of making the most out of your working day is by creating a check-list or schedule either at the start of each day or at the start of the week prioritizing tasks that need to be carried out. Allow yourself a certain amount of time for each task, allocating less time for less-important tasks, and stick to your schedule the best you can. What can also be useful is allocating a certain amount of time for those unseen or unavoidable unplanned tasks that can come up during the day, that way they won’t eat into your schedule as much. It may be an old-fashioned way of doing things, but working your way through your checklist will help you to utilize your time better and once you’re done, you’re done. Just make sure to be realistic.
Participate in social clubs / activities
If your workplace offers sport or social clubs, it’s definitely work checking out if there are any activities that you would be interested in taking part in. Having a fun and regular past time can help to motivate you during the day and help alleviate stress. Whether it’s something as simple as using your lunch break to go to the local gym, a book club once a month or a committee you are part of, having this social activity can help to give you feel more balanced, give you a break from work and depending on the past time give you a change to know your colleagues better and build better relationships with them.
Ask for help
If you find your workload is getting too much to the point you feel you are out of control, find an opportunity to speak with a colleague, your supervisor or HR. Take note of aspects of your work you feel are a concern for you and how it is making you feel. This can be difficult, speaking up about these issues can be tough as we can fear that it could negatively impact our relationships with colleagues or career prospects or make us look weak, however more and more companies look to promote positive mental health and work-life balance so it is important to be able to vocalize concerns. Speaking up is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Turn off your electronic devices once you leave the office
This can apply to some jobs more than others, but if you are in a job where you have a phone or laptop you may find it difficult to turn off. Recruitment is a great example of this, and sometimes it can feel like you never switch off. This is something that is important to learn to control, if you can avoid it minimize checking work emails outside of work hours or put a deadline on this from a certain time. Try not to bring your work home with you, if you manage your time well and make the most out of your day you deserve your free time, your job should not get in the way of your leisure time or social life.
It can be hard to find and maintain good work-life balance but it gets easier with practice, just remember it’s all about Working smart, not long!