Work-Life Balance: 10 Easy Habits to Prioritise Mental Health

Written by Priyanka Agarwal, Writer at Hola Health
Medically Reviewed by Amira Shah, MA in Couselling Psychology, Registered Psychotherapist, B.Ed with Guidance & Councelling B.Arts

Is work the only thing that gives essence to life? Time and again our work takes priority over everything else in our lives and we find ourselves juggling between our work and family life. Hence, creating a fulfilling work-life balance is extremely important to boost our mental health and emotional well-being. 

About 13% Australians work more than 50 hours per week. If we devote more time working long hours, it becomes really difficult to accomplish a strong balance between work and our personal life. Working overtime can result in fatigue and burnout with an impact on our physical health like high blood pressure and insomnia.  Striking the right work-life balance ensures synchronisation in different aspects of our lives. It involves intentionally taking out time for our friends and family, self care and other leisure activities which support our well-being in general. There are ways to achieve a good work-life balance, let’s explore more on this.

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What Does Work- Life Balance Mean?

Work-life balance is as important as having a balanced diet.It refers to successfully taking charge of duties at work and upholding a pleasing personal life outside of work. But we usually devote time to one side and the other seems to minimise unavoidably. Nevertheless, it is absolutely possible to pull off a life that supports our professional targets and personal relationships.

The equation of work-life balance is also quite unique and different for each one. For instance, for a student it might imply managing studies over meeting friends.  For a teacher, it might mean the convenience of managing a family get-together amidst a working day. For a parent, it might mean amending their work schedule to spend quality time with their children.

Why Is It So Important?

When we are stressed or over-burdened, we are usually at the risk of harming our social lives. To put it simply, our work life ratio is connected to our physical and mental health. We often make the error of convincing ourselves that working for extended hours can yield more outcomes. Wherein in reality, it can actually pose a threat to the employee’s health. 

We require variety in our lifestyles and additionally need to participate in a range of activities to boost up our energy levels. A few breaks every now and then are essential for creating a healthy balance. Stress at work is a part and parcel of our daily lives. Our psychological, social and physical well being is largely dependent on how we maintain our work-life balance. Thus, regulating a balanced life is vital for prolonged productivity and performance. It helps us to continue functioning to the best of our abilities  without the possibility of getting burnt out.

What Is An Unhealthy Work- Life Balance?

An unhealthy balance arises when our work life overshadows our personal life, leading to an overwhelming physical and mental unrest. Prolonged exposure to various workplace stressors like meeting deadlines leads to psychological stress. Individuals overburdened with work pressure are unable to cope with it effectively. Extended work hours, irregular self-care practices, insufficient sleep, and strained relationships are some signs of an unhealthy work-life balance.

What Is Considered A Good Work-Life Balance?

 Achieving a harmonious work-life balance is an ongoing journey, unique to each individual. Experimentation is key to finding what works best, but implementing strategies like taking short breaks, planning ahead, and nurturing family relationships can contribute to a more fulfilling and balanced lifestyle. It’s about making intentional choices and adjustments to ensure both professional and personal well-being are nurtured and sustained over time.

Signs Of A Poor Work-Life Balance

Here are a few signs that you should be aware of in order to identify an unhealthy work-life balance.

1. Working Overtime: Working relentlessly for hours can make you tired, further affecting your productivity. It is better to allocate your work properly and promptly to avoid fatigue and exhaustion.

2. Decline in Fitness: Sitting in one position, without any bodily movement can make you more lethargic. Move around and expose yourself to some fresh air to rejuvenate yourself.

3. Relationship Problems: If you cannot maintain relations with friends and family, you should probably re-evaluate your entire work routine. If you find nurturing connections with friends and family challenging, it may be time to reassess your entire work routine.

4. Impatient Behaviour: Stress can make us tense. You know it’s time for you to rest when you feel agitated at the tiniest of things and tend to lose your impatience.

10 Easy and Quick And Steps To Achieve A Good Work-Life Balance

If you’re wondering how to improve mental health at work while trying to achieve a good work-life balance, here are some pointers for you to navigate your way through the entire process.

1. Prioritise Yourself: Taking care of one’s health is the first step. For optimal health, prioritise healthy eating habits, including at least one meal at work away from the desk. Maintain a consistent exercise routine with a daily goal of at least half an hour. Ensure regular sleep patterns, aiming for seven to eight hours each night. Lastly, limit screen time before bedtime for better sleep quality.

2. Take a Break: Disconnect from work and grab a cup of coffee or take short walks, ideally every few hours. Taking regular breaks revives us.

3.  Usage of Technology: Making use of technology and AI can help us to increase orderliness and save more time. These include calendar and diary management apps, to better organise and schedule tasks. Online conferencing apps enable remote communication, reducing the need for physical presence in the workplace. Email auto-responders and AI help streamline email communication, reducing inbox clutter. Additionally, push notification blockers and forced downtime apps can help employees disconnect from work during non-working hours, promoting a healthier work-life balance by minimising distractions and interruptions.

4. Active Communication: Constant communication with your managers can help to smooth the entire work process. It helps you to finish your work faster. Additionally, take the opportunity to propose ideas for achieving a better work-life balance to your manager. Outline the strategies you wish to implement, communicate your reasons, and discuss the negative effects of poor work-life balance on both individuals and the company as a whole.

5. Take Annual Leaves: According to a 2019 survey by Travel Online, 66.5% of Australians don’t take all their yearly leave. People feel guilty, worry about work falling apart without them, and struggle to switch off. Taking a long break from work is essential for your mental health and well-being. 

6. Plan your time off: It is sometimes good to plan your weekends to make sure you enjoy activities that relax you and make you happy. It could be as simple as sleeping and ordering take-outs. Engage yourself in creative hobbies like painting, dancing, singing etc. These activities unwind you and give you a sense of accomplishment. Make it a point to take scheduled vacations each year. During vacations, employees should establish boundaries with colleagues, clearly indicating that they will not be available for contact.

7. Avoiding Multitasking: No matter how appealing the idea of multitasking sounds, it is always better to ignore it. Focusing on the task at hand saves up more time. Additionally, protect your time by only attending essential meetings.

8. Embrace your flaws: Do not aspire to be perfect all the time. Being good is also a great virtue. Strive for excellence, but perfection is not always attainable. Embracing your flaws is a virtue that reminds us that being good is admirable.

9. Set Boundaries: In a work culture with endless tasks and unclear job descriptions, employees feel pressured to work longer and be constantly available. Setting boundaries is vital for work-life balance. Prioritise tasks, learn to say no and silence notifications to minimise distractions outside of work. Decide on your working hours in advance and be sure to stick to them.

10. Flexible work hours: Based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 78% of Australian companies now provide various flexible work arrangements. These flexible schedules empower employees to choose the hours that align best with their needs and preferences.

Finding Work-Life Balance In Remote working

One of the major advantages of remote work is better flexibility. Finding the right work-life balance while remote working demands preparation and planning. Here are some tips:

1. Maintain a Routine: Try and follow a consistent daily routine that has regular breaks for meals and exercise.

2. Take Out Time For Self Care: Self-care activities like relaxing and hobbies help to increase our energy levels and refresh us. Incorporating yoga and meditation into our daily routines and practising them consistently revitalizes the body and enhances overall health (Sharma, 2015)

3. Limit Your Working Hours: Set obvious boundaries between work and personal life by defining specific work hours.

 4. Communicate Well: Efficient communication with your manager and colleagues ensures precision on targets, deadlines and expectations.

5. Detach: Disconnecting from work-related tasks and emails helps to recharge and get ready for the next day.

Finding a great work-life balance while working from home is more like buying happiness for yourself. No one reaches the idyllic state of understanding but with good practice, mindfulness and a strong mindset one can benefit from remote working.

How To Maintain a Work-Life Balance

Maintaining a good work-life balance is like finding a healthy stability between your professional responsibilities and personal commitments. It demands setting boundaries, scheduling a dedicated time for work as well as leisure, regular breaks and socialising with friends and family. Having realistic ideas about daily goals also contributes to a sustainable approach towards work. In addition to that, distributing equal amounts of time to hobbies and exercise also fosters a well balanced lifestyle. It’s about understanding the importance of both the worlds.

To sum it up, realising the correlation between work-life balance is the first step towards resolving it. It might take some time but little changes in our daily routine go a long way. While these changes may appear trivial at first glimpse, their collective impact over time can be fairly transformative.

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Reference

  1. Health Direct Australia:  Reference Link
  2.  Meditation: Process and effects: Reference Link

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Disclaimer

This content is created for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. For emergencies please immediately contact 000.