If you're struggling to achieve that elusive work-life balance, know that you're not alone. Learn how to manage your time effectively, detach from your work (as difficult as it may sound), and take care of your own mental and physical health.
The boundaries between work and home were pretty straightforward once upon a time. However, in today's world, work is much more likely to spill over into your personal life, especially with the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance may seem increasingly challenging when you have to work from home. Modern-day technology allows you to be connected constantly and may enable work to bleed into time spent at home.
Don’t worry; we assure you that a work-life balance is still on the books for you. Consider your relationship with your work and think about ways to strike a healthier balance.
Are you married to your work? Consider the cost
If you spend most of your time working
or at work, it may negatively impact your work and home life. Consider the following consequences of having a poor work-life balance:
- Fatigue: When you're drained, your ability to work effectively and think clearly may suffer – which can take a toll on your professional reputation, cause costly mistakes or dangerous ones.
- Poor Mental Health: Stress may exacerbate many existing medical conditions and put you at risk of substance abuse.
- Missing out: If you’re working late most days, you might miss important family occasions or events. This can make you feel left out and negatively impact your closest relationships.
Strike a healthier work-life balance
As long as you work, juggling the demands of your personal and professional life will be a constant challenge. But by setting clear boundaries and looking after yourself, you’ll be able to achieve a work-life balance that’s most suitable for you.
If you don’t set clear boundaries, work can and will leave you with little to no time to nurture relationships and do activities you enjoy. Consider the following strategies:
Manage your time:This doesn't only mean scheduling but also giving yourself enough time to complete tasks. Give yourself a little wiggle room and avoid overscheduling yourself.
Learn to say “No.”:Try to minimize the tasks on your To-Do list after carefully evaluating your priorities. Delegate activities that you can’t manage or don’t enjoy – communicate with your employer or co-workers about your concerns or potential solutions. When you stop accepting tasks out of guilt or fear of reprisal, you'll get to focus on activities that you find more meaningful.
Detach yourself from work: Frequently using technology to connect to work or working from home can make you feel like you’re always on the job. This may lead to excessive or chronic stress. Seek counsel or guidance from your supervisor about expectations of when you can disconnect. If you’re working from home, dress up and dedicate a quiet space for work, if possible. Once you’re done working, detach yourself from work and transition to home life by changing out of your work clothes, taking a walk, drive or participating in an activity with your children.
Consider what your options are:Talk to your employer about flex hours, job sharing, a compressed workweek, or any other flexibility in your work scheduling. The more control you have of your work hours, the less stressed you'll be.
Take good care of yourself
A healthy lifestyle is vital to cope with stress and achieve a good work-life balance. Eat well, sleep well and perform some form of physical exercise daily. In addition to this, consider the following:
- Rest and relaxation: Schedule in time for activities you enjoy like reading, gardening, or practicing yoga. Hobbies such as these will help you relax, recharge and recuperate. To go one step further, find activities to do with your partner, friends, or family – like dancing, camping, or cooking.
- Volunteer: Research reveals that volunteering and doing service can help improve your connections with others and lead to lower psychological distress as well as higher levels of life satisfaction.
- Create a support system: Establish healthy relationship dynamics with co-workers who can help cover for you at work and with friends and family members who can help resolve personal conflicts. At home, entrust your close friends and loved ones to help with child care or other household responsibilities when you have to work late.
Dr. Sharon Fried Buchalter Ph.D., is a distinguished clinical psychologist, life coach, and public speaker who has worked as a Marriage and Family Therapist and clinical social worker. She received the highest accreditation as a board-certified diplomate-fellow in advanced child and adolescent psychology. She has spent her lifetime educating, enlightening and empowering parents and children of all ages.
She has developed revolutionary tools to help couples, parents, and families achieve happiness and success. Her first book Children Are People Too, provides eight essential steps designed to strengthen families and empower parents to be their own child’s life coach and mentor. Her second book New Parents Are People Too, provides relationship advice for couples entering parenthood for the first time.
She is also the founder and owner of Products On The Go. And Little Toes.