The Importance of a Work / Life Balance
People can be so busy with responsibilities and routines, that there seems to be little time for a personal life. Tipping the scales in either direction can mean added stress and strain to your health both physically and mentally; it can cause depression, feelings of loneliness, lack of sleep, and a reduced appetite. You want to be able to enjoy your life and not feel like you have to sacrifice relationships to do well in your job, or give up personal down time in order to fulfil responsibilities — But how can you do that?
What is balance?
It is important to understand just what a work life balance is in order to be successful in implementing one into your life. Finding that balance will involve tough choices, as it is not something that a person just has. If you are taking on more than you can handle at work, or not delegating tasks to others when possible, you are only creating more stress for yourself. That is YOUR choice. But by making others aware the work is too much for one person, or delegating tasks someone else can do perfectly well in your place, you will discover that you are more relaxed — and most importantly — you will have more TIME for yourself. You can actually take a lunch break with colleagues without panicking about all the work left on your desk, spend time with your family without dreading going into work the next day, or even enjoy something as simple as a relaxing bath!
Mental strength, resilience, and courage are important in making these decisions, as you will have to make tough choices in order to simplify your life. Sure, taking that promotion would be great from a money point of view, but if it means spending even longer hours at work, and in turn not having the time and energy to socialise or even feed your body, it isn’t worth it.
Work life balance is really about:
- Prioritising what’s important to you without feeling guilt or shame.
- Letting go of trying to have / do it all.
- Having strong boundaries.
- Being present and not distracted with other aspects of your life.
- Making an impact without sacrificing health and happiness.
- Feeling content with who you are and your choices.
Negative effects of an unbalanced life
Just like having a balanced diet is important for your physical health, having a good work life balance is important for your mental health. Without that balance you can suffer from depression, loneliness, extreme stress, and a decline in your physical health (especially if you aren’t eating right due to stress or lack of time). Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
In 2020, a staggering 79% of British adults in employment commonly experienced work-related stress. This is 20% higher than the findings in 2018. 55% experienced anxiety as a result of work stress, and almost half (43%) lost sleep. Everyone has experienced anxiety at some point in their lives, and are fully aware that it’s not a pleasant feeling. Prolonged stress and anxiety can end up giving you physical symptoms such as headaches, an upset stomach, high blood pressure, and chest pain. Lack of sleep can make you irritable, sluggish, and unable to concentrate, all of which won’t help you complete your responsibilities very well (whether at home or at work).
Lacking appetite due to stress is only one worry when it comes to your physical health. 1/3 of British adults in employment who admitted to experiencing work related stress also stated they turn to comfort eating in order to cope. This can be very bad for your body, as it’s more than likely these people are turning to the unhealthy food options, as opposed to finding comfort in bowls of broccoli. Emotional eating, especially unhealthy foods, can lead to obesity, heart and blood pressure problems, and only serves to bury the stress as opposed to facing it and making it go away for good.
Equally, lack of an appetite can cause dizziness, fatigue, and lack of concentration and motivation. Think of your body like a car; when it runs out of petrol, you aren’t going anywhere until you fill it back up. At the same time, people will still fill their car up despite already having half a tank, because they’ve planned ahead and know their journey won’t bring them near a petrol station any time soon. If you are one of those people who forget to eat or lose appetite when stressed, mark out time in your day and stick to it. If you know you will be in meetings from 12 until you finish work, take an early lunch, and bring snacks you can easily eat between meetings. You may not have an appetite, but remind yourself that your body needs energy to keep running at maximum strength — just like a car.
Lack of Motivation
Too much work stress can make you feel unmotivated to do things in your personal life, such as hobbies and socialising, and can cause strain in your relationships too. Hobbies and socialising are both great unwinding activities, but if you have no motivation to engage with them, it will only lead to a mental health spiral. Humans aren’t really meant to sit down for long periods of time, and if you are one of the many professionals who work at a desk all day and then go home to sit on the sofa in exhaustion, you will more than likely benefit from exercise!
Something as simple as a walk every day can help to liven up your energy and refresh your mind, meaning you don’t have to worry about lack of concentration or engagement with what you are doing. Exercising with a friend, family member, or colleague will kill two birds with one stone, as you can get the endorphin rush from exercising whilst making connections with your loved ones.
Developing relationships and deep connections with other people — friends, family, colleagues — will make you feel more connected to your work in a meaningful way, and derive a sense of purpose. The relationships we make with people help us to define our outlook on life — what we value, our hopes, and achievements. How can you hope to have the drive or desire to succeed at work if you have no one to share those successes with? A lot of the time strains in relationships can bleed into your work life and distract you, and vice versa. Balancing the two will help to make both aspects of your life happier and less hectic.
HPD’s Life management course
Everyone could benefit from learning more about a successful work life balance — even if they feel they are achieving it already. There is always something to learn about themselves that they might not have recognised before.
From a leadership point of view, you want to make sure all your staff are working at optimal level, and aren’t struggling with balancing their lives. As this could lead to a decrease in performance, it would be a good idea to give them a helping hand.
Whether it’s managing stress levels, boosting your energy, understanding how nutrition impacts productivity, or refocusing on life goals, we have a team of experts who can work with you and your team to achieve your potential — both personally and professionally.
We offer a life management course to help you achieve that all important balance. Press the button below to get in touch and find out how we can help you!