The importance of having a healthy balance between work and home life has become more vital over the past couple of years, as the line between the two blurs for those of us who have moved to a hybrid way of working.
We’ve all had to become more flexible in our working lives, but working too much, or being too consumed by your job, can lead to stress, poor mental health and can often affect your physical health as well.
What is a work/life balance?
A work/life balance is the amount of time and focus someone gives their work compared with other aspects of their life – raising a family, caring for an elderly relative, taking part in a hobby, relaxing or anything else outside of work - which most likely isn’t an equal split. Many organisations have adopted the term ‘blend’ instead of ‘balance’ to explain this realistically.
What is a healthy work/life blend?
If you feel happy and fulfilled in all aspects of your life and can cope with what life throws at you – you’ve probably mastered the art of managing your priorities! These could include:
- Meeting deadlines at work, but still having time to meet friends in the evening
- Getting enough quality sleep and not skipping meals
- Not worrying about work once you get home
Ask yourself the following:
- Do I regularly work longer hours than I’m contracted to do?
- Am I missing time with my family or are family commitments affecting my ability to concentrate at work?
- Do I think about work even when I’m at home?
- Am I losing sleep worrying about how to fit in my work and home responsibilities?
- Do I feel unable to cope with both work and home life?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, it is time to create more balance in your schedule and prioritise your wellbeing.
How do I maintain a work/life blend?
There are ways to ensure you flourish at home and stay happy and healthy at work:
- Stick to a routine at work and at home
- Consider flexible working if your employer offers this
- Manage your time well at work by being organised – make a to-do list, prioritise tasks and check it every morning
- Set boundaries: learn to say no, whether that’s at work or at home
- Make time for yourself at work by taking breaks and make time to relax and recover outside of work
- Take some exercise. Evidence shows that being active can improve your fitness and improve your mental wellbeing. Meditation and mindfulness can also help reduce stress and anxiety
Speak up if you feel overwhelmed by work or if a family issue is affecting your ability to concentrate at work. Remember that your employer has an interest in your wellbeing since employees who are happy in their work are more engaged, more productive and less likely to take time off. If the thought of approaching your manager makes you even more anxious, Benenden Health has some useful tips on how to talk to your boss about physical or mental health.
Help for your mental health at Benenden Hospital
If you've been affected by anything mentioned in this article, or would like to discuss your mental health, our fast access GP services can help. Book your appointment online today or contact our Private Patient team via Livechat or on 01580 363158.
Published on 04 October 2023