In an ever-growing world where technology and mobile devices play a huge role in our lives, employers are becoming increasingly demanding towards their employees when it concerns staying up-to-date at work. Today, getting calls and work messages after a long day is a common occurrence that is dreaded by many. This has resulted in many employees reporting bouts of high job stress, burnout or exhaustion from work, which has led to the awareness and the need for work-life balance in our lives. For many, the battle to attain work-life balance is an evergoing one. If you, like many others, have struggled to attain work-life balance in life, here are several ways you could consider practicing to regain that balance.
1. Set a cutoff time with work
It’s always great to hustle for our future, but it’s equally important to realize we will never have enough time to accomplish the things of the world. This extends to all parts of our lives, including work. Setting a cutoff time reminds us that it’s time to take a break and go off for the day. It is also a reminder that we are entitled to a rest, to recognize that we’ve done the best that we can and to tune off. For example, if you have decided that work ends at 6PM, remind yourself to cut off by then. Obviously, it’s a little easier said than done, and there are times when work is absolutely urgent and demands our undivided attention. Those are exceptions to the norms. On other days however, learn to take a break without feeling guilty. Dropping ill habits and cultivating new ones are key to forming a healthier lifestyle.
2. Unplug from your devices
If setting a cutoff time is akin to eating our meals on time, then unplugging from our devices is to have regulated sleep schedules. Both go hand-in-hand together. Due to how connected employers and employees are today, it is even more important that we learn to put our devices away. Do not spend additional time scrolling through social media as it only entices us to spend more time on our devices. Instead, learn to unplug and connect with our loved ones. This gives us the opportunity to deepen our bonds with them and allow us to recharge in a healthier way. Unless your role revolves working around the clock, like a healthcare or emergency medical officer, there is no shame in unplugging.
3. Establish a healthy lifestyle
From taking an hour off a day to engage in physical exercises to unplugging from social media or devices, establishing a healthy regime includes everything that a person does to feel whole and healthy again. Having regular meals and getting sufficient sleep are two healthy habits that come to mind that are often neglected in life. Sleep in particular helps us to recharge from a long day of work, regulates our hormones and bodily functions and safeguards us from exhaustion and mood swings, the latter which predisposes us to burnout and a lack of job satisfaction.
4. Learn to communicate with your superiors
Many employees shy away from discussing their issues at work with their superiors for fear of being perceived as incompetent. In truth, many superiors or employers want to help their employees in overcoming stress and burnout at work. Most are simply unaware of their subordinates’ struggles. Thus, it falls onto the employee to communicate this difficulty. Find a time to have a 1-to-1 chat with your superiors, help them understand your challenges, and highlight how having their support may benefit you. Of course, a discussion is a 2-way street, so don’t forget to inform your superiors on how their support can benefit them too.
5. Say “No”
In an interview featuring actress Elizabeth Olsen, who happens to be an ardent supporter of mental health awareness, she was asked about how she kept herself grounded at all times. Her response,
“No is a full sentence…
You can just say no.”
In some countries where collectivism and being a yes-man is the norm, it can be difficult to utter the word “No”, but not entirely impossible. Saying “No” doesn’t imply that we are imcompetent. On the contrary, it tells people that we respect ourselves, and have set boundaries to care for our wellbeing. If you find it difficult to say “No”, supplement your No(s) with valid reasons and provide alternatives to the problem. That way, it leaves your employer feeling heard and your concerns acknowledged.
Maintaining work-life balance is critical not only to ensuring our mental wellbeing, it is also key in maintaining good relationships with our coworkers and loved ones. Doing so can help tremendously in mitigating the effects of stress related to work-life balance. The journey to mastering the art of work-life balance can be tricky at first, but we assure you that it will be a liberating experience once you’ve gotten the hang of it.