Work / life balance

Whether working from home, or having work email come through to our phones, there is a decreasing distinction between work and life outside of work. It is rare nowadays to be disconnected. The feeling of constant connectivity is one of the reasons why more of us are experiencing stress, which in turn can lead to mental health issues.

The Centre for Mental Health released a report in 2017 – Mental Health at Work: Developing a Business Case – that showed the average cost to British employers for employees experiencing mental health is £1300 per employee, over a 25% rise from 10 years previously. A recent survey found that 4 out of 5 people believed stress to be part of their daily life.

Stress is an emotional strain, and we often experience it at work when we feel out of our depth, either in relation to our skills or time constraints. Having a good work/life balance can help to reduce our feelings of stress and improve our overall happiness.

After considering the demands of your professional and personal life, create realistic boundaries. A good starting point is to give yourself a defined working day. Afterwards prioritise events, both in your job and personal life. It’s a good habit to get into, and helps with day-to-day organisation and focusing concentration.

Be sure to set aside a time for rest each day and adhere to that time. During a rest period move away from your workspace, especially whilst eating your lunch. It is also good to have leisure activities to look forward to, which can help to reduce working too much overtime.

Learn to say ‘no’. If something is asked of you, you assess your prioritised list, both in relation to your workload and your defined working hours, and if that extra requested tasks add pressure to your workload, it is okay to sometimes say ‘no’. You should communicate with your employer about the pressures you feel so that they are able to be addressed.

Let go of perfectionism. In many respects it is unachievable, and in itself adds extra pressure. Build from small steps, that are manageable and adjustable.