Work-Life Balance and Stress

Date Mar 6, 2024
Read Time 7 mins
Author Lucy Brooks

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial for overall well-being. Avoid burnout and stress by setting boundaries, prioritising tasks, and making time for personal life. Here are practical tips to achieve harmony between work and leisure.

A common cause of stress is not having a work-life balance! Do you live to work or work to live? We often fall into traps by bosses who set high expectations and unachievable workloads. We want to be seen as a star employee, so we work more hours than we are paid to achieve deadlines or targets. Our boss then moved the goalpost as you made it look easy. Are you the employee who is always first in and last out? Do you not take lunch breaks? If this is you, it is time for some changes.

Firstly, what does an excellent work-life balance look like? 

  • Meeting your deadlines at work while still having time for family, friends, and hobbies
  • Having enough time to sleep properly and eat well.
  • Not worrying about work when you’re at home. 

If you don’t have a work-life balance, you need to reset things in the workplace. This is not easy, but it is right and will help you enjoy your work, preventing you from becoming overwhelmed, stressed, and potentially mentally ill. Where does it go wrong? Typically, it is right at the beginning when we are trying to make a good impression. We don’t set boundaries, giving your boss the thumbs up to keep demanding more and more.

Common mistakes we make:

  • You start a new job and want to make a good impression, so when the boss calls out of hours, you are eager to please, so you answer the phone.
  • You have so much to do that you don’t plan your day and get stuck in.
  • Your working day is 8 hours, and you plan 8 hours of work.
  • You are concerned that asking for help or saying you have too much work is a sign of weakness or that you are not good at your job.
  • You are not clear on the priorities or objectives.
  • It is the norm that your workplace and colleagues do the same; working long hours has become a habit. 

Not having a good work-life balance can have a negative effect on both our physical and mental health. Psychologically, it can be the cause of anxiety, depression, burnout, and insomnia, to name but a few. Below are a few tips to help you get the balance right.

Top tips to achieve work-life balance:

  • Take a look at what you do every day? How many hours are at work or doing work-related tasks? How many hours are you working for FREE? What is your actual hourly rate? Are you on minimum wage? Reflect and Review. Time to reset - Make some changes, and don’t be concerned, as you should be paid overtime if you must work additional hours consistently or your workload needs adjusting.
  • Time to reset - Make some changes, and don’t be concerned, as you should be paid overtime if you must work additional hours consistently or your workload needs adjusting.
  • Don’t answer emails or calls out of hours.
  • Don’t have your laptop at home or your emails on your phone.
  • If you have a work phone, switch it off when you finish for the day. Put it away until the next day so you are not tempted to do any work.
  • If you work from home, set up a workspace, and when you finish for the day, you leave that space.
  • Use your out-of-office to clarify to customers or colleagues when you are available and when you will reply if unavailable.
  • Only plan 6 hours of work into an 8-hour day; something will constantly interrupt your day, so you need to have the tell to deal with unexcepted urgent actions.  
  • Prioritise tasks.
  • Use a planner – outlook, for instance, and share it with your boss so they can see when you have gaps in your schedule or are busy.
  • ASK for HELP and be clear if your workload is too much.
  • Track your hours; if you consistently work over your contracted hours, this must be discussed with your line manager.
  • Plan your annual leave for the year so you know when your breaks are and ensure you completely switch off.

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