At one time, the boundaries between our work and our personal lives were pretty clear. These days, work is more likely to take over your personal life and keeping things balanced out really isn’t all that simple anymore.
After all, with the technology we have, we can constantly be connected to work, which keeps us from spending time with our families. However, the truth is that managing your work-personal life balance without harming your health really isn’t out of reach.
1) Fatigue: if you’re tired, your ability to be productive may suffer—which could cost your professional reputation or even cause you to make dangerous or costly mistakes.
2) Poor health: stress has a negative effect on your immune system and can cause any medical conditions you may suffer from to become worse. Plus, stress increases your risk of substance abuse.
3) No time for loved ones: if you work all the time, chances are that you’ll miss important events in the lives of your loved ones—which can cause damage to these relationships.
4) More will be expected: if you are already working lots of extra hours, your boss may give you more work—which can cause more challenges and concerns.
Learn to Balance Work-Personal Life
The truth is this: as long as you are in the workforce, you are going to always have to figure out how to juggle your career and your family life. However, by learning how to set limits and taking care of yourself, you can easily manage your work-personal life without causing harm to your health.
Learn to Set Limits
We are all given the same 24 hours in a day—no one has more than anyone else. Therefore, if you don’t put limits in place, then work and other things can keep you from pursuing time with your loved ones and doing things you enjoy. Here are a few ideas:
1) Pay attention to the time: keep an eye on your daily tasks—both work and personal. You must decide what needs to take precedence over other things.
2) Learn to manage time: delegate or cut out anything you don’t enjoy or you can’t deal with. If possible, speak with your direct supervisor about your concerns and try to come up with a few possible solutions. You can organize your daily household tasks such as running your errands in batches, and doing one or two loads of laundry per day—don’t save it all for the one day you are off work.
3) Create a list: get a calendar and put the family events on it. Create a “to-do” list at work and one for home. When you have a plan in place, you can stay focused. If you don’t have a plan, you can easily be swayed into doing something that you don’t really want to do.
4) Learn to use the word “NO”: it’s always okay to say “No” if someone asks you to do something that you don’t want to do or don’t have time to do. You must learn how to stop agreeing to do things out of obligation or guilt—then, you’ll have more time for the things that you enjoy.
Take Care of Yourself
When it comes to managing your work-life balance, you must learn how to take care of yourself so that you can more readily cope with stress. Some ways you can do this might be:
1) Eating a healthy diet: one popular suggestion is the Mediterranean diet, which is based on fresh fruits and veggies and lean protein.
2) Get adequate sleep: when you don’t sleep, your stress level increases. If at all possible, avoid using electronic devices just before going to bed because the light they create decreases the melatonin levels in your body—which is the hormone that helps you sleep.
3) Have fun and relax: each day, make sure that you have some time set aside to do something you enjoy—or find something you can do with your loved ones.
4) Strengthen your support system: at work, find a co-worker (or two) that can cover for you when things with family come up—you must be willing to do the same for them as well. At home, ask trusted loved ones to help out with household stuff when you must work extra or travel.
5) Seek professional help when necessary: we all need help every now and then. So when it feels like things are spinning out of control, you may want to reach out to a professional. If your employer offers an EAP—or employee assistance program—use it.
In closing, you must keep in mind that finding a balance between your work-personal life is not a one-time thing. This is something that you must continue to develop as your life goes through the many different stages. Every now and then, make sure that you take a look at the things that are important to you and if necessary, make some changes to keep yourself on track.