Avoid burnout and find joy in your work with these helpful tips on how to maintain a work-life balance.
Maintaining a work-life balance might be easier for some than for others, but it’s essential for everyone’s overall well-being ‒ regardless of the work in question. With remote work on the rise post-pandemic, many of us are struggling to establish a routine that equally favors both personal time and professional effort.
In much of the Western workforce, workers tend to view themselves as a small part of a whole, which makes it all the more difficult to boost emotional individualism. While listening to yourself isn’t easy in daily practice, it’s even harder to do so when work is involved. The fear of letting a boss or the whole team downplays a large role in influencing how often we cater to our own needs. Taking the time to check in with yourself at the start of the day can be a powerful tool toward setting and achieving goals, as well as addressing any underlying issues with your work environment that are going unresolved.
Managing Stress in the Workplace
Having these check-ins throughout the day, particularly at times when energy levels might drop, are a good preventative for avoiding burnout. In a survey of over 1000 respondents by Deloitte, 77% say they have experienced burnout at their current job. 91% say that unmanageable stress or frustration impacts the quality of their work, and 83% say burnout can negatively impact personal relationships (*).
A sure cure for burnout is taking time off ‒ which sounds much easier than it seems. Many people within the bustling entrepreneurial workforce find it hard to take much-needed time off, which is an inevitable disservice to our own well-being. While some of us might feel that we’re letting our teams down by taking time away, the breaks are a powerful way of increasing productivity and success. Researcher Mark Rosekind of Alertness Solutions found that the respite effect of a vacation can increase performance by 80% (*).
If taking long vacations might not be possible for financial or personal reasons, taking breaks throughout the day can certainly be a great alternative. This means actually using your full lunch break, going for a quick walk every couple of hours to increase blood flow, stepping out of the office to take a call, and changing your work environment as often as you can. These changes in routine can regulate energy levels, reduce stress, and increase productivity.
Keeping in mind that boundary-setting plays a big role in defining work-life balance, this goes for both your professional and personal life. While flexibility is important, letting your leaders and team members know about your schedule and preference is equally and valuable. And guess what? They just might surprise you by respecting those boundaries. This might look like: not bringing your work home with you, keeping communication to specific productivity windows, and setting aside time for things you love without worry of interruption. More tips on setting boundaries here.
Setting aside time for the things that bring you joy is at the heart of building a proper work-life balance. Whether they might be hobbies, creative passions, or just a favorite TV show, if it makes you happy chances are it’s going a long way toward building that balance you need. Having a hobby that makes you happy without a connection to what you do for a living has been proven to reduce stress and increase overall joy in your life. It’s like a battery recharge, but made fun.
Of course, fun times can be hard at work, and much of that might have to do with the people you work with. We all have a “work bestie” and some of us might even have a leader we look up to, but fostering relationships outside of work is a foundational part of establishing a strong work-life balance. Spending time with the people you love and respect is a great way to feel centered when work can make you feel off-kilter.
If you’ve moved to a new place or find it hard to socialize, partaking in group activities might be a great option to start building relationships and flexing that social muscle. Either way, fostering relationships is a powerful way to bring you back to yourself ‒ which is where work and life come from to begin with.
While on your path to building a stress-free existence, know that there is no perfect work-life balance. The journey isn’t linear, and there certainly isn’t a “right” way to go about discovering what it might look like for you. Finding a work-life balance that makes sense for you and what your goals are will involve a good amount of trial and error. So, don’t be afraid to spend time searching for what that is. Get uncomfortable. Surprise yourself. Take as many breaks as you can. Eventually, you’ll land on something that feels right and that you can stay consistent with…which is where the real work starts. Good luck!
If you need help setting healthy boundaries and maintaining a good work-life balance, book a call. I’d love to talk to you.
The original version of this publication appeared in Brainz Magazine