Work-life balance is a vital part of a healthy working environment, helping to reduce stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle – here’s our guide to achieving stability.

Finding the right balance

Finding that perfect balance between work and life commitments can be extremely challenging, and with the impact COVID-19 has had on workplaces across the UK, it has never been more important to ensure you have your priorities set right.

The increasing demand the pandemic has put on employees has left a significant strain on the much of the country’s workforce, and the key to protecting your mental health is to ensure you maintain a healthy work-life balance. Neglecting this could impact your work performance whilst also cause the breakdown of meaningful relationships.

Each person is unique and will have a different set of priorities. A balanced lifestyle does not always mean an equal share between work and other commitments; rather it’s about finding ways to include everything important in your life. There are fantastic examples of professionals forging extremely successful careers whilst balancing responsibility to their families and other passions in life.

Tips for a Healthier Work-Life Balance

  1. Prioritise your time by creating simple to-do lists, or by keeping a calendar to plan your workload and track important events. Don’t forget to include other commitments such as holidays or personal appointments to ensure you don’t forget you are unavailable to work at those times.
  2. Have set working hours where possible and do your best to stick to them. Try to resist the urge to check your emails on days off or call the office. Establish your own set of rules and most importantly, know when to call it a day.
  3. Learn to say no. It can be easy to say yes to everything that comes your way but do not feel like you have to do everything, or you risk becoming overworked. Consider if you can dedicate the time and resources to a task without sacrificing your health and wellbeing.
  4. Take advantage of technology. Popular virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom [https://zoom.us/signin] and Microsoft Teams [https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/microsoft-365/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software] can save you the time and hassle of travelling to a meeting in person, providing you with more time to dedicate to other priorities. You may also choose to take advantage of free online courses to learn new skills or improve existing skills, which may reward you in later life.
  5. Get your exercise and take breaks throughout the day. With deadlines to meet, it can be tempting to force yourself to keep going but brief mental breaks will help you stay focused. Medical professionals also recommend looking away from your screen every 20 minutes to prevent eye strain and moving away from your desk briefly every hour.
  6. Draw a line between work and leisure, if work needs to come back with you ensure it stays in a specific area in your home by designating a set workspace. It makes a world of difference being able to close the door to work once you are finished.
  7. Take your mental health seriously. If feelings of self-doubt or anxiety arise, create time to work on your mental health such as meditation or hobbies. Alternatively, spend time with a trusted friend or family member who will support you.

Work on your Mental Health

According to recent a survey, 1-in-5 UK workers suffer from work-related stress, and the COVID-19 pandemic has left many people feeling anxious and uncertain.

There have been considerable changes to our working environments during lockdown, and when we emerge, things may never return to normal. People may have mixed feeling about returning to work, therefore it is vital we take the time to look after our mental health and others.

Charities such as Mind offer support and advice on how to cope with the pressures of work. You could consider joining a union or trade association, who can offer free and impartial advice on your rights as an employee.

Simply making time talking to a familiar face about your mental health and wellbeing can be vital when feeling under pressure and the first step towards getting the help you need.

Find out more about working with mental health problems and other disabilities at our sister site Careers With Disabilities.