An imbalance between home and work life can contribute to both stress at home and at work. By intentionally creating balance between these two parts of our lives, it can make our lives easier and also the lives of those around us. Keep reading for tips to create this balance.
What is Work Life Balance?
There are many things that we work on balancing throughout our lives. There include diet, exercise, time spent outside, and vacation time. The "work life balance" is the balancing of time and mental energy given to work activities or life activities. In this context, life activities include things done with family, friends, or alone that are rejuvenating. A simple example is of someone who spends all their time at home doing chores or sleeping. Without recreational activities to balance out the "work" our mental health will suffer.
Finding your balance starts with looking at what activities you need to do and do not revitalize your mental well beings. For example, chores like paying bills and taking out the trash are activities that many of us do not enjoy. The next step is finding the activities that are exciting and leave you refreshed. Examples can include learning a new skill, dinner with the family, or going for a walk.
Having your activities shifted too much to the "work" side of things can increase stress levels and put a strain on relationships. Stress has a large impact on both our mental health and physical health. [links to stress articles].
Tips for Work Life Balancing
- Have a plan. The simple act of using a calendar to keep track of needed tasks and sticking to it will ensure that you have time and space for both the required work things, and the fun life things. This includes planning when to check messages for work so these messages to not infringe on non-work time.
- Time management. The more efficient you are at completing the "work" activities, the more time you will have for "life" activities. Efficiency improves when you give the task in front of you your full attention, everything is in its place so you don't need to go looking for it, and you have limited the number of steps it takes to complete the task.
- Consider other options. Sometimes a "work" activity can become a "life" activity by changing things up. For example, I find cleaning my kitchen to be an effortless task if I am on the phone with a friend. Another way is to ask for help. My grandma loves to cook, and I don't always have time to cook the way I want to. At those times, asking Grandma to cook for me clears space in my life and gives her an opportunity to do what she loves.
- Plan your transitions. Sometimes it is difficult to let go of the things that happen at work to fully enjoy being at home doing "life" things. Having a transitional activity can help with this. Some examples include taking a moment to complete your schedule for the next day, listing to music on your commute home, exercising, or meditating for a few minutes before starting "home" activities.
By creating and maintaining balance in our lives it reduces stress, makes us healthier, and easier to live with. The act of balancing things is never done and requires regular revisions to work out. However, it gets easier with practice and patience.