Despite the continuous pursuit for work-life balance not many of us are managing it. According to the latest Labour Force Survey stress, depression or anxiety account for 39% of all work-related illnesses.
There isn’t one solution to a good work-life balance that we should all be working towards, but it is important that you find a way that works for you. We spoke to Emma Mamo – Head of Workplace Wellbeing - at Mind UK to put together 10 tips to help you on your way to a more balanced life.
1- Leave work at work
No matter how dedicated you are to your job, it’s better to leave work at the door when you finish. Our expert advised us ‘whether it’s as you close the door behind you as you leave work, or as you sit down on the bus – take a moment to pause and look ahead to the time you have to yourself for the rest of the evening’.
2- Ignore phone e-mails
You might be waiting on an important e-mail from a work colleague or client but it can wait. Your work-life balance isn’t solely down to your employer but ‘supporting staff includes ensuring that everyone works sensible hours, they are able to take annual leave and they are able to switch off from work’.
One solution is to un-sync your work e-mail account from your phone. Setting an ‘away’ or ‘out of office’ replies will help you switch off after hours. You can deal with any missed calls or e-mails from colleagues when you return to work in the morning.
Mamo suggests that ‘a good way to ensure you’re switched off from work is to take time to at the end of the working day to reflect on everything you’ve achieved. Refresh your task list for the next day so you can feel like you have wrapped up the working day sufficiently’.
4- Plan a family activity
Unwind from the pressures of work by planning a family activity or outing for the weekend. Giving yourself things to look forward to with the odd day off or outing at the weekend will help put those work stresses to the back of your mind.
5- Get Active
Joining a gym or starting a new sport or hobby is a good way of releasing stress and the endorphins will help you stay positive. Michelle Kulas – a writer for livestrong.com said: ‘
Going to the gym each day puts you in contact with people on a regular basis and will enhance your social life as well as the way you feel about yourself’.
6- Take a holiday
Give yourself the opportunity to spend some one-to-one time with your partner or friends to make up for all that overtime at work. Think about booking a holiday. If you can’t afford to go far, why not take a trip to the coast or countryside?
7- Be realistic
Mamo told us it’s important to ‘be realistic - you don't have to be perfect all the time. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get everything right - we all make mistakes.’
8- Managing your workload
Trying to multitask will mentally drain you and might result in you being less productive. ‘If your workload is too much and it’s spilling over into your personal life, speak to your manager to see if you can jointly come up with solutions, such as delegating work to other members of staff’.
9- Avoid working long hours
Where possible, avoid working long hours. You may have urgent tasks which run into overtime but this can leave you feeling stressed, unproductive and needing to call in sick. Mamo also thinks that ‘managers ought to set a good example by not working over their contracted hours unless it’s really necessary’.
10- Work-life balance for employers
Employers can help restore a steady work-life balance for employees by enforcing set lunch breaks and encouraging employees to leave work at a reasonable time. Employers should be supporting staff and their wellbeing in the workplace. If you’re an employer find advice on promoting work-life balance to your staff here.
Neglecting your personal life can make you more vulnerable to mental health problems. Take a ‘work smart, not long’ approach to your job and follow these 10 tips to help yourself gain control of your work-life balance.