Work life balance

Work Life Balance: A Complete Guide


Jun 30, 2023

Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed in our working environment. Long hours. Increased workload. Or a naturally stressful working environment.

Putting focus on yourself is crucial in both productivity and for your health. The need to recharge yourself is necessary to produce quality work and feel the best version of yourself, whether it is socially with family, friends or even work colleagues. Putting pressure on yourself from work stress can cause a lot of challenges and problems if the right balance is not reached.

In this guide, will go through the importance of work life balance and how exactly to help you achieve it.

Work life balance meaning

Work life balance is putting equal prioritisation and importance towards both home life and work life.

Why is work life balance important?

Getting the right work life balance is crucial, not only for yourself but for those around you.

It is common and easy to become physically and mentally exhausted through burnout caused by the stresses of work. In fact, according to recent studies by Glassdoor Economic Research, in 2022 burnout amongst UK workers increased by 48% in the past 12 months.

Ever heard of the saying “you can’t pour water out of an empty cup”? - in order to be productive, be there for others and be present at work, it is important we put focus aside for self-care. Prioritising your wellbeing is key to helping others. When our mental and emotional battery is drained, we need to recharge ourselves to function – if we can’t function ourselves, ask yourself, how can we do anything for others?

Effects of stress

Overworking yourself and pressures at work can cause a lot of stress.

Work stress is the resultant emotional, and sometimes physical, response to overcapacity of work-related responsibilities whereby the requirements of your job exceed your capacity and resources.

This stress can be manifested through your health, both physically and mentally.

Stress and mental health

Work related stress has been shown to impact mental health based on the strong feelings you experience when you’re stressed. In fact, work related stress can trigger and provoke existing mental health conditions you may already have such as anxiety and depression.

It can be increasingly difficult to cope with, control and manage. As a result, it can lead to the physical worsening of your health – bringing us to our next point, physical health.

Physical health

With work-related stress, or any stress, too much can lead to physical symptoms. This is usually caused by the body releasing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, in response to the stress. Examples of physical symptoms can include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart palpitations
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach problems
  • Feeling lightheaded/dizzy spells
  • Skin reactions (breaking out into hives, skin rashes)

As a result, looking after your physical and mental health is a fundamental requirement for your well-being and ability to function in all aspects of your life, including your work life and your social/family/home life.

How to achieve work life balance

Now we know what it is, and why it is important, how do we achieve the balance?

Here are 4 simple ways to improve your work life balance:

1. Time management

Working out how much you can do within a set amount of time allows you to see how much time you have, and your physical capacity as to whether you can complete a task.

With this, the key is staying organised and seeing what time you can allocate to achieve and complete your tasks efficiently and effectively. Then, prioritising completing each task with highest importance first.

To do this, it can be helpful creating lists of things to do with writing the high importance tasks at the top, to the least importance tasks towards the bottom.

Mastering time management will ensure you are working efficiently so you can leave your work life at work, and then spend your time how you please outside of work.

2. Communicate with your manager and set boundaries

When responsibilities and tasks are getting too overwhelming, it is important to communicate this with colleagues and your manager so they can see where they can offer their support. Doing so will also set your boundaries as to what your capacity is.

However, it is important not confuse this with thinking setting these boundaries will reflect on your capabilities and opinions of what your manager believes you can do. This is to let them know that your responsibilities are out of capacity and more support is needed. In other words, the tasks will still be completed, but within a realistic timeframe with support from other members, resources, or extra time/ extended deadlines.

3. Self-care outside of work

Ensure you take care of yourself. It is easy to get lost with those around you and to easily lose yourself within the midst of all the responsibilities both at home and at work. It is important you take time to get to know and care for yourself. This could include a range of things, including:

  • Finding a hobby e.g., a sport, gym, painting, dance classes.
  • Watch your favourite tv show.
  • Running a hot shower or bath.
  • Cooking or baking.

4. Time off work

It is important you take off your annual leave. Annual leave is there for a reason, to ensure you take a break from work and reconnect with your loved ones rather than isolating yourself from them due to work obligations.

Make plans with your family, friends and/or partners.

Take the time off work for holidays, or sickness and bereavements when needed, to allow you the time to recharge your mental and physical health. Give yourself a break.

5. Speak to a therapist

Sometimes trying to figure things out on your own can be difficult and so speaking to one of our trained, professional and licensed therapists at Head Agenda can help. Talking things through can help to manage the emotional symptoms of work-related or home-life stress to help you achieve a greater work life balance.

For struggles with mental health, such as anxiety and depression, see how we can help you and visit our services page where you can book and enquire today.

For any other questions or queries, view our FAQs or alternatively please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Disclaimer: This article has been designed for entertainment and informational purposes; it is not personalised medical advice. This guide may be a useful read to generate some ideas, however, please take advice from a medical professional.

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