The Healthy Work-Life Balance: How To Build and Maintain It
Building a balance between work and life is a great challenge in today’s world, especially for us digital nomads that work remotely on our own schedule. Our aspirations of professional success—or simply the necessity to get by—make it hard to draw a line between our working hours and leisure time.
Not being able to draw this line to find a balance is wearisome: physically, mentally, and emotionally. The fear of losing our jobs and many other similar factors make us overwork, lose track of time, and endanger our well-being. However, experiencing frequent burnout is not helpful for our careers, either. No need to rush or make a fuss: there are a few tricks to build a healthy work-life balance and maintain it.
I also used to be a workaholic; my mind simmered with stress most of the time. Then I noticed how this affected every aspect of my life, and began implementing some stress relief methods. I struggled a bit at first, but after a short while, I found my balance. Since then, I’m much more productive and as well as a lot happier.
In this article, I’ll be sharing the tips that helped me make progress in that process. Read on to learn further about work-life balance and how to master it.
What Is Work-Life Balance?
Work-life balance is a well-known phrase but not exactly well-established practicality: many people struggle to build or keep it going. But what precisely is this balance, and how is it established or preserved?
Work-life balance refers to managing the delicate equilibrium between one’s personal and work life, rather than prioritizing one over the other. Naturally, the extent to which either end of the equation is prioritized varies from person to person. Work-life balance is, therefore, a bit of a subjective term. Yet, there's still a general understanding of a healthy level of work-life balance.
If you manage to establish a good work-life balance, your stress level will drop dramatically, and you’ll become more productive during your working hours. What’s even better, though, you’ll have time and energy to fulfill your desires and dreams. You’ll see that being able to spare time for your personal priorities and hobbies, getting good at them, or simply going to the beach on the weekend after a long week will do you great good. Mondays are not so bad when you’ve actually had rest and fun during the weekend.
Remember that work-life balance is not directly splitting the hours of the day into two but it’s rather about balancing your time and energy to both perform well at work and spare the time you need for yourself.
What Causes Poor Work-Life Balance?
A poor work-life balance is like a snowflake: it turns into a snowball that eventually leads to an avalanche. An imbalance between work and life causes immense stress that keeps us from functioning well at work and steals from our personal lives. The latter is because you get anxious and have a feeling of non-accomplishment even outside your working hours.
It’s hard to keep track of this notion because it’s subjective and a bit of a blur. However, there are some common reasons that cause poor work-life balance. Find a couple of these reasons below:
- Immense workload: Trying to juggle too many tasks at once can cause performance anxiety and fear of coming short, so you may start working too much to handle everything.
- Increased housework: If you have intense housework to do, it’ll steal from your leisure time and productivity at work, causing an inability to prioritize.
- Having children: This one doesn’t require much elaboration, I suppose! It’s one responsibility that may end up ruling them all.
- Working overtime: Long working hours, and sacrificing your personal time to keep up with work may cause you to overwork and have burnout.
- The effect of technology: Constant accessibility results in an “I’ll just do this bit and then stop working” attitude, which, again leads to overworking.
- Incompetent co-workers or an overbearing boss: Both keep adding to your workload, making it hard to keep up.
- Being a perfectionist: When it’s hard for you to be content with the tasks you’ve done, they’re hardly finalized. You always find a bit to fix, or some other task that will eventually end up with you overworking.
Effects of Work-Life Imbalance
You’ll easily pick up the signs if you have a poor work-life balance: trust me, it shows. There are a few impacts that most people that fail to balance their work life with their personal life experience in common. These impacts include the following:
Stress is one of the most usual monsters of our day. Too much of it harms the immune system and causes illnesses or chronic fatigue. There are some stress-related symptoms that indicate your health is in decline. You should watch out for these symptoms that include:
- Lack of appetite
- Brain fog
- Muscle soreness
- Low spiritedness
- Lack of motivation
- Poor memory
If you’re having one or more of these symptoms recognizably, it means that you should try and get your work-life balance back on track.
Working overtime steals from your personal life, resulting in immense stress and the feeling of pressure. It may be good to feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of a workday, but being balanced and healthy is much better, for sure!
Managing your schedule and prioritizing your tasks will help you avoid working overtime. When you work remotely, this may be more challenging, but it’s nothing knowing yourself and good planning can’t handle.
Not Being Able To Spare Yourself Some “You Time”
Imagine you stopped working the moment you should, took a shower, freshened up, poured yourself a glass of wine, put on your favorite music or a good movie, and laid back, enjoying a moment of pure relaxation. Even the thought of it reduces stress.
If you don’t spare some time to enjoy yourself or spend with your family and friends, your working hours will become much more overwhelming day by day.
Struggling in Relationships
Being overstressed because of work can have a great impact on your relationships, as well. You may not spend enough time with your family, friends, or your significant other. Or even worse, you may be impatient with them because you feel worn out all the time.
Untidiness in Your Living and Working Spaces
Naturally, someone who overworks can’t clean or tidy up very frequently. If your laundry’s piled up, your house is dusty, and your working space is a mess, it’s probably about time to take matters into your hands. It’s time to tidy up and try and find a work-life balance. Chop chop!
Struggling To Prioritize Your Tasks
Keeping busy doesn’t always mean being productive. If you’re constantly wrestling with too many tasks and find that you haven’t completed much at the end of the day, you’ll probably end up wearing yourself out by overworking not to miss deadlines.
Losing Your Patience Easily
Being overstressed all the time will, of course, eventually get on your nerves, causing you to have very little patience or none at all: both in work-related situations and your personal life.
Getting irritated so easily steals from your productivity and troubleshooting skills. It also keeps you from enjoying your leisure time or the time you spend with your loved ones.
Thinking About Work All the Time
Thinking about your work all the time, even in your leisure time, prevents you from getting good rest or having fun, which gets in your way to start the next work day fresh with a clear mind.
If you’re experiencing these problems frequently, try to take a day off, figure out how to balance your work life and your personal life, then get back to it. Don’t worry if you feel clueless about how to restore your work-life balance, you’ll have learned some great tips by the end of this article. However, let’s talk about the perks of a healthy work-life balance first.
Benefits of a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Managing to establish a healthy work-life balance is a bit of a challenge, I know. Especially if you’re a perfectionist working from home. However, when you take charge of your own time and create a solid balance between your work and personal life, you’ll enjoy both much better.
Here are some benefits of a healthy work-life balance:
- You’ll experience fewer health issues, thanks to a reduced level of stress. You’ll be saying goodbye to fatigue and poor health for the most part.
- You’ll become more productive. You’ll be more efficient during your working hours, which will benefit both you and your company.
- You’ll experience fewer burnouts that derive from overworking and immense stress.
- Your level of mindfulness will increase. You’ll be more focused on your tasks and have more self-awareness.
Sounds good, right? Now, let me cut to the chase and tell you a few tips on how to achieve this beneficial work-life balance.
Tips for a Better Work-Life Balance
Learn To Suppress the Perfectionist in You
Perfectionism demands a lot of time and energy. Suppressing the perfectionist in you will help you finalize tasks more easily and will prevent you from having a burnout.
Take One Thing at a Time
We all know that resolution lists often fail to work out as intended. Instead of trying to achieve each and every one of your goals at once, take one thing at a time. Start small, and it’ll add up in time. The same thing goes for the process of fixing your work-life balance.
Make sure you take breaks when you feel necessary while you work. Not taking a break when you need it causes you to get overwhelmed and decreases your productivity.
Prioritize Your Health
Always put your health before anything else. Maintaining your health is more crucial than any other task. Always keep in mind that poor health will only make things worse.
Learn To Say “No”
Sometimes it’s hard to say no to your employer, a colleague, or even yourself. Learning to say “no” when you can and you should while responsibilities are piling up, will save you from the trouble of receiving an extreme amount of tasks and hence, working overtime.
Communicating effectively with your colleagues and boss goes a long way. Tell them when you’re overwhelmed by an extreme workload, but without complaining. Sharing your problems and ideas helps create a healthier workplace.
Unplug When You Need To
Technology is one of the most impactful forces that pulls you into overworking, especially if you’re working remotely. Being accessible all the time via phone or laptop causes the working hours to stretch to infinity.
Unplugging while you’re having a break or off work will help you relax and get away from work-related stress.
Take a Vacation Every Now and Then
Remember that all work and no play make you a dull person. To function better both at work and in your personal life, take a vacation every now and then.
Enjoying the beach for a couple of days, seeing someplace in the world you’ve been meaning to, or getting secluded at a mountain hut—whatever suits your mood—will sure freshen you up. You’ll feel much better and more fruitful at work after you get back from your vacation. You can even consider taking a staycation.
Stay Active and Treat Your Body Right
Exercising, meditating, and eating well are also crucial while you're working towards a healthy work-life balance. Doing these will prevent your body from becoming unwieldy and help reduce your stress level at the same time.
To avoid burnout, set boundaries like not thinking about work or answering phones and e-mails after your shift is over. You can also warn your colleagues about this if you feel it's necessary. If you do, however, remember to communicate effectively and politely.
Put Your Goals and Priorities in Order
It’s easier to accomplish tasks if you put them in order. Prioritizing your goals will provide you with a head start at achieving them. Planning ahead but leaving room for flexibility is crucial when you’re in charge of your own schedule.
How To Have a Healthier Work-Life Balance: The Bottomline
There you have it! I’ve provided you with some tips that helped me put my life in order after experiencing a period of a terrible imbalance between my personal and professional life that wore me out. After implementing these tips, I started enjoying both aspects of my life again. I was once again able to have quality time for myself and my loved ones. Moreover, I got rid of all my minor health problems, and even had a career advancement! So, trust me when I say taking these steps works.
The only thing you need to do is set one goal at a time and stick to that. Good luck!