5 tips for a better work life balance

Carmen BryceBlog posts

Work life balance.

Easier said than done.

We live in a society that tends to put everything else before our wellbeing, so we feel we are swimming upstream if we try to make ourselves the priority.

In Ireland, we work on average 22.2 hours per week, but some of us have that under our belts by Wednesday, leaving little time for self-care and relaxation.

Some of us rarely truly switch off from our work life, replying to work emails on our phones in bed or on our daily commute. There are some serious blurred lines going on between our jobs and our personal lives, and in the long-run, this is just not good for your mental wellbeing.

This balancing act is not going to happen overnight, but there are some small things we can do to make a decent go of it.

1. Don’t be afraid to say no

None of us are perfect, and none of us are in a position to say yes to every demand or request put on us. While it is healthy to be motivated and strive to do a good job in work, it is not healthy to make promises you can’t keep and put yourself under incredible pressure to meet unrealistic deadlines or expectations. Don’t be afraid to say no to demands that are unfair or unreasonable and will leave you staying in work long after everyone has left.

2. Make your health a priority

This includes your mental health. Nothing, and we mean nothing, is as important as your health, both physical and mental. Your health is your wealth, and ignoring the signs and pushing yourself through illness, anxiety, high stress, or depression will only leaving you in a worse state with a longer recovery time. We know it can be a difficult conversation to have, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just know that how you’re feeling is unsustainable, you need to speak up. There is lots of help out there, whether it is a visit to you GP or a talking to a mental health professional. Putting this on the long finger will not make any issues go away. As a rule of thumb, try to get plenty of sleep a night, eat healthily and exercise regularly. This is a good start on a healthier path. Talk to you boss and colleagues about how you can introduce wellbeing into the workplace. Many workplaces have started to provide wellbeing incentives and supports into the workplace such as our MyMind at Work programme. Wellbeing days, and nutritional programmes are being introduced to the workplace in Ireland, which is a long time coming and great to see! If you are a employer, or a member of staff, contact us at workplace@mymind.org or call us at 076 680 1060 to hear more about MyMind at Work.

3. Switch off

While developments in technology have given us lots of opportunities, it has also made us constantly accessible. The work day never seems to end.  To truly get away from work, we need to switch off our phones or simply leave them in another room. When it comes to your free time, it should be quality time. When you’re not at work, and with those you love, try to really engage, laugh, chat and let go of any stressful thoughts that should be left in the office.

4. Get rid of bad habits

We all have them. Take a birds-eye view of your life and ask yourself: What changes could make life easier and healthier. This might be not taking your phone to bed with you or taking the stairs in the office and not the lift. Small changes can go a long way.

5. Add good things into your week

To avoid making your week all about work, work, work, try to line up some things that will make you happy. This doesn’t have to cost lots of money or take lots of time, but could be a trip to the cinema, an early bird dinner with a friend, or an exercise class that really lets you shake off the stress and sleep better at night.