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Finding a Work-Life Balance
The pressure of an increasingly demanding workplace culture is one of the biggest risks to mental health.
The human costs of unmanaged work-related stress extends beyond having time out of work and can ultimately lead to loss of life. A key way to protect your mental health against the potential detrimental effects of work related stress is to ensure you have a healthy work-life balance.
Step 1: Recognise the signs of an unhealthy work-life balance
There are many signs that can indicate a poor work-life balance and can include:
You feel unhappy about the time you devote to work
You are neglecting other aspects of your life because of work
You find yourself thinking and worrying about work outside of working hours
You notice that you are always in pain; chronic headaches/neck pain may be a sign of strain.
You are not sleeping well, and having nightmares particularly about work
You always feel tired and persistent fatigue.
Your patience is wearing think, you feel frustrated with others and are losing your temper
You can remember the last time you relaxed or enjoyed yourself
Your personal relationships are struggling
Your personal and professional space is a mess
You are engaging in unhelpful ways to manage your food e.g. drinking more alcohol
Step 2: Help Yourself
Creating a work-life balance involves adjusting your day-to-day activities to achieve a sense of balance between your work life and personal life. Balancing the demands of a busy lifestyle is not an easy thing to do, but is best managed by regularly reviewing and assessing your priorities.
Take personal responsibility; speak up when work expectations and demands are too much.
Prioritise your workload and manage your time; try not to get caught up in unproductive activities that take you off task.
Take regular breaks, although it may feel counterintuitive taking breaks allows you to work in a more focused way.
Draw a line between work life and home life. If you are working from home to try to only work in one area of your home – preferably somewhere you and can close the door on it.
Recognise the importance of protective factors, including exercise, leisure activities and friendships. Try not to sacrifice these for work.
Be mindful of the cumulative effect of working long hours by keeping track of your working hours over a period of weeks or months rather than days.
Book in annual leave, taking time out after busy times can help refuel and rebalance your time.
Manage stress effectively; stress, mental exhaustion and burnout affects your ability to work productively
Enlist a good support system—learn to delegate, we all need a little help sometimes
Balance the different types of work you do.
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