Work can often feel all-consuming, tiring and like the only part of your life. It is more important than ever to ensure that we are taking a step back and realising that work is just that… work.

There is a life outside of work, whether that is spent with friends, family or on your own, spending time doing something that is just for you.

Becoming mentally aware and paying more attention to how we balance work and life is luckily becoming a great priority in many lives. However, the ratio can still be drastically improved.

Indeed, our everyday lives can fly by, it can be hard to keep up. Especially in-between relationships, raising children, working full time, having hobbies and so on. It is easy to see how and why life can swallow us all up.

The steps toward a more balanced lifestyle begin with realising the time spent during work to your lifestyle. Although work can seem like it takes up a huge part of your life, when working full time hours – approximately 35-40 hours a week, you will find that you are left with quite a substantial amount of time for yourself. You have your evenings to take part in activities like the gym or exercises classes, a known method of reducing stress levels. Or, maybe you prefer cooking and find this a stress reliever. Even if you simply just want to sit back on the sofa and spend some time with loved ones watching tv, chatting or reading a book.

There seems to be an acceleration of the time spent on our phones, using them almost as a device for distraction, keeping us from looking up and around at the world we live in and the company we are in. Although we may all enjoy delving deep into the life that is social media, apps and games, take a minute to look up… when did you last speak to the person sitting next to you? Do you know how their day has gone? Even the smallest effort can make a difference.

You would be surprised that even the smallest of steps can help towards a healthier lifestyle, such as taking a break from social media in the evenings, spending time in the moment as opposed to being trapped in a digital world, actually speaking to the people that are around you. Experiment with applying a phone ban in your household including everyone, not just yourself, and revisit the ban after a few weeks to see how this affected you and your mental health.

In addition to this, look at how you’re spending your weekend. It is often comedically suggested that you realise you’re in your adulthood when you’re spending your weekends at the local home improvement store. However, when your free time and weekends become consumed with this, you will quickly realise that your free weekends aren’t very free at all.

Improving your home can seem like a project and give you a sense of clarity and comfort. However, it is still important to take a step back from this. Home improvements are not easy, they take time and effort. Ensure that during these weekends you’re also doing other things such as going for a walk, a nice meal or a family day out.

Second to this, if you are feeling like your time is spent both working and speeding through your weekend with tasks and errands, ensure that there is a space in your year that includes a break… an actual break. Away from your home and work.

This could be a luxury holiday to a destination you’ve always wanted to visit, a trip to a city near you, or even a relaxing coach holiday. No matter how budget-friendly or extravagant you want to go, this break will be something to look forward to and will help to give yourself the breather you need.

It can be said that having something to look forward to gives a person purpose. As glum as this can appear, with such busy lifestyles it can give you a sense of relief that you will soon have a relaxing upcoming break that is just for you and the people you love.

There is nothing more uplifting than being around the people that make you feel like you again, laughing and generally having a good time. Plan your time and months to ensure that these moments are fitted into your schedule at least once a month. Reconnect with your family and loved ones. The benefits can be extraordinary.

No matter how you choose to spend your downtime, just making sure that you’re still connecting with the world outside of work can often make the biggest changes in your mental health, giving you the balance in life that you need and deserve.