There’s no denying work is important. It helps you learn and grow professionally while paying the bills and, if you are lucky, brings you joy. But, like everything else, too much work can be detrimental to your physical and mental health. Here’s why it is essential to strike a healthy balance between work and life.
What is Work-Life Balance?
Work-life balance refers to your ability to fulfill both work and non-work responsibilities–in other words, how you manage your time at and outside of work.
In today’s volatile and fast-paced corporate world, achieving work-life balance is difficult. As we become more connected, separating work from personal life is becoming increasingly challenging. Thus, unsurprisingly, employee burnouts are on the rise.
While some stress is normal, employees today are subject to excessive stress over a long time. This is particularly true for employees who work long hours. With overburdened employees unable to meet ongoing demands, burnout is inevitable.
Why a Good Work-Life Balance is Important
Poor work-life balance can lead to dissatisfaction, anxiety, and stress. This, in turn, prevents you from relaxing and getting a good night’s sleep. Coupled with irregular schedules, chronic insomnia develops.
Consistently not getting enough sleep can have a variety of negative consequences. It puts you at an increased risk for chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and obesity. Further, chronic insomnia can lead to depression and other mental health conditions.
Chronic insomnia can also quickly turn into a self-perpetuating vicious cycle. The lack of sleep can elevate stress levels aggravating any existing problems, which leads to more sleep deprivation.
How Do I Know If I Have a Good Work-Life Balance?
Work-life balance implies different things to different people. This is particularly true in the modern multigenerational workplace. In general, though, a good work-life balance has a few key characteristics. These are:
- Listening to your body.
- Knowing when to say “no.” Learning to be assertive and setting boundaries in the workplace is key for healthy communication between your team.
- Not constantly worrying about work. In other words, you find it easy to switch off and relax.
- Sleeping well most nights.
- Happiness is a priority, and you feel fulfilled at work.
- Living in the moment.
Conversely, if you see yourself in the following statements, you likely have a poor work-life balance:
- You frequently stay up late to work.
- You find it difficult to fall asleep.
- You are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or despair.
- Your job is no longer meaningful to you.
- You are continuously concerned about your job performance.
- You can’t take time off work without being interrupted by phone calls, texts, and emails from work.
- Continual work-related thoughts and pressure dominate your time at home.
- You believe that you must be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Your relationships are suffering.
How Employers Can Promote a Good Work-Life Balance
Promoting work-life balance can appear counterintuitive to employers. This, though, cannot be further from the truth. A destructive myth about good work-life balance is that it’s only a personal issue and not an organizational issue. Work-life balance can reduce stress, prevent employee burnout, and ultimately boost company performance.
Fortunately, promoting a good work-life balance isn’t complicated. Creating a flexible work environment is a simple yet effective strategy. This includes offering flexible work hours, the option to work from home, and unlimited paid time off.
Further, employers can make time off mandatory. Many studies have found that vacations increase productivity and reduce stress. Alternatively, setting boundaries, such as a strict no-work policy during lunch breaks or after hours can also help.
It is also vital to promote breaks throughout the day. The human body was not built to spend hours at a desk. Employers can consider conducting meetings outdoors. Group activities such as an outdoor lunch can also be a great idea.
“Happiness is the key to success” – Albert Schweitzer
Prioritizing a healthy culture and developing a joyful workplace environment is one of the best things employers can do for their employees and their company. Happy employees are productive employees!
Already Having Trouble Getting to Sleep Due to Work?
Is a poor work-life balance affecting your health? Are you struggling to sleep due to the constant demands at work? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. In fact, work-related insomnia is a common occurrence.
Luckily, it is completely treatable. While many treatment options exist, cognitive behavioral therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) remains the gold standard. It is a form of talking therapy that emphasizes how we think, our behaviors, and our emotions are linked and impact one another.
To learn more about CBT-I and how it can help you with your insomnia, visit Dawn.