Trying to maintain a healthy balance between home and work life can be difficult at the best of times, and it can be very detrimental to our mental and, ultimately, our physical well-being if it isn’t managed correctly.

Now, many people think that maintaining a healthy work-life balance is focused primarily on reducing or removing pleasurable activities from schedules. Of course, setting priorities and simplifying schedules, while learning time management skills, are an important part of a healthy balance between work and life/family time. The problem is that too many people focus on cutting back on ‘life’ and do nothing about the ‘work’ side of the scale.

How do you maintain a healthy balance between work and home? For the sake of our mental health and general well being, we have to know where to draw boundary lines. This leads us to our first tip…

Keep your work, at work

You may sometimes have to follow up on the odd email from the office, or answer a quick question on the telephone because Martin can’t remember the alarm code… Something along those lines. But generally speaking, draw a line in the sand. You cross it when you leave work to head home, and don’t step back across until it’s time to work again.

If you work from home then ‘switching off’ is a little more difficult, naturally, but the same basic principle applies. Have a dedicated space in your home that is just for work. If you don’t have a desk and you sit on the sofa with your laptop, put the laptop away and out of sight when you are finished for the day.

This does require some self-discipline, but with a little practice, you can handle it just great. Perhaps you are considering starting your own business, what then? Starting your own business brings its own challenges, but the need for separation applies here too – albeit it may be harder to stick to your rules.

‘No’ is not a naughty word!

Learn to say ‘no’ to certain people and situations. Not everything that people ask of you needs to be done by you, or anyone else but them for that matter. Your mental well-being is too important for you to risk when you already have a full plate in front of you.

Nobody can be expected to manage their own time effectively if they are busy taking on other people’s responsibilities, can they? There’s no reason to be rude about it, but you can say no and you should never feel pressured to say ‘yes’.

Don’t forget to exercise

Exercise is good for the mind as well as the body, and having both in tip-top condition is going to make a healthy work-life balance that little easier to attain and maintain. Set aside some time, just 15 minutes is enough, for any kind of physical exercise.

A brisk walk, a jog, a run, push-ups… Anything. Starting the day with some energetic exercise is going to leave you feeling energised for the rest of the day. You will have plenty of energy to get through work and still have plenty left for your family.

This isn’t even taking into account the so-called feel-good chemicals that your brain releases when you exercise, further helping your mental well-being.

Maintaining a busy work schedule and healthy family life is not always easy, but it can be done with a little determination and boundaries.