In today’s hustle culture where busyness and workaholism are constantly being glorified, it’s getting harder and harder to achieve a balance between our work and our personal lives. The monster known as ‘social pressure’ is breathing down our necks, constantly reminding us that we need to do more, be more and strive for more. It certainly doesn’t help that individuals who seem to have “made it,” like Elon Musk and Marissa Mayer, advocate for unhealthy 80- and 130-hour work weeks.
A recent study has found that Generation Z employees are unhappiest of all when it comes to work-life balance. It’s harder for them to detach from their work, constantly staying connected to it via the Internet even after leaving the office. Social pressure is, once again, enormous and anxiety-inducing, thanks to the constant bombardment with mantras such as “choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” that are so popular these days.
Regardless of whether you love your job or not, in order to maintain good mental health in your daily life, there are a few things you can actually practice regularly to enjoy a better work-life balance:
Establish And Stick To Your Priorities
First thing’s first: think long and hard about what your priorities are, both personal and work-related, and write them down. You should have easy access to this list and it should serve as a daily reminder of what’s truly important to you. Try to organize your day with these priorities in mind and strive to do at least one little thing daily that will serve your goals in the long run. Don’t overwhelm yourself by obsessing about your priorities – there’s a fine line between a healthy set of goals to work towards and a detrimental infatuation regarding your ambitions.
Don’t Be Afraid To Say No
Keeping your priorities in mind, once something new comes up that doesn’t actually serve you or your purpose, don’t be afraid to say no. This rule is especially valid for extra work tasks that will only take away from the quality time you had meant to spend with your family. Stop doing things out of guilt or, even worse, just because you have a few free hours which haven’t been scheduled yet. Respectfully decline any offers that will only overwhelm your schedule and take time away from your personal priorities.
Disconnect And Leave Your Work At The Workplace
Once your hours are up and you’ve finally arrived home after a long day at work, learn to disconnect as much as you can. Don’t volunteer to do additional tasks you couldn’t complete during your 8-hour work day. If you didn’t get around to it at the workplace, it simply means that it is not of paramount importance and it can wait until the next morning when you’ll be back at the office.
Say no to the ‘work-life blend’ when you’re off-duty, don’t check your emails after you’ve stepped inside the house and try to unplug from your workday. Online marketers should stay as far away from social media as humanly possible, because the last thing you need is an anxiety-inducing reminder of the mountain of tasks waiting for you at the office the next day. Find a totally unrelated activity you can immerse yourself in – take up knitting, start planting your own vegetable garden, exercise or play with your kids. Activities that are in contrast with your work routine can help you relax and unwind on a daily basis.
Make Good Use of All Your Vacation Time
Paid vacation time exists so you can take advantage of it and truly recharge your batteries before returning to work. Try to systematically plan your vacation times in order to make the most out of them. For example, you can extend your 5-day leave by combining it with a national holiday. Strive to organize your days in a way to recharge yourself every quarter of a year.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with work, don’t have any more paid leave time left but have some money in your savings account, you can always opt for unpaid vacation time as well. Mental health is important and your boss will surely understand your need to take a few days off in order to avoid burnout.
Keep The Guilt At Bay
Kindly remind yourself that it’s not possible for you to do multiple things and be present in multiple places at the same time. It all comes down to prioritizing tasks to be in line with your personal needs and goals and if someone gets hurt by you declining their offer, let it go. Whatever you decide to do, you can’t please everyone, so don’t try to—and, most importantly, don’t ever feel guilty about it!
Make Time For Yourself On A Daily Basis
Taking time on a daily basis to just catch up with yourself should be at the very top of your priority list. If you’re not in tune with your feelings and your thoughts, there’s no way you can serve other people in your professional or your personal life. Find out what activity can help you in this regard—morning meditation, journaling, a quick yoga practice or even just sitting down and planning out the day—and practice it religiously.
Schedule Regular Quality Time With Your Loved Ones
While this should go without saying, spending quality time with your loved ones is an extremely important factor in achieving a work-life balance. The people you feel closest to can energize you and make you feel more confident and better about yourself. Strive to spend as much time with them as possible and schedule regular meet-ups that involve fun, playful activities to make the most of your downtime.