The average person will spend one-third of their life at work. As a result, it’s undeniable that work plays a significant role in our lives. Many people put in additional hours at work to get ahead, to make a good impression or because they find fulfillment in their work. But stress from your job can lead to excessive working hours, which is time away from friends and family and doing the things you love. Everyone’s time is precious and limited, so finding a healthy work-life balance is crucial.
If you’re concerned that pressure at your job is leading you to work excessively, make sure to address the problem as soon as possible. Ultimately, only you can ensure you have the right work-life balance.
The Importance of Work-Life Balance
Keeping a healthy work-life balance helps individuals manage their stress and reduce the risk of burnout. Stress and burnout can have adverse physical, mental and emotional consequences, such as:
- Insomnia and sleep issues
- Digestive problems
- Chronic pain
- Heart problems (stroke, heart attack, etc.)
- Problems with romantic, family and friend relationships
People typically have poor work-life balance because they’re trying to overperform at work. However, the irony is that the stress and burnout of overworking often lead to unsatisfactory work performance. Instead, it’s the well-rested, happy individual with a healthy work-life balance who has the energy and motivation to perform optimally at work!
6 Tips for Managing Work-Life Balance
So, wondering how to not stress at work? Here are five actionable tips to help you with stress management in the workplace.
1. Set Boundaries and Expectations
First, take some time to make it clear to your boss and coworkers that you value a healthy work-life balance. Explain to people that you only work during your paid hours (such as 9-5) and days (such as Monday to Friday). Outside of these hours, you should unplug from work. This could mean taking email off your phone so you’re not tempted to respond to requests or choosing not to respond to work messages via text, apps, etc., until your next workday starts.
It might take some time for those you work with to get used to your new priorities, but all you can do is clarify your boundaries. You’re paid to work on certain days and hours, so plan to stick to that timeline.
Setting expectations also means vocalizing to your management if they’re putting more on your plate than you can reasonably get done in your regular workday. Remember that your managers can’t know your workload is overwhelming if you don’t tell them!
If you find yourself drowning in work and have other people on your team who can support you, use them! Delegating tasks can help you prioritize what’s most important while also giving others a chance to prove themselves. Instead of stressing yourself out by trying to do it all, remember that your work colleagues can help you. And if you don’t have someone to delegate to, mention this gap to your boss so they can consider hiring some additional help.
3. Take Breaks
Remind yourself every day that you’re not a robot. While you may be paid to work an eight-hour shift, it’s probably impossible to be hyper-focused on work the entire day. Taking breaks throughout the day to grab a snack or drink, chat with coworkers, stretch your legs or get some fresh air is perfectly fine. In fact, it’s proven that taking breaks can actually help you be more productive (and reduce stress) because it allows you a moment to recharge. So, try to keep in mind that taking your well-deserved lunch break can help you manage your work stress.
4. Take Vacation Time (All of It)
To add to the above “take breaks” conversation, ensure you also use all your vacation time. In 2018, the U.S. Travel Association found that more than half of Americans don’t use up all their vacation days. Employees who don’t take their vacation time increase their risk of burnout and stress in the workplace. Do yourself a favor and schedule all your vacation days for the year right now. You’ll find that your workplace can manage without you, and you’ll return feeling refreshed and ready to take on your workload.
5. Prioritize Your Health
Work-life balance means prioritizing your health outside of work, too. Taking care of your physical, emotional and mental well-being can help you succeed in all aspects of your life, including your job. Try to schedule time for physical activity (before or after work or during lunch breaks), pack healthy lunches and intervene if your workplace takes a toll on your mental health.
6. Know Your Job Isn’t Everything
So, what’s the secret of how to not stress about work? It’s remembering that your job isn’t everything. Ultimately, if you were to quit, your company would find a way to manage without you. You can enjoy your career, but make sure it never comes at the cost of time with friends and family or doing what makes you happy. There’s more to life than work, and you should live by the motto “Work to live, don’t live to work.”
Setting Reasonable Expectations
Of course, it’s hard to achieve work-life balance, and it won’t happen overnight. Not only do you have to shift your own internal dialogue and intentions around work, but you also have to shift your employer’s mindset as well. Tackle the above tips one at a time and know that you’re progressing towards a healthier work-life balance with each step.
What to Do If You’re in Too Deep
If you feel you’ve developed a disorder and become a workaholic who can’t stop, consider seeking professional help. There are many possible reasons you may be overworking, and you may be unable to stop until you resolve those root problems. It’s important to address this issue before the stress from work significantly affects your physical, emotional or mental state.
Restore Mental Health Can Help
Restore is a state-of-the-art facility providing the best in mental health treatment and recovery. Find out how our comprehensive behavioral health program can help you today by calling (877) 594-3566. Restore’s staff are available 24/7 to answer your questions.