Work-Life Balance

 Do you ever feel like there is just too much to accomplish and not enough hours in the day?

If you find it challenging to juggle the demands of work and the rest of your life you are not alone. 58% of Canadians report feeling ‘overload’ from the many roles they play – work, home, family and friends, physical health, volunteer and community service.
 
While moderate stress actually improves our efficiency and mental sharpness, extreme stress can be debilitating and damaging to our mental health. Employees who consider most of their days to be extremely stressful are over three times more likely to suffer a major depressive episode compared to those who perceived low to moderate levels of stress.
 
Here are some signs of unhealthy work-life balance:
  • You feel like you have lost control of your day to day life.
  • You feel guilty that you are neglecting some or all of your various roles.
  • You find it hard difficult to concentrate on tasks.
  • You feel tired and dread the day’s activities.
 If you are struggling to balance your work-life demands or want to maintain your healthy outlook here are some suggestions:
  • Build breaks or downtime into your schedule: Productivity will increase if you take a 10 minute break every so often. When you plan your week make it a point to schedule activities that will help you recharge. This could be a short meditation or journal entry, a quick walk or even a lunch date with a supportive friend, co-worker or partner.
  • Set priorities for the following day: be realistic in timing and what can be achieved in the time available.
  • Drop activities that sap your time and energy: Limit your time on web and social media sites that suck up time and limit productivity. Avoid spending too much time with people or activities that add no value, for example venting or gossiping. Research shows that we pick up the emotions of those around us and negative comments in the workplace can result in an overall lowered staff morale. Don’t be available 24/7 for everyone and make sure you have an effective way of deciphering emergencies.
  • Create a routine to transition between work and home: After work take a brief walk or listen to music before beginning the evening routine. Some people find it helpful to change clothes or freshen up before switching roles. Does Mr. Rogers come to mind? There was a method to his clothing change.
  • Rethink your errands: Plan to share or outsource time-consuming chores that suck up time. Learn to let go and have others help out or trade services with others. A friend could help wrap holiday gifts in exchange for preparing and freezing a couple meals.
  • Exercise: It is hard to make time to get moving when your schedule is overflowing but exercise is the best way to boost your energy level and ability to concentrate. This is one of the best buffers for mental health and reduces stress immediately.
  • Make choices and start small: You do not need to do everything! Some obligations may have to be put on the backburner for a time when overload is not a risk. Remember to recharge every day. This could be a 15 minute bath, a good book, a phone call to a loved one or some good music in the car on your way to the next event. Making time for the things that bring calmness and joy into your life is important. Your balance depends on it.

This mental health tip is brought to you by our Georgina NPLC mental health professional.

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