Wellness Toolbox

Living a Balanced Life

Finding a healthy balance between work and personal life is an ongoing challenge that we all face. We may have very good reasons for increasing the hours we spend at work—earning a promotion, getting through a “crunch,” or meeting an increased workload due to layoffs. However, the reality is, stress related to work can impact our personal lives.<!-- -->

Some common signs of poor work-life balance

Fatigue: Feeling sleepy may lead to inability to concentrate and mistakes on the job.

Losing touch with friends and family: If you're working too much, you may miss important family events. This can leave you feeling left out. It's also difficult to nurture friendships if you're unavailable.

How to Achieve a Better Work-Life Balance

Start by thinking about how you feel about work. Then you can try specific ways to help find a healthier balance, one step at a time.

Track your time. Decide what you must do and what is most satisfying. Stop doing activities that aren't necessary and delegat that others are able to do.

Learn to say no. When you quit doing the things you do only out of guilt or a false sense of obligation, you make more time in your life to do the things that matterl to you and bring you joy.

Leave work at work. Keep work time separate from personal time. When you're with your family, try to turn off your cell phone and not use your computer.

Manage your time. Do what needs to be done and let the rest go. Plan ahead to be efficient, like running errands in batches or doing a load of laundry every day, rather than saving it all for your day off. Put family events on a calendar and keep a daily to-do list.

Plan for good times. When you plan your week, make sure to schedule time with your family and friends and activities that you can look forward to.

Drop activities that waste your time or energy. Limit the time you spend on the web and social media sites, or chatting with co-workers.

Exercise every day. Take a walk before breakfast. Ride your bicycle on weekends. Mix it up. Regular exercise boosts your energy level and ability to concentrate.

Take care of yourself. Eat healthy foods, include exercise in your daily routine and get enough sleep. Set aside time each day for an activity that you enjoy, such as taking a walk or reading. And include things you can do with your partner, family or friends — such as playing music, dancing or taking cooking classes.

Small changes can make a big difference. Don't assume that you need to make big changes to bring more balance to your life. Set goals you know you can follow through with, like leaving work earlier one night per week.

Know when to seek professional help. Everyone needs help from time to time. If your life feels too chaotic to manage and you're worrying about it, talk with a professional — such as a counselor or other mental health professional. If your employer offers an employee assistance program (EAP), take advantage of the services offered.