Last week, our blog post mentioned work-life balance. As you probably know, May is mental health awareness month. The need to address one’s work-life balance, whether truly achievable or not, can often be realized through experiencing things like stress, anxiety and depression.
The pandemic has not helped. In fact, seven in 10 Americans working from home during COVID-19 are struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance. What’s more, 67% of people working remotely feel pressure to be available at all hours of the day.
Now the point of this post isn’t to bombard you with statistics about how chaotic life can be. It’s about spending a few minutes looking at what work-life balance is and isn’t, and some possible ways to find it.
Work-Life Balance Is
… the state of equilibrium where you equally prioritizes the demands of your career and your personal life.
… something that looks different for everyone.
… in itself, a contradiction. Work is a part of your life, after all.
Work-Life Balance Is Not…
… about sacrificing fulfillment at work to find fulfillment at home, or vice versa.
… possible without a support system — whether that’s friends, family, or colleagues.
… something that only affects working parents.
Ways to Find It
- Talking to People: Your loved ones care about your wellbeing, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. People who don’t want to be inconvenienced by your quest for fulfillment aren’t those you want in your corner. Considering your alternatives — taking stock of the things in your life that could be different like spending more time with family or getting that promotion — and prioritizing the people and events most important to you will provide clarity and allow you to see what needs changing.
- Talking to Yourself: The chaos you feel may be attributed to your own attitude towards work. Some advice experts give on what you can do on your own includes letting go of perfectionism, unplugging while at home (although for everyone that may not be possible), use exercise or meditation to reduce stress and take some time for yourself every now and then.
- Make A Change: There is nothing wrong with admitting that you need to make a change in your work schedule. For example, 67% of people said their work-life balance improved when they started working remotely. Exploring remote options or making your hours more flexible can take away a lot of the stress of a busy home life.
Checking up on your mental health.
- If stress or anxiety is what is truly at the center of your work-life conflict, addressing the triggers or underlying issues can provide room for focused reasoning and reality to help find that balance.
- If there isn’t anything in your work or home life that brings you joy, if feelings of helplessness and defeat cloud your ability to be present in either role, you may be experiencing depression.
Before we go, I just want to say that the purpose of this post is not to hint that if you aren’t someone who is constantly mindful of your work-life equilibrium, it’s totally okay! You may be one of the lucky ones who doesn’t stress over problems juggling work and home life. Or you may be perfectly content spending more time and energy on one than the other. As long as you continue to monitor your mental health and relate your needs to those at work, a work-life balance is possible.
When it comes down to it, believing that these two parts of one’s life, work and not work, can find harmony motivates us to actually make the tough decisions and to recognize our own needs on the path to fulfillment. You just got to start small and build from there.
To learn more about Mental Health Awareness Month, click on one or more of the links below:
American Counseling Association