Posted on: June 29th, 2024

Mastering Work-Life Balance: Tips for a Healthier Lifestyle

BY: Kelsey brewer, lmhc

Work-life balance. It’s a little phrase that’s often thrown around and that we’re told to strive for. But what does work-life balance look like? We live in a world where we’re told to prioritize our family, our friends, our own self-care, but are also constantly surrounded with messaging like “rise and grind” regarding our careers. July 5th is National Workaholics Day. Chances are, you can think of someone that could fit this label, or maybe that someone is yourself.

Work-life balance can sometimes feel unattainable, like we would have to be Simone Biles on beam to achieve it. Falling and stumbling and our balance being thrown off happens sometimes. There are several tips and techniques to help us get back on track and be able to stick the landing with work-life balance and prevent burnout.

Put physical distance between your home and work life.

This step is not as tricky if you work in-person. But with the rise in fully remote and hybrid work setups since the pandemic, this can be tricky if we at any point work from home, where our work and home environments are one and the same. Our beds or couches can seem so tempting to work from, and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t done this. But if there’s an area in your home that you can dedicate to work, that you minimally use or go outside of work hours, this can help our brains with not associating our relaxing spaces with work.

Make intentional outfit choices and changes.

Seems like a weird thing to be a part of this list, right? If we’re working in person, coming home and changing into comfier clothes helps with getting into home life mode. When we work from home, a huge perk can be getting to wear slightly comfier clothes to work. With WFH, when we’re done with work, even changing just part of your outfit can help us mentally disconnect, even if it’s from one pair of sweatpants, leggings, or athletic shorts to another!

Disconnect when you’re at home.

If possible, don’t have your work email and work messaging system on your phone. If this isn’t possible, turn notifications off at a particular time and change any statuses to away/inactive or do not disturb. Have conversations with coworkers and your supervisor about your boundaries and ways these can be supported. If you have specific devices for work, like a work phone or laptop, keep these at your work or if they have to be at home, keep them in a separate environment from where you are relaxing at the end of your day.

Minimize distractions and focus on one task at a time.

This can be difficult but during work, working on one task at a time instead of multitasking and making to-do lists (I mean, isn’t it satisfying to cross things off?) can help concentration while at work. It can minimize the amount of time you have to stay later at work or finish tasks at home. However, to do this, taking your lunch break and other small mental breaks at work is needed!

Use your commute or take a few minutes to decompress.

If you work in-person, you can use your drive home to reflect on your day and think about anything coming up the next day. Having these things already thought out and reflected on can help your mind to not go there when you’re at home. However, there should be limits on this! Listening to music, a podcast, or calling a friend or family member during your commute can be helpful to decompress. If you work from home, take a few intentional moments in between work and home to disconnect instead of directly jumping from one to the other.

Make time for things you enjoy and use relaxation and stress management techniques.

Making non-negotiable time for things like spending time with family or friends, exercise, and engaging in interests and relaxation techniques can help combat burnout. Also, take your PTO and vacation days, even if it’s not for an elaborate vacation! A ‘staycation’, or simply a mental health day where you do nothing but stay at home and watch your favorite movies or TV series can be helpful.

Overall, work-life balance is hard, especially in today’s world. You’re not alone. Therapy can also help you find the support you need in getting towards a more balanced life, so reach out today. It’s a skill that takes practice, but don’t worry, you’ll find your balance.