“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”
“You will never feel truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life”
These quotes sound like no-brainers: who would disagree? Yet, research tells us that the British work the longest hours in Europe, take the shortest lunch-breaks and have fewest public holidays. The pressure of an increasingly demanding work culture in UK is possibly one of the most pressing challenges facing today’s population’s mental health. Technology means that work is only ever one click away.
Problems: The problem of an off-balance between your life (friends, family, health, interests, sleep) and your work is it can lead to stress, emotional and physical burnout. Some of our best attempts to self-medicate (skipping lunch, working late to catch-up and relying on caffeine boosts) end up causing us more harm.
How to maintain balance: Of course, there is no perfect balance. Feeling stressed out is often a clue though to a need for change. The best tips I’ve come across and try to follow are:
• Firm boundaries: I’m clocking off at 5:30 today and work can wait till tomorrow/Monday
• Resist checking work emails at home. It can wait.
• Try and work productively/efficiently while you’re in work mode. Set yourself a target for the morning and have lunch away from desk once finished.
• Stretch your legs. Exercise has been shown to increase brainpower and decrease stress.
So, it’s over to you to look at your work-life balance. Get it wrong and relationships will suffer. No-one gets the best version of you; everyone just gets whatever’s left-over.