Maintaining a work/life balance is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. Knowing when it’s time to buckle down and when it’s time to relax can help you avoid feeling stressed, overworked, and burnt out.

What Is a Work/Life Balance?

A work/life balance is the practice of giving yourself enough time to do the things you love, while also completing your tasks at work. People who work non-stop and rarely take time off can suffer from stress and burnout. Understanding why a work/life balance matters is an essential part of knowing when to make time for yourself and when it is time to take a step back.


How Balanced is Your Life?

Do you feel as though you have enough free time for hobbies, traveling, and spending time with your loved ones? Are you spending more time at work than you’d like and missing family get-togethers or milestones with your children? Taking an honest inventory of your current lifestyle and work habits can help you to paint a more accurate picture of what you may need to do to improve your work/life balance.


How Much Free Time Do You Have for Yourself Each Day?

While some people thrive on working overtime and enjoy diving into their work, an unhealthy work/life balance without little free time for themselves can lead to decreased workplace productivity, among other issues.

Do you have any time for yourself after work to focus on hobbies or decompress and relax? How often do you take time to focus on activities and hobbies that are entertaining and a source of joy for you? Even if you enjoy work and consider yourself a workaholic, a lack of free time can quickly lead to feeling overwhelmed and burnt out.


Do You Have Enough Time With Loved Ones?

How much time do you spend each week with your family and loved ones? If you're sad that you are missing out on important milestones and experiences, it may be time to rethink your current work/life balance.

Speak to your family about the time you spend with one another to learn how they are feeling about your current schedule. Working together with your loved ones can help you create a lifestyle and schedule that works for and benefits everyone in your home.


What Role Do You Assume at Work and at Home?

Once you arrive home after a long day of work, what is your role? Are you stuck cooking and doing the dishes every night? Is it up to you to discipline the children after a day at the office?

Reconsider the tasks you take on at home and see if they can be delegated to someone else or changed to better fit your schedule. Your teens could take the laundry and dishes off your hands. A slow cooker could make dinner for you while you’re at work. Don’t be afraid to make the changes you need to so you can give yourself the free time you need. 


What Purpose Does Your Job Offer?

Think about your current position and whether it is right for you. What purpose does your job offer to you? Is it moving you in the direction you want to go in your life? Do you feel like you have to put in extra hours to succeed at work when you’d rather spend that time with your family? In this job market, employers are competing for workers and beefing up their benefits to attract top-tier talent. So if your current job doesn’t fit your lifestyle, consider finding one that does.


Is Your Work Fulfilling You?

Do you feel fulfilled with your work? Does your job bring you satisfaction and positivity? If not, don’t think you’re stuck. Look for other opportunities that will offer you a chance to do what you love. 


Do You Feel Satisfied With the Direction of Your Life?

Are you satisfied with the direction of your life and where you are headed in your career? Can you see yourself remaining in your position for years, if not decades, to come? What type of life can you expect if you choose to stay in this position? If you’re not currently on the road to the life you want, it may be time to change course.


How Can You Monitor Your Work/Life Balance?

Assess what you need and what you’re looking for in life and in your career. Consider what type of work/life balance is most important to you and what in your life you would like to change. Try keeping a journal so you can look back and see your sources of stress and joy. Seeing that laid out in black and white can help you start to balance the scales. 


What Can You Do to Improve Your Work/Life Balance?

Maneuver your work schedule to provide you with more quality time with the ones you love most, as well as more quality time for yourself. Dedicate at least one hour each day to decompressing and finding balance outside of work, helping you to make the most out of your time without sacrificing all of it.

Understanding the importance of a healthy work/life balance is essential in order to feel truly satisfied and fulfilled with your way of life. When you know how to assess and improve your current work/life balance, you will find it much easier to set and stick to goals that are truly right for you.


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About the Author: Patrick Bailey is a professional writer, mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. Patrick attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoys writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.  


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