Thus the risks of professional burnout become even higher. Checking emails and answering calls in the evening, continuing reflecting and planning at weekends, chatting about business in the bar – these are frequent examples on how work and leisure spheres are not separated. Do you do the same?
We present to you a short and simple overview of the concept “Work-Life Balance” prepared by Volha Saroka (a psychologist, Master of Psychology Science and YMCA Europe Leadership Academy graduate).
We wish you to keep being productive at work and to be able to refill your batteries well during your leisure time!
More and more people are paying attention to «work-life balance» – some of them see this phrase as just another fashion statement, while for some, this issue can become a turning point in rethinking their lives. In this article, we reflect on what it means to maintain «work-life balance», what are the signs that harmony has broken and why it’s important to keep an eye on it.
Work-life balance is about completing work tasks and contributing to professional development without sacrificing your health, well-being and relationships.
It’s about choosing yourself, your physical and mental health, and spending time with loved ones without guilt. About not being a workaholic and perfectionist and not trying to do all work tasks perfectly at once, but to be able to prioritise and delegate things.
It is important to understand that this is an individual concept and each person fills it by personal meaning: for some people it can be a philosophy of life, while for others it is a practical tool for organising time – you need to figure out what would be the balance for you.
What are the dangers of the balance disturbance?
The main danger here is emotional burnout. It is characterised by deterioration of the quality of the work done, unwillingness to do it, loss of creativity in solving tasks, increase of conflicts at work. A burnout syndrome also has a negative impact on personal life, for example, when after an emotionally intense day a person feels stressed and goes home, he or she could express these emotions to loved ones.
Professional and personal relationships break down. A person becomes irritable and difficult to approach. As a consequence, intimacy, sincerity and spontaneity in communication are lost between people.
The mental and physical health of the person suffers. Ignoring own feelings and needs can lead to more serious problems. We have certain demands on ourselves, and if these do not match our capabilities, we may have a feeling of dissatisfaction with ourselves, high levels of anxiety and the tendency to underestimate self-esteem. This provokes chronic stress, problems from psychosomatic to depression.
In general, life becomes less diverse and limited to one area at the cost of sacrificing others. Setting the balance in work and personal life in particular manifests itself in the fact that a person could be more present at the moment, attentive and immersed in what one is doing. Important thing for finding an internal harmony is to have an honest conversation with themselves. In fact, our subconscious mind is our closest friend who can help us: trust yourself and your feelings and do not be afraid to change the way things are.
Five tips to help you find own optimum
Here are some useful tips for finding your work-life balance. They all work well if you practise them daily, put them into a long-term perspective and fill by personal meaning, a sense of why you are doing that way.
1. Identify your personal borders
Setting borders means that you understand your limitations, accept them and communicate to others. Let your colleagues know exactly when you are available for work-related tasks and when you are not. You have to draw a line not only between work and personal life, but also between your own and others’ spheres of responsibility.
2. Identify your expectations and needs, both professionally and personally
Try to map out for yourself the following points: on one side «work», on the other side «personal life», and in each field – expectations vs real opportunities. What are your needs in each of these fields, how and who exactly can satisfy them?
3. Keep a routine, make personal rules and relaxation rituals
When your job requires you to travel a lot, or you work exclusively remotely, it is important to maintain a «rest and work routine», to take short breaks with a change of activity during the working day, switch to something pleasant and relaxing after. For example, you could do a little exercise during the day and go for a walk in the countryside on the weekend.
4. Practice paying attention to your feelings and physical state
Our bodies and emotions are the best indicators of what’s going on with us, so it’s important not to ignore or avoid those signs. And if it does happen, think about why it did. It’s perfectly normal, our psyche protects us, but at some point it can start hurting us.
5. Accept the possibility of failure
It’s frustrating to realise, but even the best planning will sometimes not produce the results you need. Let your expectations of yourself, colleagues and loved ones not be too high, then you will find it easier to accept the situation when things go wrong.
Why work-life balance is important
Finding balance and learning how to build healthy borders with work can be difficult, but it is essential to our quality of life. By maintaining a work-life balance, a person will experience less stress both at work and at home. Try to start by identifying those items that are easy for you to do. Let’s start from small changes in this direction and step by step you could make a qualitative difference to your work and personal life.
Psychologist, Master of Psychology Science,
YMCA Europe Leadership Academy graduate
The article is prepared within the project “Organic Governance and Quality Development”. It is supported by Erasmus+, Key Action 2 programme.
Movement Strengthening in YMCA Europe is aimed at building the capacity of organisations in different spheres including governance, internal policies, quality standards, strategic planning and healthy management systems.