Finding the Perfect Balance

The pressure of an increasingly demanding work culture is one of the most pressing challenges affecting mental health in today’s society. It is natural that people want to enjoy a successful career and a fulfilling family life. However, to achieve this, the two need to be balanced.

Everyone has different priorities that are unique to themselves. The first stage is to ask, ‘what is important to me?’ These priorities can range from what keeps you satisfied in your career, a happy and healthy relationship with family, to enjoying a range of hobbies and being an active member of the community.

The chances are that your priorities will differ at the various stages of your life. For example, younger people may be initially focused on developing a career, before having the increased priorities and responsibilities of raising a family. It is important to remember that it is perfectly possible to lead a full and rewarding life doing the things you enjoy, even if you are not earning lots of money. People’s career or lifestyle choices are subjective and down to the particular attitudes of the individual.

To most people, their work and private lives are equally important. They are also interrelated. We work to support ourselves, our families and the pursuit of our interests. Yet, sometimes, if we focus too strongly on a certain aspect of our lives, other areas will be affected. Focus too much on meeting targets and making a profit in your work life and your home relationships begin to deteriorate. Alternatively, focusing on family or taking too much time off to improve your social life and your work productivity suffers.

It is important to take responsibility for your own work-life balance. Reflect on your own behaviours and whether you are spending enough time on priorities or neglecting the ones that matter the most.

Working Life

We spend a significant amount of our lives in work. It is an important element of our day-to-day lives and, for many of us, necessary to make a living to support ourselves and our families. However, there is more to life than money!

People are often under pressure to work hard in work. They work long hours and may be at risk of stress or ‘burn out’.

Lots of problems are caused by work intruding on our home lives. The stuff we bring home could include work-related tasks, or work-induced stress and anxiety. These can be damaging for relationships, family life and physical or mental health. Try to get your tasks done during worktime so that you are not bringing your work home with you. This also applies to checking emails – avoid the temptation.

Dissatisfaction with work is likely to interfere with the enjoyment of a private life and is a sign that changes need to be made. Therefore, it is important to speak with your manager about your concerns or set yourself targets to make sure that you are making the most of your in-work time.

Avoid being a perfectionist or trying to do too much. There are clearly certain things that should be done to the highest quality but trying to do everything perfectly at home or in work can be very stressful. Provided things are carried out to the required standard, everything should be fine.

It is also important to take regular breaks away from your desk – so don’t skip lunch or eat at your desk. Take the opportunity to get out of the office and get a clearer state of mind to finish that particularly difficult task by the time you come back.

Personal Life

Your physical and mental health are very important to your wellbeing and need to be maintained. Work and personal matters can prove very draining and stressful from time to time, so it is important not to neglect yourself.

Goals are not just for work. They can also be set to provide a sense of direction in our personal lives. Maybe you want to learn something new, like how to play a musical instrument, or perhaps you plan to do something life changing such as get married and have children?

By being clear about the goals, priorities can be set, and decisions made to help achieve them.

Conversely, you also need to consider how your personal life impacts on your working life. Things such as childcare commitments, the health of relatives, your emotional wellbeing and your financial status all have an impact on you working life. Try to keep your work life and your private life separate, as far as possible.

But above all…

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Humans are social creatures; we need to interact with each other. Therefore, take the time to talk to friends and family about your worries or concerns. They will listen to you. Also, don’t feel the need to do everything yourself. In work, you may be able to delegate or ask your colleagues or managers for support. At home, could your partner or children be doing more to help? Some people like feeling as if they have to do everything, it makes them feel important or needed but it is a sure way to get stressed or exhausted. Like most things in life, moderation is key.

About the author

Jessica joined RWA in 2018, having graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Film Studies. Prior to this, she worked in a photography studio as a wedding album editor and also attended work experience at a local library.

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