The pressure of an increasingly demanding work culture is one of the most critical challenges affecting mental health. Many of us want to enjoy a successful career and a fulfilling personal life, but the two need to be balanced. Practising mindfulness in our everyday lives can help us achieve this.
Mindfulness is described by The NHS as: “paying attention to what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment”. Being in tune with our thoughts and feelings can help us take a step back to reflect on ourselves and analyse a situation.
Everyone has different priorities that are unique to themselves. The first stage is to ask yourself: “What is important to me?” These priorities can range from what keeps you satisfied in your career, happy and healthy relationships with family, maybe even enjoying a range of hobbies and being an active member of the community.
Here are some ways to achieve a good work-life balance through mindfulness:
Set clear boundaries
Manage your time carefully so that your professional life doesn’t infringe on your family or personal life and try not to focus on work-related matters when you are supposed to be relaxing. Having hobbies and personal goals outside of work can provide a sense of direction and positivity in your life. Conversely, consider how your personal life impacts your working life. Things such as childcare commitments, the health of relatives, and your emotional well-being all have an impact on your career, so try to keep this separate from your private life as much as possible.
Take a break from technology
We use smartphones in our everyday lives, and many of us have our work emails or Microsoft Teams on our phones. As a result, it is easy to fall into the habit of working evenings and weekends to do more work the next day. If you check your work phone before saying good morning to your family, this is likely an early sign of an imbalance between your home and work life. Set aside some time each day away from your phone or computer. Go for a walk, read a book or even try out a new hobby.
Manage your stress effectively
Recognising the signs of stress and what is causing it is a good place to start. Examples of managing stress include:
- Maintaining friendships. Having friends in the workplace can help improve the quality of your work life. It is also important that you have social connections outside of the workplace too. Having people to talk to is an effective way to address stress and feelings of isolation.
- Learn to say ‘no’. Turn down additional work that you cannot fit into your schedule, or if you are required for a project, manage expectations so that you are not faced with too many deadlines at once. Working beyond your normal working hours can cause your concentration, productivity, and mental health to suffer.
- Counselling or therapy. Being able to speak to someone confidentially and without judgement can help lift a weight from your shoulders. Counsellors and therapists can help you identify the source of your stress and recommend any further steps that need to be taken.
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.