Work-life balance is a hot topic these days. If you are a student, an employee, or both, it’s something that you will inevitably have to deal with. Technology can keep us in touch with the rest of the world 24 hours a day, so it’s easy to work well beyond the hours that we plan to. Emails at 9pm, voicemails over the weekend … these small things add up over time and can take a toll on your personal life.
So what is work-life balance?
Work-life balance is an ideal separation and balance of your personal and professional lives, without one having too much of an affect on the other. This definition can vary from person to person, as everyone has a different set of values.
What happens when there is an imbalance?
Working too much, whether it be on school work or on the job, can cause you to experience burnout, putting a strain on your personal relationships and affecting your physical and psychological health. Feeling weighed down by too many commitments causes stress and will ultimately compromise your immune system. This means that you’re more likely to miss work or school days due to illness. (Therefore making those extra hours not even worth it!).
Beyond physical ailments such as the cold and flu, overworking yourself can also lead to depression. This can be caused by missing out on quality time spent with loved ones, or time spent doing things that you truly enjoy. Spending too much time distracted by your work can also cause personal relationships to be strained, negatively impacting your life. Nobody wants to feel constantly overworked, stressed and tired!
Tips on how to find your balance:
- Eat healthy and exercise. Even the simple act of walking instead of driving a short distance, taking the stairs, or swapping that chocolate bar for an apple can make a difference. When your physical health is taken care of, you will find that your energy levels and mood are improved.
- Take control of your technology. As mentioned, because it is now possible to be contacted regarding school and work commitments 24 hours a day, it has become more difficult than ever to separate your personal and professional life. So, take control! Ban technology during certain hours, such as when you are having dinner or perhaps a set amount of time before going to bed. Adjust your settings or use an app that controls when you receive notifications.
- Take a vacation. Vacations are pretty much always a good time and seem like a luxury but are truly a necessity. Sometimes we need to separate ourselves from the everyday hustle in order to reset.
- Sleep. There isn’t much more to say about that. Get your rest!
- Learn to say no. Feeling pressured into taking that extra shift, but really need to get that school project done? Say no! Do what is right for you.
- Talk to someone. Whether it be your boss at work or your instructor at school, if you are feeling overwhelmed, talk to them. Most people will be understanding and can help you adjust things so that your schedule will work better for you.