Special attention has been paid to a healthy work-life balance in the last few years. The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted many people’s work patterns, bringing never-before-seen changes with flexible schedules and remote work. At the same time, healthcare professionals had to work for a long time under increased stress and at the limit of their capabilities. All this has increased the attention of society, organizations, and employers to the importance of balance between work and other aspects of life. Creating and maintaining a healthy balance between a career and a personal life is challenging but vital for health, relationships, overall life satisfaction, and productivity.
Work may come to the fore and become the most important part of life, occupying most of the time and attention. The desire to achieve professional success can push to put aside other aspects of life, such as family, rest, self-development, and even health. However, creating a harmonious work-life balance is critical to improving not only physical, emotional, and mental well-being but is also essential for the career. Work-life balance is the individual’s perception that personal activities and work are compatible and conducive to growth in line with a person’s current life priorities (Gragnano et al., 2020). Work-life balance is a vital component of a healthy work environment. Maintaining it reduces stress and helps to prevent workplace burnout (Bataineh, 2019). Chronic stress is one of the most widespread health problems in the workplace. Its physical implications include hypertension, intestinal issues, persistent pain, and cardiac problems (Vyas, 2022). It is related to an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and insomnia, which may severely impact mental health (Gragnano et al., 2020). Creating and maintaining a work-life balance promotes work-life satisfaction, high productivity, and commitment and is also an effective tool for managing stress levels and preventing burnout.
A healthy work-life balance is subjective and individual and varies from person to person. For me, it is not defined as the precise distribution of hours between different activities; for example, fifty hours a week for work, fifty-six for sleep, thirty for taking care of family and communicating with friends, ten for hobbies and learning, and the remaining for rest and entertainment. It does not depend on the number of hours I spend in a particular activity but on the quality of this time and its ability to make me feel comfortable and satisfied in both my professional and personal life. A healthy work-life balance for me means meeting deadlines at work and efficiently fulfilling my responsibilities while having enough free time for personal needs. These include time to spend with family and friends, learning and self-development, interests, sports, adequate sleep, and good nutrition.
There are several signs that may let me know if I am not maintaining a healthy balance such as feelings of anxiety due to not having enough time for all my plans. The prolonged feeling of tiredness that persists even after sleep or rest, an excessive increase in overtime hours, as due to fatigue and poor concentration, I do not have time to fulfill my duties during working hours. A sign of imbalance between work and personal life is the appearance of thoughts about work during rest, before going to bed, or immediately after waking up. The feeling of physical discomfort, headaches, and a long-term lack of desire to attend training and do sports also indicate that I am not maintaining my work-life balance. Sometimes I feel like my hobbies don’t bring me joy, and I may experience a lack of communication or tension with friends and family.
To restore work-life balance, I follow a certain plan. First of all, you should find the reason why it happened. If this is a short-term stage of the increased workload associated with an emergency, and I know that it will end soon, I will try to change my attitude toward the situation and try not to think about work after hours. I will identify the most important activities in my personal life, such as sports, healthy eating, and sleep, and wait for a while until the situation at work is resolved. If the imbalance is not related to an emergency and can last for a long time, I will start by revising my work plans. I will determine the most important and urgent tasks and concentrate my working time on them. Then I will discuss the situation with my colleagues and delegate some of the responsibilities if possible. This will give me the time and opportunity to understand the cause, eliminate it, and think about how I can make my work more efficient. During non-working hours I will not spend time thinking about work but focus on rest and activities that help me to recover. I will also share the current situation with my family to restore the balance in communication and redistribute some responsibilities so that I have time to relax and re-create a work-life balance. All of this will help me get back to normal and work efficiently.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is not only important for health, relationships, and overall life satisfaction, but it can also boost productivity and results. The need for work-life balance is more important than ever. Especially given the unpredictable, often stressful work environment and the added blurring of work-life boundaries with many increasingly working from home. Work-life balance attitudes alter due to cultural, generational, and economic changes.
Bataineh, K. (2019). Impact of work-life balance, happiness at work, on employee performance. International Business Research, 12(2), 99-112. Web.
Gragnano, A., Simbula, S., & Miglioretti, M. (2020). Work–life balance: Weighing the importance of work–family and work–health balance. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(3), 907. Web.
Vyas, L. (2022). “New normal” at work in a post-COVID world: Work–life balance and labor markets. Policy and Society, 41(1), 155-167. Web.