Work-Life Balance, Working Too Much & The Impact on Our Mood
Anyone living in 2022 is likely familiar with the concept of work-life balance — precisely, the constant struggle to achieve it. Some even say that work-life balance is myth. It’s work-life INTEGRATION we should be aiming towards. Whatever you call it, the need for perspective when it comes to enjoying our LIFE and still doing good work is incredibly important.
It seems like we are always running out of time to finish work…. and then often have work on the brain when we are intending to be present with out gamily.
This “split energy” can take away time & focus from other vital areas of your life. And the more your work spills over, the more you can become stressed, exhausted, or short-tempered.
Studies have found that work-life balance is associated with your mood and overall well-being. This can be good or bad — depending on how well you can balance work and life.
What is work-life balance?
Work-life balance refers to the ability to simultaneously handle the demands of your work and personal life, including family, friends, and other personal responsibilities.
There’s no one way to achieve work-life balance, as it can mean differently to each person. However, achieving a work-life balance is not just about spending half your time at work and the other half outside of it.
Instead, work-life balance is managing your time and resources appropriately. It’s about having a sense of satisfaction and achievement at meeting the different demands of your work and personal life.
What is work-life conflict?
Work-life conflict arises when a person’s work responsibilities start to interfere with their personal life. This may cause a “spillover” when emotions, behaviors, and moods from work begin to flow into the personal domain.
For others, work-life conflict can be due to family demands and responsibilities that make it hard to meet one’s work requirements and responsibilities.
Common causes of work-life conflict
Here are some of the factors that make it hard to achieve a work-life balance.
- Working long hours or more than 50 hours per week
- Working during weekends and holidays
- Lack of autonomy and flexibility over the content of work
- Heavy workloads
- Overbearing supervisors
- Unsupportive coworkers and interpersonal conflicts at work
- Hostile or rigid work environments
- Job insecurity
- Lack of sick leave and paid time off
- Long commutes
Impact of work-life conflict on mood and wellbeing
Work-life imbalance not only takes time away from family and friends, but it can expose you to unhealthy levels of stress for prolonged periods.
In a 2021 survey by the American Psychological Association, 79% of employees reported work-related stress. Over half of the respondents experienced negative consequences of work-related stress, including fatigue, emotional exhaustion, difficulty focusing, and lack of energy or motivation.
Studies have found the experience of stress can lead to mood changes. Some people may become irritable, easily angered, agitated, or get very emotional. Others can respond by having a low mood, tense feelings, losing focus, and having very energy.
In addition, studies have found that chronic work stress is associated with mental health concerns.
Positive outcomes associated with work-life balance
Work-life balance is attained when there is harmony between the work and personal domains. When people have less stress at work and home, they report higher levels of happiness, productivity, and job satisfaction.
This, in turn, can positively influence their physical and emotional well-being. Those who enjoy a work-life balance also report a higher quality of life and increased work productivity.
How to create work-life balance
The push and pull between work and life will always be there. You will always have work deadlines to meet, and there is always a chance that it will spill over into your personal life.
Since chronic stress can negatively impact physical and emotional well-being, a conscious effort to achieve work-life balance is imperative.
Here are some helpful tips to get you started
1. Set boundaries
Start by not taking work home with you. You can also unplug to help take your mind off work when you get home. Turn off your work phone and avoid answering work emails.
Make sure you dedicate your off-hours to spending time with loved ones and taking a much-deserved rest. You can devote time to hobbies and other leisure activities that you enjoy.
2. Practice time management
Time management is crucial to achieving a work-life balance. Structuring your day can help increase productivity. It also helps cut out tasks that end up wasting your valuable time.
Having to-do lists also helps you see which tasks need to be prioritized. If you have urgent or time-sensitive tasks, schedule them on your most productive hours to improve efficiency.
3. Don’t be afraid to take breaks/leaves
Whether it’s just for the weekend or paid time off, taking breaks from work is essential. This is your opportunity to reset and recharge. Work demands may still be there when you get back, but you’ll have a much better mindset that can help you cope with stressful work situations.
If there are family-related emergencies or you’re not feeling well, don’t be afraid to take unpaid time off. Many of us worry about how taking time off would look to employers. However, working when your mind or body is not in good condition can be counterproductive and may worsen matters.
4. Adopt a healthy lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to combat job stress. Regular exercise not only keeps the body healthy, but it can also positively impact mental health. Getting enough sleep and practicing mindfulness meditation are also healthy habits that can help improve your mood and overall well-being.
Eating a healthy diet can also give your body the extra energy it needs to combat the negative effects of job stress. Since chronic stress can also wreak havoc on your gastrointestinal health, you might want to incorporate probiotic-rich foods or mood-boosting supplements to your diet.
5. Nurture relationships
Work is important, but don’t let it take away all of your time from your loved ones. Nurturing relationships is not only vital for work-life balance, but it is also an excellent self-care activity that helps combat stress and enhances your well-being.
It’s crucial to intentionally dedicate time to spend with your loved ones. It may be as simple as running errands together or supporting your partner (who has his or her own work-life conflicts) at the end of the day.
You can also exercise together and engage in hobbies or activities that the whole family will enjoy.
Enjoy your life and your work today
You now know the importance of work-life balance and how it can impact your mood and well-being. Too much work stress can cause us to become irritable or easily angered. Chronic stress can also lead to physical and psychological difficulties.
On the other hand, achieving a harmonious balance between work and life can make us feel happier, be more productive, and increase work satisfaction.
However, work-life balance will not just magically happen. It’s something that will require time and effort. You can always take small but intentional steps that lead to work-life balance. This includes setting boundaries at work, taking breaks, adopting a healthy lifestyle, and nurturing relationships.
At Lifted Naturals, we aim to help you discover natural ways to feel better and live healthier!