Healthy Work-Life Balance: Make Time for Yourself and Your Needs

3 min read
Evidence based
Dainius Jakucionis, MD
By Dainius Jakucionis, MD Updated on 2024 Jan 23
sticky notes with work-life balanced on a scale

“It’s all about balance” is a common phrase when discussing healthy work-life balance. However, achieving it can be a challenging task for many. 

With the demands of work, social life, household responsibilities, and leisure, finding the time for everything can be difficult.

According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management, 81% of employees believe that work-life balance is essential. Still, only 24% feel satisfied with the balance between their work and personal life. 

This is especially true in today’s fast-paced and arduous job market.

The Benefits of a Healthy Work-Life Balance

A balanced lifestyle can help you meet your emotional and physical needs and prevent conditions such as burnout. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified a lack of work-life balance as one of the leading causes of stress and workplace burnout.

Improved overall health

A harmonious lifestyle can help prevent somatic symptoms caused by prolonged exposure to stress, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension and pain
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Poor sleep 

In addition, the balance between work and personal life can decrease feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, and depression. 

Burnout can change one’s outlook on life and make one feel detached and cynical toward most areas. Thus, you can improve your health and mindset by making time for your emotional and physical needs.

Increased productivity

When overworked, you may have trouble concentrating and taking in new information. That’s because of information overload – there’s only so much you can soak up without taking a break.

Detaching from work after your shift can improve your ability to focus on the tasks at hand and make fewer mistakes in the long run. We need time to rest and recharge to approach problems with a fresh outlook.

Moreover, maintaining a healthy work-life balance decreases procrastination and improves motivation, as we feel more energized and engaged with the assignments.

Working Toward a Healthier Work-Life Balance

While the benefits of a healthy work-life balance are remarkable when fending off burnout, some find it difficult to achieve. 

There are several steps that you can take to become more resilient to stress and fatigue.

Set clear boundaries

Setting boundaries is crucial for maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Many people may avoid setting boundaries for fear of appearing rude or uncooperative. 

However, having boundaries does not mean you cannot be helpful to others. Establish specific times when you will and will not be available, such as not taking on extra work outside your 9–5 PM shift. 

Don’t be afraid to say “no” when you already have enough on your plate or after working hours. By setting clear boundaries, you remind yourself and others that your time outside work is your own.

Invest time for self-care

Even in our free time, we can get caught up in work-related thoughts, but if this becomes constant, it can make it difficult to escape workplace stress. 

Focus on improving your sleep hygiene, investing time in hobbies, exercise, and socialization to help settle your thoughts. 

Mindfulness techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or journaling can be beneficial.

Have a support system

Building relationships with friends, family and even coworkers can provide a sense of support and relaxation. 

Surround yourself with people that care about you and make you feel comfortable. Having a shoulder to cry on or someone to talk to about the weather can be a game changer!

Remember to take breaks

It is recommended to take short 10–15-minute breaks every 90 minutes to stretch and rest your eyes. Use this time to relax your mind as well.

Use your breaks to walk around the block, do some grounding exercises, or call a friend – this will help you shift your focus toward your well-being instead of pondering work problems.

You will feel more energized and concentrated after giving yourself some time to detach from work.

A More Fulfilling Life

If you notice any symptoms of burnout, such as relentless fatigue, hopelessness, or cynicism, seek help and try to adjust your routine. Incorporate relaxation activities, set boundaries, and strive to live a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle.  

It’s not always easy to battle stress and stay positive in this demanding world. That’s why tools like the Sensa app exist – to help you achieve your best.

Dainius Jakucionis, MD

Dainius is a renowned psychotherapist, holding a Master’s Degree in Medicine and additional training in Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy.