Best Ways to Achieve Work-Life Balance
Developing Life Balance
Your life balance shifts at different seasons of your life. Even more, it is really not possible to strike a perfect balance in your life. However, you can make the necessary adjustments if you find that your life is not reflecting your priorities and values.
Smart Recovery suggests several factors you need to honestly consider to move into a more balanced lifestyle. These involve:
- honestly evaluating whether or not you are living a balanced life;
- deciding whether you life is reflecting your true values and priorities;
- identifying the number of activities you are involved in;
- determining if the activities you are involved are truly important;
- evaluating the time you spend caring for yourself and others;
- determining the areas of your life that need more attention'
- considering dreams and desires that you have left on hold;
- identifying areas that need more or less attention, and,
- establishing the steps you need to make to move forward to a more balanced life.
When you take an honest inventory of your life, then, you need to show respect for each important part of it. Ensure that you are paying attention to your personal well-being through balancing aspects of your life such as your family, career, leisure, and spirituality.
Poll: Work-Life Balance
What is the most important segment for you in work-life balance?
Wisdom is your perspective on life, your sense of balance, your understanding of how the various parts and principles apply and relate to each other.— Steven R. Covey
Is Work-Life Balance Possible?
Achieving Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance is a person's ability to meet work and family commitments, in addition to other responsibilities and activities. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work explains that the three components that are necessary to achieve work-life balance are:
- time balance—equal time for work and family roles
- involvement balance—equal emotional involvement in work and family roles
- satisfaction balance—equal levels of satisfaction with work and family roles
Many people struggle to satisfy the demands of work and the family. This could lead to work-family conflict resulting in negative impact on personal well-being including poor mental and physical health, reduction in life satisfaction, emotional exhaustion, and increased anxiety and depression.
This hub discussess five steps that could help you to make adjustments to attain healthy balance in your life.
Promote Your Physical Health
An essential aspect of life balance is taking care of yourself, and this includes, getting proper diet, and adequate rest and relaxation.
- Eat balanced meals. Ensure that you have the right balance of several types of foods including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. A balanced diet gives your body the nutrition to work properly to attain the priorities in your life.
- Exercise regularly. This helps to control your weight by helping you to burn calories. Exercise also helps to combat health problems and improve your mood. Being physically active keeps you alert and helps to relieve your stress. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate activity such as brisk walking or cycling each day.
- Rest, sleep, and relax. Rest is a time to cease work and exertion to restore and revitalize your body. Adequate sleep helps your brain to work properly and improves learning. Relaxation activities such as, deep breathing and muscle relaxation, relieve stress. Take time to practice deep breathing exercises in a quiet and comfortable place. You may also stretch different muscles, then relax them, to relieve tension.
- Enjoy hobbies and recreation. Your involvement in leisure activities reduces stress and improve your mental health. Hobbies provide a break from work and responsibilities, where you spend your time doing something meaningful while you are having fun.
Take Charge of Your Mental Health
Your physical and mental well-being are closely related. Mental well-being reflects how you are feeling and how well you cope in your daily life. You can take charge of your mental health by taking the following steps:
- Accepting yourself which includes recognizing your strengths, abilities and talents, as well as your weaknesses.
- Learning to express your feelings in healthy ways. As you talk about your feelings, they become less overwhelming
- Practicing self-discipline which means making the right choice even when you don't feel like doing it
- Maintaining a positive outlook. Pay attention to your internal dialogue or self-talk as positive self-talk (what you say to yourself) produces positive feelings and behaviors.
Steven R. Covey in his book, Life Matters: Creating a Dynamic Balance of Work, Family, Time and Money, explains, ". . . the challenge . . . is to succeed in all of these four life areas—work, family, time and money—and to develop the wisdom to synergically balance the four. . . . " He suggests that you make a personal evaluation to assess how you feel about these important elements of your life.
Set Priorities for Your Life
Your priorities and goals must be anchored in your life's mission, that is, what you want out of life. Your life's mission will reflect your values, interests and skills.This means focusing on the things that you value and striving to give them the attention they deserve.
Determine what your priorities are and set specific goals to achieve your mission in life. Learn how to balance different goals and priorities of your life. Review them on a regular basis, for example monthly, and make changes where necessary.
Keeping focus on your priorities could mean setting boundaries based on your values and what is important to you. While there are competing factors for your time, you will need to set tasks for each day, and stick to them as much as possible.
Are you satisfied with the way you are spending your time now? If you are a people-pleaser, this could cause you to take on too much responsibility leading to a life that is out of balance.
Spend Time With Family and Friends
You've heard it said, "no man is an island." We all need relationships, as it is within these relationships that we gain a sense of belonging and acceptance. Take time to develop strong relationships in you immediate family, on the job, and in the wider community.
Promote honest communication where you actively listen to others. Through active listening, you gain better understanding of the people you interact with. This leads to bonds of friendships that could help you to weather storms of adversity.
You can experience mutual support and encouragement, when you lend support in times of distress, and celebrate successes in times of promotion. The quality of your relationships indicates the level of balance in your life
Spend time with your family and enjoy activities together. For example, set a date night with your spouse each week. Try not to take home work that could interfere with the time you spend with your family.
Plan time with your children, where you can listen to them and get a sense of what they are interested in to give them the support they need. Things will not always go as you plan, but you must be willing to adapt to changing circumstances.
Pay Attention to Your Spirituality
You are not just a physical being, you possess a spiritual self that needs more than material things to satisfy it. It is your spirit that relates to God, and God created you to be in a relationship with him.
You can only achieve genuine balance in you life as you relate to God through your spirit. Take time to converse with God in prayer and meditation on his Word daily.
Make God the focus of your life, it is from this position of placing God first in your life, that you experience truly enriching relationships with others, and enhanced physical and mental well-being.
Through God's power, you can bounce back in times of adversity. More importantly, you can move forward in a life's mission that is purposeful, and at the same time experience life balance.
Summary of Interventions to Get Your Life in Balance
Promote physical health
Builds healthy body, keeps you alert, relieves stress
Improve mental well-being
Accepts self, practices self-discipline, maintains a positive outlook
Set priorities for your life
Charts life's mission, values, and interests for personal satisfaction
Share mutual support and encouragement, promotes a sense of belonging
Attend to spirituality
Core of true life balance, develops resilience to bounce back in hard times
Moving Forward: Getting Your Life in Balance
Maintaining life balance involves all areas of your life. However, there areas that take priority based on your values and your life's mission.
You are the one who will need to make the appropriate decisions based on to things that are important you. It is up to you to determine what a balanced life looks like.
Maintain your enthusiasm for life and what you do, try to reduce work-life conflict, and stimulate your creative energies and zest for life. Maintaining life balance is a continuing process.
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (n.d). Family issues and work-life balance. Accessed August 23, 2915.
Healthline (2012), Balanced diet. Accessed August 25, 2015
Stupart, Y. (2014). 12 great ways to take charge of your mental health. Accessed August 24, 2015.
Smart Recovery (n.d.). Lifestyle balance pie worksheet. Accessed August 23, 2014.