With 10th October being World Mental Health Day, DiversiTech Hub look at methods we can all use to promote a healthy work-life balance, which not only promotes well-being and decreases your exposure to stress, but also promotes productivity in the workplace.
Work and the workplace have a significant impact on the mental health of employees. Whatever you do for work can be instrumental in raising and maintaining your self-esteem and increasing your sense of purpose and satisfaction in life. Contributing to the world we live in makes us feel useful and part of a wider community. However, work can also sometimes feel like a burden and it can come at the expense of a balanced life.
The majority of diversity campaigns at the moment, centre around the need for a work-life balance, but tend to only focus on women and family life. The fact is that we all need a good work-life balance and working mothers are not alone in this. For example, although attitudes are changing, for men, the pressure to prioritize work over everything else - to bring home the bacon, to be a 'provider' - can be overwhelming.
So, what can you do to create balance and boundaries?
Regular Breaks: schedule them, give them a focus, but most importantly, take them!
Lunch: Take a proper lunch break, where you stop working. If you can, leave your work space, go for a walk, or consider eating lunch with colleagues or a friend.
Working Hours: Be clear on what your working hours are and stick to them, which means not only getting to work on time but also leaving on time as often as you can. If you work from home, the same applies, make a distinction from work and play. This can be difficult for those of you 'on call', so instead make a plan to properly occupy your downtime with a hobby or something you enjoy so that you have had downtime, as this provide huge benefits, not only to your mental health, but also your productivity when you return to work.
Work Space: If you work from home and don't have space for an office, create a work space where you only occupy during your working hours. Do not return to that space when youve finished working, turn off your computure and lighting there.
Mark the end of your working day: Doing something that really marks the transition out of work, such as reading a book on the train home, having a cup of tea, going for drinks with colleagues, going to the gym. Scheduling an after work activity of any kind really helps take your mind off work and the stresses that may bring.
Holidays: Take them. If you have a holiday allowance, use all of it. If you work for yourself, budget and plan for time off.
Parental leave: Be aware of your rights and what choices are available. Don't just follow the heard and regret missing out on your family milestones.
Making changes can be difficult at first, so build them up slowly.
Choose one of each of the above to implement at a time and start to re-educate colleagues in terms of their expectations.
Be realistic and know there will always be exceptions to the rules above, but don't let those exceptions become the norm.
Keep a journal of your self esteem and work achievements, you will start to track your happiness and productivity going up.
Ask for help, from your manager, colleagues, friends, family, whoever... having a support network of people to talk to is worth its weight in gold and will help you keep on track to making these positive changes.
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