Whether working at home, returning to an office or job site, or somewhere in between, the professional environment is continually evolving. When the line between career and home life becomes blurred, some people may find themselves working in lieu of taking a lunch break or into the evening. For some, working longer hours can become a normal daily routine—even something to take pride in. Allowing work to intersect with personal time may be unsustainable and start to cause stress which can have a negative impact on mood, resiliency, and mental wellness.
It’s important to balance working hours with a meaningful personal life, including self-care, family and friends, and the things you enjoy. Finding balance can sometimes be elusive and may require checking in with yourself to better manage your time.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
When work and home life overlap, it is normal to feel overwhelmed, stress, and burnout. Be honest with yourself and acknowledge your feelings when it comes to splitting time between work and non-working hours. Then, consider the main stressors or activities in your day-to-day that you can reduce, even temporarily.
Determine What’s Important to You
You may find a greater sense of accomplishment, balance, and general mental wellness by pursuing the things that are most essential to your needs. Take a moment to ask yourself: what do you care about most and what may be taking time away from it? What can you change, limit, or avoid altogether? Certain responsibilities, projects, and obligations are likely more important, yet others may be optional. While it can be difficult to let go, reclaiming time for things that bring you joy can help improve the quality of your time away from work.
Make Time for Yourself
If your employer is flexible, you may be able to find opportunities throughout the workday for more personal time. By starting work a little earlier, you might request a longer lunch break or earlier end time to create space for a bike ride, yoga, or time with loved ones.
Set aside time each day to do something that reduces stress—consider exercising, meditating, socializing with friends and family, reading a book, cooking a meal, or participating in a hobby. Making time for yourself can bring feelings of fulfillment and improve focus at work.
Separating from Work
In some cases, finding a greater balance between work and home life is the ability to separate the two. If possible, remove your workstation from common family areas. Try to take full breaks away from your work area and end each day at the same time. Turn off work devices like cell phones and computers at the end of the day so you won’t be tempted to continue to check emails or other tasks.
Reach out for Support
Need help finding a work-life balance? Sutter Health Plus members can schedule a confidential, in-person or virtual visit with a participating behavioral health provider through U.S. Behavioral Health Plan, California by calling 855-202-0984 or visiting liveandworkwell.com. The site also offers a variety of stress management articles, videos, tools, and resources.
Through Sutter Health Plus, members also have access to the Health Coaching Program for stress management at no cost share. Members work one-on-one with a health coach by phone to uncover barriers to self-management, link behavior to personal values, and set goals to make healthier lifestyle choices. To enroll, call 844-987-6095 or visit the Health and Wellness site through the Member Portal.
By checking in with yourself, setting priorities, and reaching out for help when it’s needed, you can help find harmony between your personal and professional life.