1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace (14.7%) according to MHFA England. The current climate of today’s society after the COVID-19 pandemic and cost of living crisis has caused a lot of emotions, especially unsettlement, which affects the workplace. For most of us who will come across this blog post, starting off our careers in the corporate world at such a young age can feel daunting as we might not have people to relate to. I myself at times have found myself feeling overwhelmed due to not being exposed to such an environment (despite working from the age of 17)!
If anything, my journey to ensure that there is a balance between my job and life outside of my work is still an ongoing process. Working in corporate at such a young age can feel overwhelming, daunting, tiring, exhausting and everything all in one. There are days where it feels like you’re working non-stop (even outside of work hours). I’ve had my own individual experiences where I’ve stayed over my working hours, when I knew that my time was up and there was nothing to be done. In Western culture, it’s embedded to work 24/7.
It’s obviously unhealthy and it can affect us all in ways we may not realise - burnout, fatigue, etc. The list honestly goes on. Navigating how to mitigating those unhealthy things can be difficult when you don’t know where to start. I’ve yet to exactly master the art of having a healthy work life balance. In all honesty, it’s a rollercoaster, with loads of twists and turns. There are times where I have not exactly stuck to my word of having a ‘healthy’ work life balance. Things can get in the way, work included. Life can get in the way. Routine can get in the way. But it’s all about making sure you create a space for yourself that prevents you from experiencing frequent burn out.
As always, there are many schemes and programmes (EAP - Employee Assistance Programme) put in place at your chosen company for you to reach out and contact regarding your mental health and any other queries you may have.
Here are a few tips that can help you establish a healthy and manageable work life balance:
● Learn to say ‘no’ - not overworking yourself and knowing when to stop. This is something which at times I do struggle with. However, I believe a good workplace and work environment will give you the space to learn how to say no and establish boundaries.
● Take breaks as this will help reduce stress. At work, this includes stepping away from the screen, walking around the area surrounding my office and treating myself to a takeaway after work.
● Using your lunch break! I cannot stress enough how important this is. Admittedly, there will be times where your lunch break is short, but using your lunch break for the whole hour is essential to clearing your mind.
● Prioritising your health - this can be by limiting screen time, going on a walk, etc. Once again, this is helpful towards taking a break from your screen.
● Practice self-compassion. You work hard already, give yourself a break and switch off. Self-compassion is different for most people. It can look like binge watching your latest Netflix show, spending time with loved ones or investing in a hobby of yours.
Hopefully these tips are helpful to those reading. Remember that your job does not have to be your life. We are working to live, not living to work.
I am reminded of a quote, “We work for 8 hours and live for 4 hours.” Ask yourself this - do you want to be burnt out by the time you’re 25?