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May 1, 2023

The Importance of Work-Life Balance for Mental Health: A Guide to Choosing A Career

Work-life balance is a term coined in the 1800s when people started experiencing unbalanced work expectations during the manufacturing age.

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What is Work Life Balance?

Work life balance is a term coined many years ago back to the 1800s when men, women and children were involved in unbalanced work expectations during the manufacturing age. According to in 1938 the Fair Labor Standards Act was implemented; however, depending on your job title, you may have not been so lucky to embrace a work-life balance.  As you can see, this topic is not a new discussion, yet many of us still haven't found a solution to achieve work-life balance. What’s more, mental health decline is at an all-time high due to lack of separation from everyday work tasks as our work worlds and home environments become intermingled. Ever checked your work email during dinnertime with the family? Do you respond to work related questions from direct reports or peers during down time? Do you attend work related functions on your day off? If you do any of these activities or more not mentioned, it may be time to re-evaluate your work-life balance for your mental health.

Why is Work-Life Balance Important to Mental Health?

Work-life balance is important for your mental health because quite simply, you need a break. Your brain is not designed to function consistently without meaningful breaks in intensity and focus. In other words, you need time to decompress, rejuvenate and prepare for the next activity whether it’s work related or finding enjoyment in your life.  Neurologically, your brain works best when it has ample sleep, nutritious foods in your diet and time away from daily stressors. Consider all the activities in life that contribute to making you feel drained- if work is one of them then it’s high time to start planning actions that you can take today to remove that draining feeling. Additionally, finding a career that supports your quest to achieve a work-life balance is a great way to invest in self-care. Go on, you deserve it!

What Can You Do to Achieve Work-Life Balance in Your Career?

Achieving work-life balance in your career may take some maneuvering but it is worth the effort. If you have a job that you enjoy you should talk with your manager to chart out a path to help you balance your work expectations. During your regular one on one sessions, outline the areas where you could use some assistance and be ready to provide suggestions. If you are unsatisfied with your career, it may be time to start your search for a new role that will help you find a better balance. Be intentional with your job search and look for opportunities that outline what type of work environment you work in, what hours you should expect and what type of schedule is typical. There are many work from home jobs on the market these days, try looking into all of the great work from home roles by doing a simple search on sites like LinkedIn. SkillUp’s free career coaching can help you sort out your career game plan while supporting your goals to achieve a much-needed work-life balance. The key is to identify how you feel and what you want to accomplish. Finally, check out these resources available to help you towards achieving a work-life balance that you deserve. 

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