The Importance of Work-Life Balance and Mental Health Days
For many of us, the pandemic forever changed the way we work. With our offices now at home, it is impossible not to bring our work home with us. Plus, thanks to ever-improving technology, it’s easy to be connected to our jobs 24/7, which greatly impacts time spent with family and friends.
The holidays often make our schedules even trickier. Trying to squeeze party planning, gift shopping, and meal preparation into an already-packed day feels impossible. Two ways to combat this stress are to establish healthy boundaries in an effort to gain work-life balance and to take a mental health day.
Establishing Healthy Boundaries for Work-Life Balance
If you feel like you’re struggling when it comes to work-life balance, know you’re not alone! 66 percent of full-time employees feel like they need to make positive changes in this area. If you’re one of them, consider these three tips to help you achieve better work-life balance in the new year.
Set limits: One way to maintain clear boundaries is to set realistic expectations for each day. Give yourself enough time to complete those must-do tasks, and don’t stretch yourself too thin. If possible, block out a certain time of day to respond to emails and schedule calls. Respect the end of your work day and transition into “home life” with a change of clothes or a family walk.
Focus on what matters most: As we enter into 2022, it’s the perfect time to reevaluate your priorities, both at work and at home. Don’t feel like you have to do everything — it’s okay to say no! If needed, talk to your employer or your spouse about shifting your responsibilities at work or home. When you quit accepting projects and tasks due to obligation or guilt, you’ll have more time for meaningful activities that make you truly happy.
Develop a support system: It’s important that you feel supported as you handle your many responsibilities. At work, find a co-worker who can cover for you (and vice versa) if needed. At home, don’t be afraid to ask for help! If you’re working late, ask a family member or friend to take the kids for a few hours. Along the same lines, recognize when you need professional help. If your life feels too chaotic to manage on your own, find a therapist who can teach you valuable life skills and coping mechanisms.
How A Mental Health Day Can Help
Speaking of your mental health, it’s okay to allow yourself a break from daily stressors. When you reach this point, take a mental health day. Put simply, a mental health day is time away from work, school, and other responsibilities. It’s an opportunity to rest and regroup. This break may help you avoid burnout or prevent other mental health issues that negatively impact your ability to focus. It may give you just the reset you need!
A mental health day also gives you a chance to practice some essential self-care. You can spend it however you see fit! Take a warm bath or go for a long walk. Schedule an appointment with a doctor or therapist, a task that may be difficult to fit into your usual schedule. Spend time alone or connect with an old friend. Enjoy an afternoon at the park with your kids. There are no guidelines for what you can do, as long as it serves the purpose of helping you meet your mental health needs.
If you want to be your best self, you have to focus on your own needs. Take this opportunity to heal from a past difficulty or cope with a current challenge. If you pause and re-energize your commitment to your job and your family, you’ll notice a positive change in both your attitude and quality of work.
Reach out to Dr. Kelli Malkasian, PsyD, CEDS at Coral Reef Counseling, and schedule a free consultation or telehealth appointment today.