The phrase "work-life balance" has become quite the phrase since the beginning of the pandemic, where many people have worked from home for the better part of a year. But amongst all the talk of remote working and finding the right "work-life" balance, have we been trying to achieve it all wrong? BBC Worklife recommends we think of it as a "lifelong process" instead of a goal, per se, and that it "requires vigilance, self-awareness and timely tweaks." Simply splitting up the day into work and life chunks often doesn't pay off as stress could trickle in. It is not as simple as splitting your days into 50% work and 50% personal life, especially when there are no constraints or rigorous routines to follow. Stress seeps in when trying to maintain a "work-life balance", mainly in part due to the constant fear of thinking that you must be working, or that the email you just received needs to be replied to immediately, or the task you have been set is a top priority and lunch can wait. Naturally, we look towards our work objectives with more priority when we are sat within the confines of our own four walls, especially when there is no natural coffee break or lunch break with your colleagues.
So, how can we really maintain a healthy work life balance?
Experts suggest taking stock with these five steps:
- Figure out the root of stress
- Home in on emotions brought on by this stress
- Consider alternatives
- Make a change
The problem is that we often tell ourselves: “’I’m going to put in eight hours’ worth of work, and then I’m going to put in eight hours’ worth of me time, which will include my family, my hobbies, my workout, my everything’,” says Anat Lechner, clinical associate professor of management at New York University. “I don’t think it’s such a simple formula.”