Finding Balance: 5 Tips to Help You Achieve Work-Life Balance

work life balance

We hear it every day—work-life balance. But what is it? It’s defined as a state of equilibrium between an employee’s primary priorities of their job and their private life. In today’s busy world where most people are juggling a career and raising a family, finding this equilibrium can seem impossible.

Amber Olson, LCSW, Memorial Counseling Associates, suggests these five tips to help you balance the see-saw of life.

  1. Set priorities. Figure out what’s important to you and act accordingly. Priorities differ just like people do. If family is your first priority, then make sure they are at the top of your list. For example, if you want to watch your kid’s first steps, structure your life so you can be there for them.
  2. Set boundaries and stick to them.
    It’s important for you to define and protect your boundaries so you can stay true to your values and priorities. When your balance is out of sync, stress levels can increase, which may lead to anxiety, depression and other health issues. No matter how busy you are at work, make an effort to leave work at closing time. When possible, unplug from technology—lap top, cell phones and tablets—when you are at home. Think before you take on another project or volunteer your time. Ask yourself questions like, “Can I really manage this right now?” Be honest with yourself; then, practice saying “no” in a way that feels comfortable to you.
  3. Set an action plan.
    Once you figure out your priorities and identify boundaries, it’s time to make an action plan so you can have the life you want. For example, you may want to look for another career or job at a lower pay rate so you can go to your kid’s ball games and work regular hours. It could also mean removing unnecessary expenses such as cable, eating out and impulse shopping.
  4. Take care of yourself. You need to make yourself a priority. Work on building time into your schedule for an evening run, massage, or relaxing activity—and get some sleep. You need at least eight hours of sleep to function well.
  5. Remember “epitaph living.”
    Basically it means, if you were on your death bed, would the issue at work pop into your mind? Probably not. Often people think everything is critical, but in the big scheme of life, what really matters the most is health, family and friends.

Feeling out of sync? If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety or depression related to work-life balance, they could benefit from talking to a mental health professional.  Contact Memorial Behavioral Health at 217-788-4065.

Amber Olson, LCSW

Amber Olson, LCSW, is the lead behavioral health consultant of Memorial Counseling Associates.  She has worked in the field of behavioral health for 20 years and is currently seeing patients at Memorial Women’s Healthcare.  She is excited to be providing behavioral health services in a primary care setting.