work-life balance

Work-Life Balance & Mental Health

a man struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balanceHaving trouble with managing your work-life balance?

One minute you’re in college parties and having some of the best times of your life. Then, the next thing you know, you’re buried in work and your life revolves around your job. It’s not wrong. As they say, you need to strike while the iron is hot. So, if you are at the height of your career, it’s only reasonable to take full advantage of it.

However, sooner or later, you’ll realize that your life is out of balance. You barely have time for yourself and your family, let alone for friends. Suddenly, you’ll find that your great career and the money you are earning aren’t that rewarding anymore.

If you are in this situation right now, don’t think that you’re alone. Most of us experience the same dilemma of finding work-life balance between family, work, and friends. As a result, we develop different physical and mental health problems. Some of these problems include stress, fatigue, weight gain, depression, and insomnia. Worse than these, relationships tarnish because of the lack of time spent with one another. Whether it be with a partner, parents, siblings, or friends, the relationships that we once established get lost over time.

But it’s not too late to turn your life around. Finding work-life balance between family, work, and friends may be difficult, but it isn’t impossible. There are things that you can do to change what you are doing now little by little so you can enjoy your life once more.

Take a Breather – for Mental Health & Emotions Sake


The first thing that you may need to do for the sake of your mental health and emotional well being is to take a break from work.

You can’t assess what’s going on with your life if you won’t take a step back. Do it by filing a leave for a week or longer.

The time away from work will help take the pressure and stress away, so you can relax your mind for once. But that’s the important part. Make sure that when you’re on vacation, you will not think of anything related to work.

While on break, do something that you find enjoyable. It can be traveling, which many people are inclined to do in their free time. You can also revisit your old hobby; like painting, gardening, camping, playing an instrument, or running.

Trying something new can also be a good option. Why not learn a language or sports, join a dance class, enroll in a fitness gym, or try cooking some new recipes. Although these will require some effort from you, trying something new will help rediscover yourself and see life from a different perspective.

Most important of all, use your free time to reconnect with your family and old friends.

If you are a working parent, it’s a good chance to take rekindle the romance with your spouse and get to know your children better. Plan a vacation. Go to the countryside or rent a place near the lake. Make sure to do activities that will get you closer with each other.

Also, spend a day or arrange a dinner with your parents, siblings, and friends to catch up. Exchanging news about your lives, whether good or bad, will help everyone see the different situations in life. This is not to compare whose doing better than the others, but to learn from one another.

Evaluate Your Career Goals – Finances & Emotions in Work-Life Balance

Taking a breather from work, rediscovering yourself, and reconnecting with your family and friends will help you find perspective and evaluate your career goal. These are things that you missed by devoting most of your time to work, and the things that you’ll miss more when you continue the same old lifestyle.

What do you really want to accomplish by working hard? Do you want to give your family a good life? Maybe, you want to give yourself a bright future? Either of the two, you’re not really accomplishing your goal by dedicating most of your time to work.

A family needs so much more than money to have a good life. Love, care, closeness, attention, and affection will actually worth more to your family if given to them. You cannot do so by working overtime almost every day. And, if you’re thinking of giving yourself a brighter future by working for extra hours, then think again. Physical and emotional fatigue will not take you to the future that you dreamed of.

So, think again of the reason why you need to work. It will help you set your priorities right and focus your attention to those that really matter.

Family Time Doesn’t Have to Be a Mental Health Drain

parents taking time off from work to spend time with their family

This may be obvious, but there are things that you need to do consciously in order to make this truly happen.

First, don’t make phone calls or receive one. Don’t send any email and certainly refrain from doing any work-related stuff. Second, put your smartphone and gadgets down. Keep them away from you as much as possible. There are times for web surfing and social media engagement, but family time is not one of them.

Lastly, be with your family not just physically, but also mentally. Don’t let your mind wander to a report you haven’t finished or to a golf game you planned with friends. Your whole attention and focus should be with your family, nothing else. Through these, you’ll be able to spend quality times with your family and you’ll be able to make up for your previous shortcomings.

Decrease Your Working Hours for Better Mental Health 

Working overtime in the office, finishing a report at home, and doing extra jobs over the weekend are the things that you need to stop to start finding work-life balance between family, work, and friends. Sound impossible? Of course, it’s not. There many things that you can do and one of them is being efficient and productive when at work. Stop your unnecessary habits like chatting with coworkers, browsing different websites, and checking your social media accounts while working. These will help you finish your work early for sure.

Another way to reduce your working hours is delegating some of your tasks to other teammates. Being a hero and doing everything on your own will not do you any good. So ask for help whenever you need to. It will benefit, not only you but your whole team or department.

Lastly, if your current job is really taking a toll on your life, then don’t hesitate to quit and find a new company or career. Find a job that will give you shorter working hours. Not necessarily an easier work, but certainly something that you can handle without overextending yourself.

Emotional Boost: Make Time for Yourself and Your Friends

Creating time for friends is also important if you want work-life balance in your life. Friends are there to support you in times of need, so it’s only right to spend good times with them too. Invite them over for a Sunday lunch or schedule a hiking trip with them. Having a bottle or two once in a month is not a bad idea either. All of these will give you the fun that you need after a stressful week or month at work.

Most of all, don’t forget to give time to yourself. Take a day off at least once a month not to do anything but for your own well-being. You need this as a person because you can’t give anything unless you feel complete.

Finding work-life balance between family, work, and friends needs a great deal from you to happen. But once you do, all of your efforts will be rewarded. You’ll finally find happiness at work, with your family and friends, and within yourself.

Make Daily and Weekly Plans – Structure & Emotional Work-Life Balance

a mom planning her schedule to adjust her work-life balance

Even if you have shorter working hours, finding work-life balance between family, work, and friends will not happen if you won’t make plans. Allot time for different tasks when at work. Then, block out schedules for yourself, your family, and friends. Think ahead of the activities that you want to do. More importantly, don’t cancel the plans you make. Make these plans your priority. Soon enough, you’ll find that your life is starting to change.

Some of the best practices when it comes to planning include the following:

  • Take note of everything; from appointments and meetings to holidays and special occasions. Don’t forget to set reminders. Getting a planner or downloading useful apps like Todoist and Evernote will help you tremendously.
  • Find out which times of the day you are most productive. Then, do the important and hard tasks during these times.
  • Avoid multi-tasking. Concentrate on completing a task at hand before going to the next one. This will ensure that no errors will be made so you can finish your work early.
  • When working, avoid interruptions such as phone calls and emails, especially during your most productive hours. Assign a time of day for returning phone calls and replying to emails.
  • Arrive early at work so you can get a head start on your tasks. Leave your work at the same time every day.
  • Set schedules for your family and friends. Don’t cancel them for anything except emergencies.

Though some people feel more naturally inclined towards planning & structure than others, you may find that these activities are time well spent, and they can become your good friend in creative positive mental & emotional health.

Frequently Asked Questions

The term "work life balance" refers to how individuals manage their time spent at and outside of work. Work gets busy but life also gets busy - finding the perfect balance can be difficult. Time outside of work includes managing relationships with friends and family as well as making time for personal interests and hobbies.
Some common methods of improving work-life balance include:
  • Prioritizing what is most important and what requires more attention
  • Managing expectations - others and your own
  • Take care of your health (exercise, eat well, sleep enough)
  • Learn to say no and to take a break
  • Plan fun activities during your personal time
  • Get professional counselling and therapy help
A healthy work life balance is subjective to the individual and changes from one person to the next. Some common signs that you've found a healthy balance include: meeting work deadlines but also finding time for family and friends, maintaining an adequate sleep schedule, eating well, and not worrying about work when you're at home.
A health work life balance is important for a great work environment but also for your own physical and mental health. From a work perspective, it helps reduce stress, improves efficiency, and helps prevent burnout. Outside of work, it can improve the overall quality of your life. Maintaining healthy habits, spending time with family and friends, and pursuing personal interests can all have a significant impact on your mental and physical health.

Work-Life Balance Help with Capital Choice Counselling in Ottawa

If you are looking for professional therapy services in Ottawa to help you navigate work-life balance issues, we can help you get in touch with the right counselor. Contact us today.