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Why Is It Important to Balance Work and Life?

Close-up Of A Businesswoman's Hand Covering Balance Between Life And Work On Seesaw

When you don’t find that equal balance between work life and home life, it can cause stress, anxiety, and even relationship and job issues. What kind of problems will you experience? Let’s take a look.

Your Health

When you live the life of a workaholic, it can affect your mental and physical health. You might notice minor things, like a few nights of insomnia or some irritability, but other harmful things are happening to your body when you’re not taking time for yourself.

Physical Effects

Stress is both a physical and a mental aspect of not having a work-life balance. It is that stress that may push you toward other physical health issues. Stress causes:

  • A compromised immune system: When your immune system isn’t running correctly you become more susceptible to illnesses, including the common cold. When you get sick, it can make it even more challenging to fulfill work and home duties.
  • Insomnia: Stress makes it difficult to sleep since it keeps you worrying about all of the things you need to do or the things you haven’t been doing.
  • An increased risk of heart disease: Stress is strainful on your heart, which increases your risk of stroke and heart attack.

Aside from stress, having an unbalanced work-life situation can be draining. It may make you tired, keep you from doing things you like to do, and it may even make you feel older than you are. Too little time for work may cause more hardship when you’re unable to afford doctor visits or other bills as well.

Mental Effects

The added stress also affects you mentally. Stress may lead to anxiety and irritability. Other psychological effects of an imbalance between work and life include mood swings and depression.

Depression may make it hard to live your life, though some people thrive on working their lives away (or they think they do anyway). It can still take a toll on you. You have no time for friends and family, which can lead to depression and feelings of isolation.

Working and not taking care of yourself or taking days off can lead to job burnout too. When work consumes your life, burnout is inevitable. Signs of burnout include:

  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Anger
  • High blood pressure
  • And all of the other things already discussed here.

Burnout happens when you take on too much at work, work more than you relax, when you’re taking on other people’s jobs, and even when you feel like you have no control in the workplace.

The flip side of all this can also cause problems. Some people put too little focus on their work life and would rather have fun. You may be living it up now, but at some point, it’s going to hit you that you’ve thrown away things that could have been good for you, like a raise or your job in general. Losing your job because of a lack of dedication may leave you unemployed for a while, which adds to your stress while you fight to pay bills and keep a roof over your head.

Your Relationships

Irritated couple having serious conversation
Iakov Filimonov/Shutterstock

Some of the mental and physical effects of an imbalance in work and life may cause problems in relationships, from work relationships to romantic ones. Not only that, but you may not spend as much time with the people that matter in your life, which can push them away and make them feel unwanted or unimportant.

Resentment form family members can happen when you don’t put enough focus on career and when you put too much emphasis on your job. That’s why you need to create that equal balance.

Your spouse or significant other is with you for a reason; they want to spend time with you. Don’t overlook them when you’re busy chasing your career dreams. Children may feel unwanted by a parent that spends more time working than they do at home, but they also need you to be working and earning money so they can have the things they need, like clothing and an education.

Your family isn’t the only group of people in your life affected when you are imbalanced. Your friends may feel like they see too much of you if you’re always slacking off, or they may feel like they never see you if you’re always working and never have time to get together.

Your Career

man at desk closing eyes and taking break from stress

Not everyone is more focused on career than life. If you enjoy your life too much and spend less time focusing on work, it may lead to work problems. When work isn’t a priority for you the work you do may show it, so you could be creating inferior products or selling less because you just don’t care.

If you experience burnout from working too much, you can become short-tempered with your work peers and even your boss.

Both of these scenarios may lead to disciplinary action, cut hours, and even job loss.

Four Quick Ways to Find More Balance

Group of friends sitting at wooden table playing a board game

Finding the right balance between work and life, which may be different for everyone, is only difficult if you make it that way. A few easy tips finding balance include:

  • Work when you’re at work: Don’t take home problems with you to work. Don’t spend work time messing around on social media or making plans for after work. Work while you’re at work and deal with the rest of the stuff after you punch out.
  • Don’t bring work home with you: Unless you work from home for a living, work has no place in your house. If you work from home, find balance by having set work hours and a specific area where you do your work.
  • Schedule some “me” time: You are the most critical part of this entire equation, so make sure you practice self-care. Yes, making time for family and work, and even friends, is essential, but without time to relax and just be with yourself you will quickly burn out.
  • Schedule time with friends and family: If you feel like you’re always too busy, don’t be afraid to schedule time with the people that matter in your life. Rather than spending too much time on you or your career, leave them no reason to resent you by taking time out each week for them.

Working is a normal part of life, but it doesn’t have to consume your life. Find balance and enjoy your job while still having fun with the people that matter when you’re not on the clock.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »
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