Achieving a healthy work-life balance seems like a consistent challenge. With the ability to be connected to your job at any moment (hello, gchat notifications!) it feels like the line between work and life is becoming more and more blurred.
For me, having time separate from work to spend time with friends, family and even work on my own passion projects are essential to my happiness. I find that whatever brings in my income (because I’m relying on it for so much of my life) genuinely feels like “work”, which inherently amplifies the less fun aspects of the job.
There was definitely a time where I had horrible work-life balance. I was stressed nearly all the time and you could often find me crying in the bathroom in my office (and now I always carry concealer in my bag!). It didn’t occur to me that I wasn’t spending time on the personal things I valued, which was bringing my overall happiness down. I always just thought I could ‘work hard and play hard’ and find the happiness: a formula that turned into burnout and stress.
You Are Not Fulfilling Your Values
I’ve always heard that you can live to your fullest by focusing on a value-focused life. This means that you need to understand your own values so you can make decisions and time based on what they are.
For me personally, I know that my office job may not align with my value (exercise, friends, family, etc). I imagine a lot of 20-somethings would feel the same. It would be nice if I could make a living being a fitness instructor or something, but I live in San Francisco – and I can’t afford that!
It took a lot of discipline on my end to ensure that I was filling my time outside of work with things that did align with my values, to ensure this was balanced on top of working a full-time job. If this sounds like you, try writing down 10 of your values. Give yourself days of the week or schedule in activities that align with those values, and you will start living a more intentional life.
You Are Always Stressed
If you are always stressed due to work, this may be a sign that you need to create boundaries and find more work-life balance. IMO, stress is one of the most dangerous things for our bodies! When I’m overly stressed, I always have physical repercussions, like terrible headaches.
If you’re feeling constantly stressed due to work, this is definitely a red flag that you need to find some emotional separation between work and life. Some of the most brilliant business people I’ve seen are able to stay nonemotional when it comes to business because they have this boundary in place.
It’s ok if this is you, it’s normal to feel the weight of work on your shoulders! Try asking yourself this question: What is actually stressing you out? Is it the amount of work you have? A difficult co-worker? Most importantly, is this something you can control/change? If not, you have to find a way to let go, stay nonemotional and not worry about it.
Try challenging any stressful or anxious thoughts about work. Remember that most likely, nothing drastic is going to happen from a cranky colleague or hard deadlines.
You Check Your Work Email Right When You Wake Up
Considering most of us have our alarms as our phones to wake up in the morning, it’s easy to check email and pings right away. That being said, always being connected to work can hinder your ability to have work-life balance – because your mind is always with work.
Try turning off your work notifications on your phone. Let the device that’s attached to your hip not also bring in challenges in terms of work-life balance!
Your Friends Say, “We Never See You, You Are Always Working!”
If the people closest to you are also noticing that you are always working, that’s a good indicator that it’s probably true. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle (and I applaud you for it!) but I would highly recommend still ensuring you are meeting your values.
For me, it helps to schedule your “balance”, because I often get caught up in work. Find time blocks and hold yourself accountable, use a planner or whatever it takes to force yourself to get into the habit of having balance.
Everyone deserves work-life balance. Use these red flags to solve any work-life balance challenges you are having!
Have you ever had to reassess this in your life? Tell us about it below!