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The Secrets to Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Hands on either side of a wooden beam balancing on a wheel with a figuring in the center and blocks on both edges spelling life and work

The importance of balance was already present but can be ignored by some businesses. Long hours, too much work, and poor leadership are enough to push any employee to the edge. As we moved into a more remote and flexible working culture, the demand for an excellent work-life balance and an emphasized focus on mental health have become requirements for employees to either choose to work or stay at a business. Let’s put the reality of burnout and work-life balance into perspective with these stats gathered by

  • 77% of employees have experienced burnout at least once at their current jobs
  • 51% have experienced it more than once
  • 83% of workers say their personal relationships are negatively impacted by burnout
  • 57% of employees say poor work-life balance is a deal-breaker
  • Even though 78% of employees believe their employers are responsible for supporting their physical and mental well-being, only 42% offer their employees wellness programs
  • 31% of employees say that the lack of support or recognition from leaders was a large contributor to burnout

Taking Control Yourself

“Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management.” – Betsy Jacobson, Author

While it might not always feel like it, realistically we all have control of our professional future. From choosing a job you love and being firm with your boundaries, creating a harmonious work-life balance starts with you.

Creating Balance At Work

Set Boundaries

A lack of boundaries in the workplace can lead to consequences such as taking on the workload of others, getting caught up in personal drama or blurring the lines between personal and work hours. While it is not always possible to avoid all the drama, setting physical, mental, and emotional boundaries is a great first step to creating a better work-life balance. Here are some examples:

  • Physical Boundaries: saying no to working weekends, taking your sick/mental health days, not attending any work events after a certain time, or taking your lunch break without being disturbed.
  • Mental Boundaries: setting your working hours and sticking to them, declining unnecessary meetings, or not engaging in the work gossip.
  • Emotional Boundaries: communicating how you would like to give and receive feedback, not feeding into someone else’s bad mood, delegating work when necessary, or creating a schedule that prioritizes work-life balance.


Asking for help, being honest with your colleagues, and being open with your boss are all ways to avoid stress or reduce the risk of burnout at work. If you feel like you are in a bind or are stuck on a project, do not be afraid to ask for help. If you feel like your workload is unfair or beyond your pay grade, communicate this with your boss and go back to set firmer boundaries. Better communication can also give you different perspectives and solutions that might be needed to move forward on tasks.

Define Your Time

Flexibility with your schedule is a huge benefit now that businesses have gone remote, but this flexibility can also mean the line between work and personal time is often crossed. Be sure to be firm about what your work hours are, and avoid doing extra work, agreeing to overtime, or responding to work-related emails or phone calls when you are off.

Also, be sure to utilize your breaks. Working through breaks and avoiding any “me-time” at work can easily lead to burnout. Taking these breaks can help:

  1. Clear your head
  2. Give yourself time to evaluate your goals
  3. Increase productivity
  4. Help the mind refocus
  5. Improve creativity
  6. Lessen body aches and pain
  7. Boost engagement
  8. Reduce stress
  9. Improve mental health
  10. Help improve memory and retain information

Creating Balance At Home


While technology makes it easy to be constantly connected, we do not need to be available 24/7. Take a step back from technology if you are able to by taking time off from responding to texts or emails or stepping away from your phone or computer completely. Knowing when to disconnect can lead to improved energy levels, better sleep cycles, increased concentration, and an overall more positive mood.

Get Support

Getting support from friends or family can improve mental health and reduce stress by providing a healthy distraction, a way to vent about struggles without judgment, and overall social support. If you find yourself needing more support, feel constantly overwhelmed, or the stress is beginning to impact your mental health or day-to-day routine, it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional. See if your employer offers any employee assistance programs that can help connect you with a mental health professional.

Strive For a Healthy Lifestyle

Your overall physical, emotional, and mental health should always be a priority. It is important to stay active and treat your body well, especially if you have a job that keeps you at a desk for long hours. Exercise has benefits like reducing stress, depression, and anxiety, and boosting your immune system. Getting enough sleep is also important, overworking yourself and working long hours can lead to a noticeable decrease in productivity, career satisfaction, and overall performance. Other ways to help contribute to a healthier lifestyle include:

  • Drinking enough water
  • Reducing sitting/screen time
  • Opt for a standing desk if you can or use breaks as a time for movement
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Nurture your social relationships
  • Get outside when you can
  • Meditate
  • Give yourself physical and mental breaks when necessary

Leadership’s Role

Now while a large part of creating an ideal work-life balance falls on the individual, there are a variety of ways that employers can help too. With mental health and work-life balance being a deal-break for most workers, businesses that embrace and take the time to focus on creating this balance experiences benefits such as attracting the best talent, improving workplace culture, enhancing employee engagement, higher retention rates, boosting employee morale, and more. Leadership or management can implement changes such as:

  • Paid vacation time
  • Adequate amount of sick days/mental health days
  • Access to mental health services
  • Hiring enough employees to handle the workload or splitting the workload evenly
  • Offering flexible work schedules
  • Feedback or surveys: include questions about work culture, workload, work-life balance, etc.
  • Maternity/Paternity Leave
  • Child care services
  • Allowing remote work
  • Team-building exercises
  • Encouraging and having open communication
  • Ensuring employees take designated breaks
Stressed business woman putting her head in her hand