Trying to restore your work/life balance is becoming increasingly difficult. With smartphones in our pockets alerting us to every email as it arrives and attempts to cram in just one more hour of overtime to qualify you for a promotion.
The difficulty lies in the paradox at the heart of the work/life balance: you need to work in order to rest and rest in order to work at your best. So when should you be working and when should you be resting? And what about those times that make both almost impossible?
Holiday days are easy to take off. It can be more difficult to justify taking days off for other reasons such as ill health or bereavement.
If you are not offered sick pay in your job, choosing to take a day off can affect your wallet as as well as your health. Lots of employees don’t take time off when they are sick. Preferring instead to come into work and spread their illness around. Workers feel that they aren’t sick enough, their workload is too great and they will only end up working longer hours when they are better to make up the time.
Before you decide what to do, consider a few things: if you don’t allow yourself recovery time, you could exacerbate your illness and take longer to recover; you should also consider everyone else in the office as common colds and flu are highly contagious and spread quickly.
If you are looking for a compromise, working from home could be the solution you need. You will be able to take more regular breaks and won’t be infecting everyone else but also won’t have the stress of returning to a mountain of work.
The vast majority of workers will experience a bereavement during their career and unfortunately, lots of workplaces don’t have a clear employee bereavement leave guide to help you through this difficult time.
It may be that for you, going into work will help you to keep busy. It is very common for people to take time off to grieve and then return later. Don’t feel pressured either way. It is advisable for you to get back to normality as soon as possible.Be aware that grief is a process and will take some people longer than others.
Your priority at this time is to return to a normal life, and this means that though your work/life balance will be off kilter for a short while, you will gradually restore it in your own time.
With the imbalance between work and life, many mental health issues are increasingly common and one in four of us will be affected by mental ill health during our lifetimes.
It is important that if you feel that you could be suffering with mental ill health that you tell someone about it. A close friend or family member is often the first port of call and they will be able to listen to your concerns and help you to decide what to do next.
For more serious issues, you must consult with a doctor to see what changes can be made to help you cope. Working is a fundamental aspect of most of our lives, but it is by no means the whole. Knowing how you can balance work and life, especially at these difficult times is paramount in feeling secure in your work as well as getting the help you need. Give yourself the time you need to be the best you can be at work and succeed on your own terms – this is what the work/life balance should really be about.