In the Philippines, achieving a balanced professional and personal life has always been a struggle for several workers, even before the pandemic. Dedicating eight hours a day for work is not enough—there is also the added time during rush hours to consider.
Daily schedules are adjusted due to the nightmare struggle of being stuck in traffic. For some, renting or getting a temporary space near their offices is the solution. They go home to their families every weekend, every other week, once a month, or after a couple of months. For those who chose to allot their rent money for commuting and other expenses, the added hours of travel tend to eat away time for relaxation or time for the family.
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More than the situational hiccups, there is also the tendency of too much time dedicated to work, resulting in less mind relaxation and breather. Bringing home some of the work further contributes to associating work as a “negative” part of day-to-day life. Worse, this over-dedication coupled with unexpected stress coming from outside forces may lead to burnout.
The Current Work Life
Pandemic introduced the work-from-home as a helpful alternative for many companies in the country. While there are industries unfortunately put on hold, those who had the chance of bouncing back through remote working pushed through, although there were some challenges.
Hearing the words “work-from-home” at first sounded great for several employees. The set-up immediately implies extended hours indoors and avoiding the more-than-half-an-hour hectic traffic. At the same time, it also opens up possibilities for flexible work schedules. This ideally painted a situation of having longer hours for rest and dealing with work stress within the comfort of home. After the unforeseen extensions of quarantines, the disadvantages of work-from-home eventually began to surface and take their toll on most.
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Separating the work and home environment became a struggle as the surroundings looked essentially the same. Upgrades and renovations like creating home offices within the house greatly helped, but it isn’t as effective as the previous separation of having a different place for home and an office.
As it turns out, even with the once ideal work-from-home set-up, having a healthy work-life balance remains a struggle to achieve.
Importance of Work-Life Balance
Work-Life Balance is as common as “hello” for most employees because of two things: it is either they have it, or they badly want to have it. Trying to make quality time for self, family, and work seems next to impossible for most. There is always one thing that should be sacrificed and oftentimes, personal time gets the lower end.
The importance of work-life balance can be seen in its positive effects on a few aspects contributing to a person’s general satisfaction.
The effects of overworking may not present themselves in real-time, but the consequences of constant high-stress levels and lack of sleep and rest may show themselves in the worst time possible. Having little to no time in paying attention to physical and mental health may result in overlooking symptoms of serious health conditions.1 By having a better work-life balance, there is more time in focusing on the state of one’s body. More importantly, there is more time to rest, recharge, and bounce back from the high-stress levels.
Distinguishing professional life and personal life means a step closer to being satisfied with how one’s life is going. This results in high motivation, taking on tasks mindfully and efficiently. Taking breathers reduce stress and lessen “burnout” moments.
3. Social Life
Having the luxury to pay attention to one’s social life increases general satisfaction for a person. Immersing and growing relationships with other people positively affects the happiness and reduce the anxiety levels of a person. Taking time to develop social skills also greatly contributes to a person’s engagement within the workplace or environment, communicating effectively within their workmates.
Balancing the Work-Life Scale
Knowing the importance of a good work-life balance is certainly not enough. It is vital to know how to follow through, to know the must-dos when it comes to having a reasonable work-life balance. Of course, it is a given that achieving work-life balance means tapping major life decisions. But, it is helpful to keep in mind that there are simpler life habits and useful tips that can undoubtedly help in achieving a balanced work-life dynamic, whether it is a work-from-home set-up, or an on-site one.
1. Set boundaries
Avoiding a mix-up of work and personal lives is a useful habit to get used to. During personal time, it is better to let go of any work-related matters. The same goes when it comes to working hours, avoiding time spent on distractions unrelated to work. This helps in focusing on the present, resulting in a much more mindful self.
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Keeping a relaxed mind is essential, as it conditions the mind and stabilizes emotions. Taking time to meditate is one of the best ways to show care beyond physical health, but also in mental and emotional well-being.
3. Take short breaks
Taking short breaks from time to time lessens the chance of feeling drained when it comes to working. This comes in the form of doing some simple stretches, or standing up and walking about for at least 2 minutes.
4. Avoid self-pressure
Oftentimes, overworking tends to be a result of overachieving and putting too much pressure on one’s self. Setting idealistic or unattainable daily goals tends to result in the exact opposite, the high-pressure causing stress in not being able to “meet” those goals.
5. Prioritize rest
Rest is not just about lying down and relaxing the body. It is also about getting enough sleep regularly and setting a routine to make the body more comfortable. Placing rest as one of the priorities when it comes to achieving balanced work-life dynamic results in being more comfortable to take on different responsibilities, and being able to focus more.
The Secret to Success
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Taking steps in changing life habits, balancing work and life, aiming job satisfaction—these all contribute to the one main goal almost everyone wants for their own lives: success. Success comes in different forms for people, but ultimately, it still boils down to the question of whether or not they feel satisfied with what they achieved.
Prioritizing a healthier work-life balance and applying an open and boundless mindset on every life aspect are among the main ingredients on how to be successful.