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Work-Life Balance in the “New Normal”

Its common these days to intermingle our work and personal lives, especially with COVID-19 shifting many of our office cubicles right into our own homes. Where there used to be a solid line of clocking out of one space and commuting back to the other now lies a blurred boundary that we must navigate as best as we can. Balance can seem impossible to achieve when our professional and personal lives are mixing so regularly, but its important to maintain some sense of harmony to ensure we’re taking care of our mental wellness.

One of the biggest indicators that our work-life balance is out of sync is burnout. The World Health Organization describes burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”. It’s easy to recognize as symptoms could include physical and mental (sometimes emotional) exhaustion, trouble concentrating, and/or feeling distant or irritable with the tasks and responsibilities we used to enjoy.

If you or your team are starting to feel this way, its important to take a step back and think of ways to achieve a bit more balance:

  • Give yourself some credit and flexibility: If you feel like you’re not able to spend the same amount of time and attention on things as you used to, you’re probably right (and that’s not a bad thing)! We have shifted our lives around in a time of crisis, and in doing so, some things are bound to fall off our plates. Give yourself some flexibility to not be as “perfect” as you used to be, and don’t feel guilty if you need to let some things slide. Maybe this means taking on fewer small tasks to focus on a larger project at work, or cutting back on after work activities to focus on the ones that truly bring you joy and comfort.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for help: Recognizing that you need support is a huge accomplishment in itself, so don’t minimize that by not seeking the support you need. If you have reached your limit in terms of workload or stress, let your team know so you can work together to rebalance your schedule to something more manageable during this time.
  • Know your limits and set boundaries: This is especially important for managers, as they tend to take on a lot of their employee’s stress in addition to their own. You should always have an open-door policy with your staff, but you also need time to decompress from the day as well. Let the team know that you won’t be available after a certain time (this includes turning off your work phone and refraining from checking emails at night) in order to be more available to them during the day.

If you would like more resources surrounding work-life balance, we encourage you to reach out to your benefits contact to learn more about your Employer and Family Assistance program, which provides comprehensive and confidential resources on a wide range of topics relating to health and wellness.

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