In today’s society, there is no shortage of tasks that can be demanding of your time. Juggling family obligations and managing a heavy workload is challenging enough without the added stress of the pandemic. 

The pursuit to “have it all” is something that many people face, and for some, it can have a negative impact on their mental or physical health. If you or anyone you know is struggling with a mental health disorder, know that you are not alone. More than 264 million people worldwide suffer from depression; it’s also the leading reason workers go on disability.

Experiencing occasional stress in the workplace is common regardless of your profession. However, when stress levels rise or become constant, it’s time to reevaluate the balance between your personal and professional life. It’s important to keep in mind that there is no “perfect” work-life balance; the main goal is to find what works best for you.

That being said, there are several ways you can be efficient with your time and more effectively prioritize your mental health to promote a healthier work-life balance.

As we continue to recognize Mental Health Awareness Month, we’ve outlined several tips for maintaining your health while still winning at work:

Navigating Your Professional Time 

Efficient time management is helpful to ensure more time for yourself. One-third of Americans work 45 hours or more per week and 9.7 million work more than 60 hours a week. 

Making the most of your scheduled work hours can help free up time for leisurely activities and self-care. Consider these workplace tips to increase your productivity and efficiency:

Utilize Project Management Tools

Invest in a time-tracking tool to better manage your work hours and productivity. Organize all of your daily tasks in one convenient location with one of these project management tools:

Set Manageable Goals

Setting daily, weekly, and monthly goals is important, but it’s even more important not to overload yourself. Don’t set unmanageable expectations. Start with small, easily achievable goals and work your way up.

Try using one of these goal-setting templates to get started.

Communicate With Your Team

When it comes to your mental health, communication is key — both inside and outside the workplace. Employees can experience an increase in morale, productivity, and commitment if they can effectively communicate with their coworkers. 

Consider using these free communication tools to quickly get in touch with your coworkers and make sure no important information is missed:

Delegate Tasks

If you find yourself saying, “There aren’t enough hours in the day” every workday, then you know it’s time for a change. Americans work 7.8% more hours a year than they did in 1979. What’s one way to alleviate some of those hours? Delegating to your fellow team members.

Know your limits and that it’s OK to ask for help when you have too much on your plate. Refer back to the communication tools and let your team know when you are overbooked. If you find yourself with multiple tasks due at once, communicate with your team to determine which tasks take priority. This way you can focus your energy on one project at a time, while ensuring your team members know your timeline.

Avoid Workplace Gossip

Workplace gossip can sometimes serve as a way to bond with your coworkers. However, in the long run, gossip can cause more stress than it alleviates. Several studies have found that workplace gossip can have negative effects on your mental health, including increased anxiety.

If your group messaging platform is blowing up with complaints and workplace gossip, turn off your notifications and do your best to keep the conversations professional. If your meeting runs long because a few team members decided to vent about coworkers, politely excuse yourself and work on a new project instead.

Set Your Schedule (and Stick to It)

One of the most critical aspects of a healthy work-life balance is establishing boundaries. As mentioned above, making more efficient use of your time during work hours will allow for more personal time to spend with family or for leisure activities.

However, these boundaries should still include a designated lunchtime as well as time for periodic breaks throughout the day when needed to give your mind time to rest between tasks. If you are finding yourself overwhelmed in the middle of the day, take 15 minutes to grab some water or a snack, take a quick walk, or meditate.

Need help creating an effective work-life daily schedule for yourself? Download our hourly schedule template to get started!

Navigating Your Personal Time

Working tirelessly without breaks can cause fatigue and can lead you to burn out more quickly. While self-care will not eliminate all of your stress and anxiety, it can give you a much-needed break from common workplace challenges and life stressors. 

To help, we’ve developed a few ideas to get you started on the right path to improving your mental health:

Make Time for “Me Time”

Taking some time for yourself to refresh and re-energize can allow you to think more clearly, be more productive, and build your self-esteem. Everyone deserves a break, which is why it’s important to set aside time each day to focus on yourself, even if it’s only 30 minutes.

Try some of these ideas to relax and recharge:

  • Take a Bubble Bath
  • Read a Few Chapters in Your Book
  • Try a New Recipe
  • Paint Your Nails or Toes
  • Meditate
  • Go for a Run
  • Take a Nap
  • Call a Friend
  • Paint
  • Use an Adult Coloring Book
  • Learn a New Dance
  • Write Letters to Loved Ones

Prioritize Your Physical Health

Exercising regularly can have a positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. Staying active can also help relieve stress, promote better sleep, boost your mood, and improve your memory.

Get up and move at least a few times a day. Try incorporating a quick morning walk or jog around the neighborhood, or do some jumping jacks and stretch throughout the day.

Check out our blog 10 Fun Ways to Stay Active With Your Family at Home for more fun ideas for the whole family to stay active.

Unplug After Hours

From checking emails at all hours to endlessly scrolling on your phone, too much screen time can take a serious toll on your mental health. 

Just as you set boundaries in your work-life, you should also set boundaries in your personal life. Make a rule not to check emails after your set work hours or to limit screen time after a certain hour.

Setting aside electronics a few hours before bed not only helps you mentally recharge but also helps improve your ability to fall into a deeper sleep at night. Establish an evening routine where you disconnect an hour before bed, and use this time for self-care or time with your family instead. 

Set a Simple To-Do List

Similar to the manageable goals you set for work, you’ll also want to create a personal to-do list. Jot down simple, easy-to-accomplish tasks for yourself on a daily or weekly basis. Remember not to set your expectations too high and give yourself some flexibility.

For example, if your task is to completely organize your closet, start by finding and donating 10 items of clothing you no longer need. Each week, you can add simple tasks until your entire closet is organized.

Get started with one of these printable to-do lists.

Focus on What Makes You Happy

Ultimately, it’s essential to prioritize your mental health by setting reasonable expectations and giving yourself some grace. You should also keep in mind that just because you have free time, doesn’t mean you have to fill that time in with work tasks or personal obligations.

Reap the benefits of better time management and your effective work-life balance by using that free time to focus on what makes you truly happy.

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