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Written by Charlotte GraingerCharlotte Grainger

Burnout buster: expert tips to improve your work-life balance

7 min read
Burnout buster: expert tips to improve your work-life balance
Artwork by:Alexandra Shevchenko
All work and no play makes you a burned-out professional. Here’s how you can improve your work-life balance and get some much-needed “you” time.

Say no to endless stress and start living your best life again! 

Are you feeling stressed out? A massive 77% of Americans have experienced workplace burnout, according to a recent Deloitte survey. If you’re working around the clock and rarely getting the break you need, you could be putting your health at risk. Improving your work-life balance is the answer. In the following guide, we will be covering: 

  • What work-life balance means and why it matters
  • Tips on how to improve your overall work-life balance
  • Relevant research on how you can enhance your lifestyle.

What is a work-life balance?

The term “work-life balance” is thrown around a lot. But what does it mean? Put simply, it is about prioritizing both your home or social life and your work life. Rather than putting all of your energy into your job — and ultimately feeling burned out — this approach allows you to create a sense of balance that runs right through every aspect of your life. 

That’s the broad definition. As you may well know, it can be hard to have a good work-life balance. If you have a stressful or demanding job, making some time for yourself can be challenging. However, perfecting this skill is the foundation of your mental wellness. 

How do you improve your work-life balance? 

Do you feel as though things are out of whack? If you’re struggling to keep your head above water, you may need some advice to help you along the way. We’ve got you covered. Let’s take a look at seven straightforward tips to improve your work-life balance.

1. Prioritize your sleep schedule

How much rest do you get each night? Adults need seven or more hours of sleep to function well. If you’re neglecting this important part of your self-care, it’s no wonder you’re feeling burned out. Create a sleep schedule that works for your lifestyle and your body. 

2. Take a break from your inbox 

“Ding…” Another email just landed in your inbox. It’s the twentieth one of the day and your shoulders tense up as you hear the sound. Yes, chances are, your job involves a whole load of email correspondence. However, if you are looking for ways to improve your work-life balance, you may want to restrict the number of times you check your inbox.

Research from the University of British Columbia found that limiting your email activities to three times a day — rather than throughout the workday — was an easy way to reduce psychological stress. Pick a few time slots throughout the day to deal with pesky emails.

3. Quit being a perfectionist 

We should all take pride in our work. However, perfectionism can cause us to overthink, overwork, and fail to complete tasks. If that sounds familiar to you, it’s time to change tack. Realize that nothing will ever be 100% perfect. Instead, aim to create meaningful work that meets the criteria of the brief you have been given each time. 

4. Create a life outside of work 

Do you live to work… or work to live? If your entire existence revolves around your career, that can harm your mental wellness. Luckily, the solution is creating a bustling life outside of work. That may mean starting a new hobby, picking up a side hustle, or socializing regularly with your friends and family. Ensuring that you’re a busy bee when you’re not on the clock will enable you to handle the stresses of working life better than ever before. 

5. Learn how to say “no”

Calling all people-pleasers: here is the PSA you’ve been waiting for. You can say “no” from time to time. When your boss asks you to stay late for the fifth time in a row, you can tell them that your workday ends at 5 PM. If one of your coworkers asks you to help them on a project but you simply don’t have any spare time, you can explain that you’re busy. 

Learning how to value your own time and energy is one of the hardest lessons of all. However, when you start saying “no” to things that are not in your job description, it will make a huge difference in how you feel. This approach will help you to improve your work-life balance while also freeing up your working hours for your essential job tasks. 

6. Exercise, exercise, exercise 

Grab your running shoes and get moving. Having a poor work-life balance will lead to stress — but you knew that already. One of the ways that you can combat this problem is by working out. Another study from the University of British Columbia suggests that exercising three times a week for six months can lead to lower stress levels. Figure out what type of physical activity suits you and commit yourself to doing it. 

7. Switch off from work… literally 

When the workday comes to an end, do you mentally and physically “switch off”? If you’re still checking your work email on the way home or scheduling a call when you should be eating dinner, that’s a problem. Having some time away from your professional duties is essential if you want to create a work-life balance. Start setting firm boundaries when it comes to the times when you are at work and the times when you are not. 

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The takeaway 

  • Creating a solid work-life balance is a must. Put simply, it’s the foundation of your mental and physical well-being.
  • It’s important to make a clear distinction between your working life and your free time. That way, you can learn how to properly “switch off”.
  • Setting boundaries with your team and learning how to say “no” will make a big difference.
  • You don’t have to change your life overnight. Start by giving some of our simple tips a go and see where these small changes take you.
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