The real importance of work-life balance: 6 things you need to know
"Work to live" or "live to work"? Let's dive into the importance of work-life balance, including six reasons why you need to balance your work with the people and activities that you love.
People often say it is important to “work to live” rather than “live to work”. If you’ve never really unpacked that common phrase before, that’s what this article is about.
The importance of work-life balance is something that isn’t talked about enough in the modern world. Each human being is only on this gorgeous planet for a limited amount of time. To really make the most of your life, you want to spend time doing things you love with people you love.
The perfect life may look different to everyone, but ultimately, most people want to feel joy, love, fulfillment, peace, and happiness in their lives.
Working is important because, in the modern world, you need money to survive in most cases. Unless you live a completely self-sustainable life out in nature, you probably need to buy food, shelter, clothes, and other necessities. It is important to work, but it is also important to have a life outside of work.
This article will dive into six reasons why a work-life balance is essential. Even if you’re someone who loves their job and loves to work a lot, hopefully, this article will inspire you to take a closer look at your life. Try to create a life that doesn’t just make you money and allow you to survive, but also brings you happiness.
Why balance life and work?
In the modern world, it is much too common to see people who are overworked. It is easy to fall victim to “the hustle” and just work 40, 50, 60, or more hours per week.
Some people are lucky enough to work a job that brings them joy and fulfillment. But many people just have to work any job they can get to afford life. Whether you’re working a random job just for the paycheck, or you’re working in your dream job, you should always consider the importance of work-life balance.
Six reasons why work-life balance is important
Work is a huge part of life, but often when you’re looking back on the special moments that stood out to you the most, they don’t happen at work. They happen in beautiful places, or with your most loved people.
So don’t sacrifice the people and activities that you love in order to make money! Money comes and goes, but experiences and relationships live on in your memory forever.
Here are six specific reasons why a work-life balance is important.
1. You can prioritize mental health
Working too much can seriously affect your mental health. Even if you love your job, it is possible to feel pressured and overwhelmed to get things done.
Rest is essential. And rest doesn’t always have to be physical rest - it can refer to taking a mental break. Read, write, watch movies, listen to music, chat with loved ones, and just take your mind off of work sometimes.
Most people spend 40 hours a week or more thinking about work. If your mental health is suffering, it is important to let your mind rest and do other things besides work.
2. You can work on physical health
Physical health is another sacred part of a happy life. Everyone has different types of jobs that require different levels of physical activity. But no matter what your job is, check in with your body and make sure you are treating it right.
If you work a physically demanding job, make sure you take time off to rest, stretch, relax, and recuperate. If you work at a desk and you’re sitting all day long, make sure you take time to get outside and move your body in the sunshine.
Exercising and getting outside are great ways to stay healthy and practice self-care, which also can improve mental health. Having a work-life balance means you will have more time to tend to your physical health.
3. You can enjoy variety in your life
Most people in the world are complex individuals with a wide range of interests and skills. A full, happy life means you get to enjoy all the different things that interest you. There is so much to love in life, including nature, animals, food, music, art, film, books, travel, exercise, architecture, science, crafts, sports, and the list could go on and on.
Chances are, your job revolves around one or two specific things in life. Even if you’re passionate about your job, you may have other interests that bring you joy as well. Spend 40 hours a week focusing on your job, but make time for the other aspects of life that you love when you’re done with working.
Variety can make life so much richer and more exciting. Surround yourself with different types of people, art, food, and landscapes. Go traveling, or even try a Worldpackers work exchange!
Try volunteering and giving back to your community. Doing the same thing every day can get monotonous. You can grow so much as a person when you add variety to your life!
4. You can spend time on your hobbies
Similar to the last point, hobbies add variety to your life and they are so important for happiness. Some people are gifted at one particular skill, but most people’s skills and interests are varied and even if your job involves that one skill you are gifted in, maybe you have other passions that bring you joy.
A work-life balance allows you to have time to explore fun hobbies outside of what you’re skilled in. The beauty of hobbies is you don’t have to be great at them! You can just do them for fun.
Whether it be traveling, painting, playing an instrument, writing stories, playing sports, choreographing dances, singing, knitting, doing pottery, practicing yoga, baking, or any other activity, make time for it if it brings you joy!
5. You can nurture relationships
Unfortunately, a common side effect of working too much is the disintegrating of relationships. Whether it be a romantic partner, a family member, or a friend, relationships need to be nurtured.
It is much too common for adults to lose friends because they work too much. Even if you have a partner or kids who you live with, working too much can cause you to feel disconnected from those in the same house as you. Working is important to provide for yourself and your family. But having free time to spend with your loved ones is even more important.
Even if you have friends or family who have been in your life for a long time, you have to put in the effort to keep those relationships strong. Take holidays with your family. Take nights off to go out with your friends. Take days off for adventures with your partner.
Again, money comes and goes, but the people you love will be there for you forever. Make sure you prioritize them and cherish them.
6. You can feel more motivated to work
Another positive aspect of a good work-life balance is actually enjoying work more.
For most things in life, moderation is key. Doing too much of something can easily cause you to resent it. That can apply to almost anything in life, but it especially applies to work.
The average work week is 40 hours. It is important to enjoy the other hours in your week so that when it’s time to work again, you feel refreshed and energized.
Spending too much time at work can cause you to lose motivation, and it can even hurt your performance. Having free time to work on your mental health and physical health, and to enjoy your hobbies, passions, and relationships, is essential for a happy life.
When you take the time to work on those key aspects of life, you can actually perform better and work and everybody wins.
How to have a work-life balance
Now that we’ve discussed the reasons why a work-life balance is so important, you may be wondering how to actually implement it in your life. Cultivating the life you want is all about your goals and your actions.
Take some time to sit down, think about your goals, and think of ways to achieve them. Think about what makes you happy, and assess how much time you are currently taking for the people and activities that bring you joy. Also, think about how you could optimize your time so that you are living your life to its maximum potential.
Once you have clear goals, it’s time to take action.
Communication is key, especially when it comes to your job. Talk about work-life balance with your partner, your family, and your boss. With your boss, ensure you are discussing how both of you can benefit from a work-life balance. Make sure you are being paid fairly so you can afford to take time off. Look at your weekly budget and make sure you can afford to take time off as well.
Schedule times in your week for the activities you love. If you really want the best work life balance, dedicate some time to thinking about what you want, and then putting it into action.
Once you achieve the optimal work-life balance, you can really start living the life of your dreams.