7 Ways to Get the Work-Life Balance You Deserve

In today’s fast-paced world, work-life balance can be hard to come by. But work and life balance isn’t just a luxury—it’s essential for well-being. You deserve to have a life with space for both professional and personal pursuits. If you’re struggling to balance work and life, read on to learn small steps to improve work-life balance that can bring big changes. 

What is work-life balance?

A good work-life balance is finding just the right mix of career, family, hobbies, and self-care. It might mean leaving the office on time to catch your kid’s soccer game, setting aside time for a hobby, or prioritizing loved ones over checking emails after work hours. While it’s difficult for many of us to completely separate work from our personal lives, a healthy work-life balance means we manage them so that one complements the other without overshadowing the other one.

Signs of poor work-life balance

Do you wake up exhausted, dreading the day? Are you constantly distracted by deadlines and unfinished tasks? At the end of the workday, are you too drained to enjoy yourself? Here are some signs you have an unhealthy work-life balance.

Work-life boundaries blur

Your workday often stretches into the evenings and weekends. Maybe you scroll through work emails at dinner or take calls during family or personal time.

Your body sends signals 

Headaches, fatigue, or sleepless nights are frequent visitors.

Self-care takes a backseat 

Hobbies or activities you used to love fall by the wayside while work demands most of your attention. You skip workouts or neglect time for yourself because work comes first.

Switching off is a struggle

You feel guilty for taking breaks or PTO. Even when you’re away from work, your mind is crowded with thoughts of pending tasks.

You miss important moments

You often miss family gatherings or milestones because of work.

You’re still behind 

Despite putting in endless hours you still feel like you’re treading water and not satisfying all your work responsibilities.

Recognizing these signs of poor work-life balance is the first step to a healthy work-life balance. The next step is making space for the things that matter to you.

How to improve work-life balance

Organizations can promote work-life balance through a healthy company culture, realistic expectations, and mental health support, but you can take charge of your work and life balance with a few changes as well. Here are some work-life balance examples:

#1 Unplug

When you know the importance of work-life balance you give yourself the green light to use your PTO throughout the year and take short breaks during your workday. Even a brief walk outside can recharge your batteries and kickstart your creativity. Research shows taking breaks every 50 to 90 minutes is ideal.

#2 Avoid multitasking

Do you find yourself juggling a dozen things at once, but feel like nothing’s really getting done? Well, turns out, our brains aren’t wired for multitasking—they’re more like “task switchers,” and even that’s not their strong suit. You’ll get work done faster and more efficiently if you focus on one thing at a time.

#3 Reconnect with your values

When life starts feeling like a whirlwind of responsibilities, anchor yourself in what truly matters to you. Whether that’s family, faith, community, or giving back, let your core values navigate chaos with clarity and purpose.

#4 Prioritize your well-being

Finding work-life balance isn’t just successfully checking off each item on your to-do list—it’s about prioritizing your health and happiness. Whether it’s squeezing in a workout or taking a moment for meditation, self-care practices can make you healthier and more productive. 

#5 Make time for fun

Think of the lightness in your life—your hobbies, loved ones, activities, moments of pure relaxation. They’re not just pleasant distractions; they recharge your mind and prepare you to tackle another day with a fresh perspective. Carve out time for these.

#6 Accept imperfection

Keep in mind that there’s no “perfect” life-work balance. Some days you’ll have more work or home responsibilities than others, and sometimes you’ll question whether you prioritized everything right. Embrace the imperfections and uncertainties, knowing they’re normal.

#7 Reach out for support

Tell your manager if you’re struggling with challenges like your schedule, workload, or mental health. That way, you can develop a plan that takes into account your needs and prevents burnout, which can affect your personal life and productivity. Your manager may also be able to point you to company mental health resources like Lyra Health that can connect you to a therapist or mental health coach.

Work-life Integration

Keeping work and personal life separate isn’t the goal for everyone and often it’s downright impossible. Some people aim for work-life integration, with blended lines between work and personal time. For example, you may tackle household chores while on a conference call or opt to leave the office early to catch up on emails from home to be with your kids. The key to work-life integration is being clear on boundaries like when you will and won’t work or respond to requests after hours.

You deserve work-life harmony

Finding the right work and life balance is an ongoing juggling act, and it’s OK to stumble along the way. Keep moving forward with compassion for yourself, knowing that progress, not perfection, is the goal.

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About the reviewer
Keren Wasserman

Keren is the organizational development program manager on the workforce transformation team at Lyra Health. Keren has a master's degree in social work from the University of Chicago and has worked as a management consultant focused on large-scale change management implementations. She lives in Seattle where she spends her free time hiking, soaking up the PNW's most glorious mountain views.

Clinically reviewed by
Keren Wasserman
Organizational Development Program Manager
By The Lyra Team
2 of April 2024 - 4 min read
Mental health at work
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