Health and wellbeing blogs

Achieving work-life balance

With constant demands to meet work schedules while simultaneously juggling priorities at home – achieving work-life balance can seem like a far-fetched and unattainable goal for many – leaving us feeling burdened and frustrated. Social Outreach Director Community Mental Health Services, Anna-Marie Thompson, highlights the importance of striving to achieve work-life balance in our everyday lives.
Achieving work-life balance

What is work-life balance and why is it important?

Work-life balance means something different to everyone, but it is an important aspect of a healthy work environment. Work-life balance is essentially meaningful daily achievement and enjoyment in all aspects of your life: work, family, friends and self.

Achieving this balance of achievement and enjoyment across each aspect of your life is important because it helps reduce stress and helps prevent burnout in the workplace which can impact personal relationships, physical and psychological health and overall enjoyment of life.

How to achieve work-life balance?

Job insecurity and financial burden are contributors to people taking on too much. It is vital to find a way to separate from your work day so that when you get home you can focus on other aspect.

Sometimes this is as simple as having a shower or bath, massage, going for a run or walk, taking the dog for a walk, catching up with friends or cooking a nutritious meal.

Be able to identify your triggers and when you need a break. Engaging in and cultivating a healthy workplace culture, doing things like eating lunch with other people, going for a lunch time walk, finding social connection through sport or shared interests with friends and family.

Understanding what you can achieve on any given day or week and being able to ask for help from a colleague or your manager when you feel overwhelmed. A few activities to consider include:

  • listening to music or a podcast during your commute
  • staying off the phone after hours
  • utilising annual leave and planning for it

Organisations can also play their part in fostering healthy working environments by providing opportunities for professional growth and social connection.

Sharing the workload

Sometimes people wrongly assume that they can’t share their workload with others, or there is a sense of reactive urgency around getting things done. Planning your day and using the right tools to manage time can be very effective.

In busy environments it is important to know when you can get support from others. We can help each other by reaching out and offering to take a load off someone when they are stretched.

Getting the right support

Striving for work-life balance is about understanding that each of us exists outside of our work environment and no matter who you are or what your role is, we all have challenges and responsibility and need to encourage and support each other to wind down and work towards a healthier balance.

Our St John of God Community Mental Health Services provide a range of mental health and wellbeing services to meet the needs of people with mental health issues. Our services provide tailored low-cost or no-cost therapy, counselling and strategies that help vulnerable people in Victoria and Western Australia turn their life around.

Anna-Marie Thompson
Anna-Marie Thompson Social Outreach Community Mental Health Services and Youth Services Director

About the Author

Anna is the St John of God Social Outreach Community Mental Health Services and Youth Services Director. She has been working in mental health since 1988. She has worked across the continuum of care from acute to residential, including portfolios which include aged care, sub acute care and alcohol and other drugs services.She has held senior leadership positions in both private and public health sector. She is passionate about partnering with consumers to inform service delivery and has a strong interest in creating workplace culture that support people to do their best work.