The pressure of an increasingly demanding work culture in the UK is one of the biggest challenges to the mental health of the general public.
We have all experienced a rough 18 months as a result of the global pandemic, some more than others. To make matters worse, an increase in working hours has also had an impact on the lives of many, which is proving to be damaging to their mental well-being.
The Mental Health Foundation have shown concern in regards to a large group of people who have stated that they neglect various factors in their lives which make them resistant or resilient to mental health problems.
Work-related stress already takes 10.4 million working days per year.Mental Health Foundation.
A survey conducted in 2020 found the following:
- One third of employees feel unhappy with the amount of time that they are expected to devote to work.
- 40% of employees are neglecting other aspects of their lives due to work; which may increase their vulnerability to Mental Health conditions.
- Out of those who work long hours – 27% reported to feel increased levels of depression, 34% reported high levels of anxiety and 58% stated that they felt irritable.
- Two thirds of employees experienced a negative impact on their personal life. They reported a lack of personal development both physically and mentally as well as poor relationships and poor home life.
Some researchers argue that work-life balance is a ‘cycle, not an achievement.’
No life is ever perfect 100% of the time, it is normal for feelings of content to come and go, especially when it comes to work-life balance. Sometimes work is tougher than usual, sometimes our personal lives get hectic and that is okay. What is important is that we try and bounce back from the hard times and restore some balance again afterwards.
Some Tips for Work-Life Balance
- Stop checking work emails after working hours. This is just one example. The main point here is leaving work, at work! A lot of us make the mistake of bringing our work home with us, or simply not allowing ourselves to switch off and relax after a long day in the office.
- Ask yourself where your main source of stress is coming from and try to tackle it head on. This could mean making some personal changes, it could be changing things at work by speaking with your employer, or it could be looking for a new job altogether.
- Move away from your work environment when taking breaks. Even if this is a quick five minutes of fresh air! This can really help to give you the space that you need and the boost to help you through the rest of your day.
What is Work-Life Balance to You?
‘The division of ones time and focus between working and family or leisure activities.’ – Oxford Dictionary
‘The lifestyle that makes me happy, I had to re-evaluate my life to ensure that happened, and to do that I had to strip out everything that stood in the way of that.’ – Steward Bint –
‘Work life balance, to me, is setting boundaries so that work does not get in the way of you enjoying your free time.’ – M-J (STU Co-founder!)
‘Work life balance is different to many people depending what you class as enjoyment and achievement, for me it’s good to focus on work/education/exercise if there’s an end goal or you achieve something at the end of it but I will also take time aside to do the things that give me enjoyment’ – Jake Flynn (STU Developer!)
‘For me, work life balance is finding a nice combination between work and play. While working may be important to help pay the bills, having time for yourself, to relax, indulge in self-care and socialise with loved ones is equally as important.’ – Me (STU Founder!)