Life balance is more than work-life balance, it is a intricate art and science of making decisions on how we spend out time and energy, including how we include the many parts and facets of our lives, such as caring for our families, our friends, traveling, self-care and occasionally dabbling in our hobbies.
As working adults, we spend much of our adult life in quest of the perfect work-life balance. Yes, work consumes a significant part of our days, but there is a whole other aspect of who we are better known as life. (Source)
What Is Life Balance?
The term balance is somewhat subjective when used in partnership with the word life. The dictionary defines balance as “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.” “A condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.”
So, when you think of the phrase life balance, envision an ideal life framed within the foundation of stability – your stability.
How to Balance Work and Family Life?
Imagine a life in which you do not spend too much of it working, you do not spend too much time doting on your family, and you carve out time for yourself, seeing to your physical, mental, social, and emotional wellness.
Is it possible to, however, to truly achieve life balance? There are those who might challenge you on this theory given the demands of today’s buys and hectic world.
Life balance is about living within your space of harmony wrapped within a blanket of peace. In simple terms, life balance is your personal definition of life balance. What works for you may not necessarily create a sense of stability for others. It may seem unnatural to them and completely throw their world into flux.
Causes of Poor Work-Life Balance
What causes us to have a poor life balance? Aside from dealing with everyday struggles, there are several factors may contribute to a mediocre work-life balance. Some of these things are within our span of control, and others are not. (Source)
Lack Of Self-Discipline
Balance equals discipline. Self-discipline is a vital trait for restoring and maintaining life balance. In essence, we must discipline ourselves to keep balance in our lives. How often do you find yourself allowing others to make their emergency your emergency such that it leads to extra work for you?
Poor Work-Life Time Management
Do your time management skills get you into trouble more often than not? Procrastination can be our worst enemy, stealing time from other areas of lives because of the wrong decision to put off the work today and overload our tomorrows.
Putting The Needs Of Others Ahead Of Ourselves
How many times a day do you put someone else’s needs ahead of your own? We’re all a little guilty of:
- being too polite,
- struggling with saying ‘no’,
- falling victim to caring about what others will think of us if we dare to put ourselves ahead of someone else’s goals.
This decision to put the needs of others ahead of our own can tip the scales.
We are each guilty of failing to carve out a little time for ourselves. Perhaps we miss a doctor’s appointment; we skip our trip to the gym, or we fail to spend any time meditating. Each of these things, no matter how small, play a role in finding balance in life or taking time to do those things that feed our soul. (Source)
The Power of Consistency
Consistency is a close cousin of self-discipline and has a role in life balance. Once you find your balance, sustaining it requires that you stick to the plan. Going to the gym involves a significant amount of self-discipline and consistency if you are going to see any results.
Physical changes to your body do not just happen without perseverance and repetition. The same is true for creating and maintaining a life that has balance. (Source)
Workplace competition can be a fantastic motivator, encouraging us to work a little harder and it can be extremely useful yielding great results for the business. There are some downsides to dabbling in too much workplace competition if we obsess over it.
Consequences of Poor Work-Life Balance
When we fail to achieve a comfortable life balance, some undesired problems can emerge as a result.
1. Poor Work-Life Balance Affect Relationships
The imbalance of life creates a quandary for most of us. If your focus is on your career and nothing else your friendships, familiar and romantic relations will suffer because they require just as much attention as your career.
We have to make the time to nurture and broaden our friendships and in effect, be there as a support system for our friends and also, lean on our friends during difficult times.
2. Generate Feelings of Stress
A poor life balance can generate feelings of stress. Stress is your body’s way of telling you that something is out of order –particularly when you lose your balance. Although our family, financial woes or an unexpected event such as a death or relocation can be a source of stress, work often tends to be a substantial driver of pressure in our lives.
The need to succeed or to stand out from the rest can lead us to spend far too much time in this area of our lives, raising stress levels to an all-time high.
3. Health Problems of Poor Work Life Balance
One side effect of a poor life balance are the health problems that may emerge as a result. When our life is out of sync, our eating habits take a turn for the worse, and our sleeping practices go downhill.
4. Poor Work-Life Balance Leads to Poor Sleep
Working long hours for too long can blur the lines between work and home life. The practice of not creating boundaries can leave us with feelings of mental and physical exhaustion. Our bodies require a minimum of seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Unfortunately, during a time of unbalanced living, our sleep habits tend to suffer most, and we fail to get an adequate night’s rest.
This lack of sleep can leave us feeling fatigued, irritable and with the inability to concentrate. Our hand-eye coordination and there is an increased risk for mistakes. Foggy brain and fuzzy thinking become more common than not and with slower reflexes in play due to this level of fatigue, we place ourselves and others at a higher risk for injury. (Source)
5. Aches and Pain – Symptoms of Life Imbalance
Another symptom that is associated with life imbalance is aches and pains. If stress levels remain high for an extended period, the muscles in your body your body may respond by tensing. People commonly report tightness, strains, pain that never fully resolves itself or discomfort that occurs in the form of inexplicable spasms.
You might notice that your pain level is intense from the time you awake until the time you go to sleep. Other days, your pain may appear for a short time before it disappears for several hours. Regardless of how they emerge or how long they last, stress, anxiety, or fear can each serve as triggers.
Headaches are another form of pain that may occur and, in some instances, may serve as your first warning sign that something is off.
All of those things that cause your muscles to tense may also trigger a pretty nasty headache. They are a common symptom that accompanies stress. (Source)
6. Anxiety and Depression Are Associated with Unhealthy Lifestyle
Some people who lack a healthy balance may experience symptoms related to anxiety and depression. The pressure of keeping pace with a hectic lifestyle or putting others’ needs ahead of our own can eventually wear us down.
Unhealthy Lifestyle trigger a variety of symptoms:
- a racing heart,
- difficulty breathing,
- feelings of exhaustion,
- difficulty concentrating,
- sense of panic or imminent danger.
There is a direct correlation between long work hours and your mental wellness. Studies demonstrate that the more hours we give to our jobs, the higher the chance we will experience those symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. (Source)
7. Work-Life Imbalance Can Weaken Your Immune System
The results of the study indicate that although the effects of a poor work-life balance may not be felt immediately, the consequences extend into older age. Cutting down on work hours and getting plenty of rest as early in life as possible would mitigate adverse health effects in older age.
Unfortunately, the added stress of life imbalance can weaken your immune system. This threat leaves us more susceptible to colds, the flu, and other illnesses.
8. Poor Work-Life Balance Leads to Rapid Weight Gain or Diabetes
Stress can also cause our hormones to become imbalanced. Cortisol levels have a nasty habit of climbing during difficult times, and this event causes us to gain weight, particularly around our waist area. The adrenal glands in our body, located just above the kidneys produce cortisol.
Cortisol is a hormone that helps to control our fight or flight response. It manages how well our body uses carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, regulates our blood pressure, controls our wake and sleeps cycle and it plays a vital role in regulating our blood sugar throughout the body (Source).
If our stress levels remain elevated, our body produces too much cortisol, and this can lead to rapid weight gain and in some instances conditions like diabetes.
9. Pose a Risk for the Development of Chronic Conditions
An extensive period of poor life balance may also lead to heart disease or eventually contribute to stroke. The combination of family, financial, spiritual and work stressors can pose a risk for the development of chronic conditions like heart disease.
According to one study Work Stress as a Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Disease, (Source), evidence suggests that long work hours increase the risk for stroke and heart disease.
Consistent stress over an extended period has a unique way of increasing our blood pressure levels. Couple that with poor eating habits and it is a recipe for cardiovascular disaster.
10. Poor Work-Life Balance Affects Workplace Productivity
Unfortunately, when our life balance is out of whack, it can affect our productivity in the workplace. We are late delivering high-priority items, and sometimes the quality of the work we provide is inadequate.
Also, we end up taking time away from work to solve other problems complicating different parts of our lives.
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