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Recent statistics show that among the top side effects of poor work-life balance are damaged family relationships and problems with physical.....
In today’s fast-paced world, achieving a work-life balance can be tough. But that is just a tip of the iceberg because a significant number of people still don’t use all of their paid time off (PTO) despite nearly 100% of companies having some form of PTO. Consequently, it affects their mental well-being in the long run. However, things are gradually changing as more and more people become conscious of the importance of work-life balance and enjoying paid time off, especially now remote work has gained popularity globally.
Recent statistics show that among the top side effects of poor work-life balance are damaged family relationships and problems with physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Also, companies offering better work-life balance have a 25% lower employee turnover. Above all, 85% of businesses that provide work-life balance opportunities report being more productive. It’s evident that breaking away from normal work routine benefits individuals and the businesses/organizations they work for.
This post focuses on the importance of work-life balance and taking paid time off and their impact on mental health.
What is the meaning of work-life balance? It’s a stable and sustainable way of spending time on work-related tasks while maintaining a personal life and general well-being. In short, work-life balance entails finding a state of equilibrium between professional/career responsibilities and personal life demands. Studies show that the higher the balance, the higher the level of mental health.
Regardless of the work model (office, hybrid, or remote work) or the job one does, achieving a good work-life balance is paramount for maintaining mental health. It’s one significant key to well-being. Here are different ways an excellent work-life balance affects your mental health:
Stress at work is inevitable, and a certain amount of it is acceptable. However, The Workplace Health Report 2023 shows that 76% of workers are currently experiencing moderate to high levels of stress around the world. Poor work-life balance is among the contributing factors to high-stress levels.
A healthy work-life balance allows individuals to spend time relaxing and resting, thus lowering stress levels at work and at home. For instance, you're likely to be less stressed when you have more control over your workloads and still have time to relax or engage in personal activities such as hobbies.
Often, burnout from work may easily result in fatigue, which causes a decline in an individual’s productivity. A healthy work-life balance allows one to rest well and refresh their minds, which helps them concentrate better and focus. A better work-life balance is more likely to translate to improved teamwork. Consequently, one can be more productive for a long time and stay creative when they have professional and personal tasks at hand.
When one achieves a good work-life balance, they reduce stress and improved focus. Also, one can easily engage in personal activities they enjoy, such as yoga, meditation, going outdoors, or spending time with loved ones. As a result, improving mindfulness in their life becomes easy, leading to better mental agility, resilience, and self-awareness.
According to an Employment Confidence Survey conducted by Glassdoor, vacation and paid time off proved more important for employees than pay raises. Paid time off is integral to one’s mental well-being. Here is why taking PTO is essential for mental health:
Taking paid time off allows one to disengage from work and provides the opportunity to rest, relax, and recharge their mind. Additionally, one can easily have enough and better (quality and quantity) sleep, which is crucial for unwinding and rejuvenating the mind. Consequently, one can think more clearly, stay creative, and return to work re-energized.
Working for an extended period without breaks can cause burnout, and anxiety, and increase stress levels, which can have serious adverse effects on your mental health. However, taking time off is an effective solution for such challenges. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), time off helps ease stress by removing one from activities and environments that are associated with anxiety.
Another significant benefit of taking paid time off is that it helps improve your mood. Taking some time off work allows you to rest well and reduce stress, ultimately enhancing your mood and overall well-being. More importantly, taking time off allows one to do things that bring happiness (including spending time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies, etc.), which in the long run boosts mood.
There is a great link between mental health, work-life balance, and paid time off. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance and taking advantage of paid time off can reduce stress levels, improve mood and mindfulness, enhance productivity, and improve mental well-being. Conversely, a poor work-life balance and not taking paid time off or lack of it can easily contribute to several mental health issues, from work burnout and anxiety to increased stress levels. Generally, these two are vital components for maintaining good mental health for employees.
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