Do You Have Work Life Balance?

Work/Life Balance and Burnout

Burnout is something we hear a lot in our culture today. The term “burned out” refers to workplace stress. In 2019, the World Health Organization identified burnout as an “occupational phenomenon” – something due to the conditions of work (CPA, 2021). The term burnout is used to describe a group of signs and symptoms that consistently occur together and are caused by chronic workplace stress.

The three dimensions of burnout

1. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion,
2. Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job,
3. Reduced professional efficacy.

We know that burnout is more likely when there is a lack of work/life balance. This happens to more and more people, especially as many now have to take on multiple jobs to create additional streams of income in order to support themselves, their families and to provide the necessities of life (housing, food etc). Rising cost of living only makes finding work/life balance more challenging.

What can I do about burnout?

Be aware of how work is creeping into your home life and if you are struggling to carve out time away from the demands of work.

Below we have compiled a list of questions to help determine whether you are struggling to find a work/life balance. This quiz is not meant to replace the advice of a medical professional, but rather as a guiding tool to help bring further understanding and awareness.

1. I regularly spend time weekly making time for things I enjoy doing. Yes/No

2. The majority of the week I feel overwhelmed and overcommitted. Yes/No

3. I frequently feel anxious or upset because of what is happening with my place of employment. Yes/No

4. I often find myself reaching for my phone to check notifications even when it is my scheduled day off. Yes/No

5. I never use all my vacation days. Yes/No

6. I often miss out on important family events and gatherings. Yes/No

7. I find I do not have enough time to spend with my loved ones. Yes/No

8. Usually, I work throughout my entire lunch break. Yes/No

9. I frequently think about work when I am not working. Yes/No

10.My family is often upset with me about how much time I spend at work. Yes/No

11. I don’t find I have time to eat properly, exercise, or participate in hobbies I previously enjoyed Yes/No

If you find yourself answering yes to one or many of the questions above, it might be time for you to do some reflection, and examine your work life balance.

How do I move forward?

  1. Start small with the areas where you have control and look for ways you could change how you are spending your time, especially where you notice things are out of balance.

  2. Ask yourself if you can be more organized to maximize time for things both at work and at home.

  3. Ask for help with certain tasks, either at home or work – including considering hiring someone to help complete certain tasks (if within your budget). If not, reach out to a friend or family member and see if they might be able to support you as you navigate these overwhelming feelings.

  4. Set limits for time spent online so that you don’t feel you are constantly connected or working.

  5. Schedule recreational and social events with family and friends and take them as seriously as you do your work commitments.

  6. Say “no” more often and set better boundaries, if boundaries are a struggle for you, reach out to a mental health professional and discuss how to set healthy boundaries around work and other commitments.

  7. Talk with trusted friends and family about what they notice about you, and be willing to listen to constructive feedback.

  8. Talk to your supervisor if there are changes that need to be made at work. Come in with a plan and explain how you feel directly and respectfully. A supervisor should appreciate an employee who provides constructive feedback and potential solutions for the situation they find themselves in.

  9. Set some small goals for yourself toward better life balance, and notice what  changes you see.

  10. Ask yourself what would you like to be spending more time on? Health, family, pursuing a different career etc?

Everyone deserves to live a balanced and fulfilling life and we may not feel like it, but we do have the power to make small, incremental changes to work towards your goals.

If you have questions about finding work/life balance, managing stress and healthy boundary setting, feel free to set up a consultation with one of our mental health professionals.