Work-Life Balance: Setting Boundaries

| Ashley Davis LMFT

It can be difficult to create balance between the many roles in our lives. Arguably the most difficult role to balance is the one that exists between our professional and personal life, especially when one’s profession and/or financial status creates the need for more than a 40 hour work week. Below I have included some tips for leaving work at work so that you can be more mindful of dividing your time appropriately between work and home.

  • “Clock out” at a certain time of the day.  Pick a time of day that works to be completely done with all work responsibilities for the day.  I typically recommend at the latest 7pm for people who work a 9 to 5 job. This means turn off all work-related notifications including social media, phones, computers, and email after your selected time.
  • Do not work over 5-10 hours of overtime per week, and log all of your overtime hours for payment. If you cannot achieve all the work you need to complete within that allowance for overtime speak to your supervisor about potential solutions for fitting your work into a more reasonable time frame.
  • Take the time to decompress between work and home to avoid bringing work-related stress and/or to do lists home with you. Listen to music, practice deep breathing, and or listen to podcasts on your commute home or take a few minutes to meditate before coming in the front door.
  • Set expectations in advance with your boss and/or work colleagues around vacations and/or after-work plans if you are in the middle of a demanding work time so they are fully aware of where your boundaries are.
  • Eat lunch away from your desk as much as possible and/or take short walks away from your desk to break up the workday and enhance your focus so you can avoid bringing work home as much as possible.
  • If your particular job is unsupportive of an appropriate work/life balance for their employees, look into other alternatives for employment. Poor work environment is typically unsustainable for long periods of time, and your productivity at work will certainly suffer if you experience burnout. Good employers recognize the need for this balance and will be supportive of your boundaries.

Keep in mind that self care is the key to positive mental health. Finding time for appropriate self care can be difficult if you are setting poor boundaries for your work/life balance. Prioritization of your mental health is important for both your professional and personal life, so if you find that you are experiencing symptoms of burn out, it is time to readdress how you spend your time.

Today's the day to make a change.