Whether you’re in the middle of an intense college program such as medical assistant classes, working your way up a career ladder, or toiling away on some other endeavor, it’s easy to get lost in your work. You spend all your time either getting things done or thinking about everything you have left to do. Some days, you’ll appreciate the occupation, but others, you’ll feel like you’re going crazy.
Regardless of how you think you feel about the situation, getting consumed by your work is universally bad. You need to maintain a healthy balance between work and life if you want a shot at happiness—no matter how important your goals are.
The Importance of Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance isn’t just about spending more time having fun, or about working less in general. It’s about working more effectively and maximizing your personal happiness. Without a healthy work-life balance, you could:
- Steadily decline in work performance as you tire, even if you don’t notice right away.
- Burn out and become completely disinterested in your career or goals.
- Lose the support of your friends and family, leaving you isolated when the work is finally done.
- Develop physical and mental health complications, such as hypertension or depression.
How to Achieve a Better Balance
Now that you know the repercussions of an unhealthy work-life balance, you can start to improve yours:
- Set boundaries for your work commitments. Draw a line for your work responsibilities—for example, you can set aside specific times of day or days of the week when work or studying isn’t allowed to enter your life. You could also define certain work activities to be forbidden during downtimes, and others that are acceptable—such as accepting phone calls but still checking emails. Drawing these boundaries helps you cement the line between your work life and real life, helping you feel more satisfied and independent.
- Take your vacation days. Your vacation days are there for a reason. Even if your company culture seems to reward those who skip or work through their vacation days, that doesn’t mean you have to follow in their footsteps. You’ll be far more satisfied—and you’ll work more efficiently—if you take days off to decompress and recharge.
- Schedule time to relax with family. Your family and friends are important, but it’s easy to take them for granted when you’re so focused on your work responsibilities. If you want to keep them close to you and enjoy those relationships, you need to schedule time to relax with them. Don’t let anything interrupt that prioritized, scheduled time.
- Unplug from your devices. It’s easy to get distracted with work, studying, and responsibilities when you’re constantly plugged into communications. If you’re taking time off, turn off your phone, unplug from the Internet, and don’t check your email. There’s little that can’t wait a day—or at least a few hours.
- Get physical. It’s important to stay physically active, no matter how or where you’re working. Physical exercise clears your mind, reduces stress, and keeps you physically and mentally healthy. Make time for physical activities, no matter what those activities are. You could take up jogging, start working out, or go for something less intensive like yoga or walking in the park. The key is to get your body moving and forget about work for a while.
Anyone can achieve a healthy work-life balance; it all starts with prioritizing your mental (and physical) health. No matter how all-consuming or overwhelming your work seems, there is always time for relaxation, decompression, and time with friends and family. Of course, if your career doesn’t afford you as much personal time as you’d like, you can always switch careers with a Medical Assisting Program online—you’ll be surprised how much of a lifestyle change a simple career change can bring you.