Western Continuing Studies

Achieving a Healthy Work-Life Balance

It has been a long day at work but somehow you can’t seem to peel yourself away from a meeting, your desk or your BBM. You’ve been at it for hours but you still have what seems like endless amounts to do. Does this scene sound familiar? Although work may feel daunting at times it’s important to remember to keep a healthy work-life balance.

There are four pillars of life: exercise, food, self-reflection (coaching) and mindfulness. When one of these is out of balance or ignored it can have a negative impact on your life. You must pay attention to all areas to achieve a healthy balance. Finding a way to prioritize what needs to be done, what can wait and everything else life throws at us can be challenging to master. I’ve created a list of tips to get the ball rolling to help you successfully achieve a healthy work-life balance.

work life balance


Leave Work at Work

Even for those who love their job, work can still manage to be a source of stress. There are times when it can be exhausting, overwhelming and time consuming. It’s not uncommon that people can carry around their work stress and even bring it home with them.

Maybe you constantly replay the day’s events in your head, thinking of things you could have done differently. Maybe you’re glued to your blackberry, answering Emails that really could have waited until the following morning. Or maybe you just can’t cope with the stress of an upcoming project. Whatever the case may be, you must leave work at work.

Taking care of your stress is one of the most important actions you can do. Learning to release the thoughts from your workday and stop worrying is crucial. Whether this means taking time to meditate, exercise, sit down and eat a healthy dinner or watch a movie you must find a way to unwind. Try to focus on the positive aspects in your life. Keep a journal and list the things you are thankful for or write about things that bring you joy to minimize stress. If you concentrate on the good you won’t have time for the bad! 

Lastly, make sure you set strict work times for yourself. When it’s time to call it quits actually leave work and all your stresses behind for the day. If you are tempted to check your phone or answer Emails at home turn off your device! It’s that simple, keep your home a stress free zone, focus on the positive things, relax and your work will be waiting for you tomorrow.

Look Beyond Professional Achievements

Success isn’t measured in professional achievements alone. Having relationships with friends and family is vital for a happy life. It’s important to remember a job is a job; it’s the people in your life that are there for you and love you unconditionally.

When we are in love, we have endorphins that run through our brains. Issues seem easier to cope with and happiness seems to follow us wherever we go. Being open to love isn’t easy for everyone, especially for those who have had negative past relationships. Being in love is a special kind of achievement, so make time for some love in your life.  

Creating core values outside of your work life helps establish a successful balance. Defining what success means to you is a good place to start. Once you know what is important to you, you can make sure to keep your values a top priority. Whether this means having a date night, eating dinner with your family or signing up for a class at http://wcs.uwo.ca/ figure out what’s important to you and act on it!  

Identify Priorities and Create a Plan

As mentioned above, prioritizing core values is critical to accomplishing a healthy balance. Without clear priorities, it becomes convenient for work to take over the majority of your life. Jotting down a list of items that are most important allows you to make decisions about meaningful activities and whether or not they take precedence. For example, you may want to take an online course, learn a new language or discover the arts. Invest in something that you will feel good about; something that will enrich your life and gives you some time for yourself. 

Once you establish your priorities, create a plan that allows you to incorporate them into your everyday life. The plan can include things like a schedule of work, family time, courses, and hobbies. For example, you can schedule to leave work each day at 5 p.m. to get home and have dinner with your family (your priority). There is a set priority and plan in place on how to achieve the desired goal.

Be Disciplined

The hardest part about executing the plan is being disciplined enough so that you can meet your goals. Every week, your priorities will likely be challenged by something happening at the office. Appointment requests will come, challenges will arise, meetings will go long, deadlines will be looming. There will always be excuses and your priorities will be tested. However, most of the items can be handled without making exceptions or excuses if you simply stick to your plan.

Be “All In”

Although multi-tasking can be extremely useful it’s important to remember to give things the undivided attention they deserve. When you are at work focus on your tasks at hand and don’t be preoccupied with your home life. Same goes for when you are at home, give your family the same attention you would people at your office. Don’t distract yourself with work related issues, when you’re priority shouldn’t be work. Make a point to separate your two worlds, giving each your all.

A healthy balance between work and home helps create a well-rounded life and will ultimately keep you grounded. It’s easy to forget what really matters in life and what’s really important when you’re faced with the daily challenges and stress of work. There will always a reason to stay late, to check your Email or to work through the weekend. Prioritizing your values and sticking to what you know is important to you is key. You might be surprised but a happy home life that includes some much deserved rest and relaxation will actually make you more successful during your workday. 


This article was written by Erin Whitney, Western University graduate currently enrolled in the Diploma in Public Relations at Western Continuing Studies. Erin is completing her practicum at Sportsnet in Toronto.


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