Work-Life Balance: The Key to Greater Health

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Millennials spend a lot of time discussing the concept of work-life balance, but it’s more than a catchphrase or guise for laziness. Work-life balance actually has a direct impact on physical and emotional health, which is why both employers and employees need to listen up.

Work-life balance is a term used to describe the human need for both work and other aspects of life – such as exercise, relationships, religion, and hobbies. It’s not a perfect balance between the two in the sense that you spend eight hours working, eight hours “playing,” and eight hours sleeping. Rather it’s the pursuit of balancing these areas of your life so that you’re happy, productive, and healthy.

Work-life balance is a tricky goal; much depends on where you are in life.

“For example, a single man who has no family obligations and lots of time to dedicate to work will probably have a much easier time than the mother of three school-aged children who’s heavily involved in community activities.”

Don’t be rigid in your pursuit of this balance. Instead, find out what it means for you.

In this article, we’re going to specifically focus on the health benefits of work-life balance and why it’s so important for every working American to find their equilibrium.

In particular, the right balance yields the following health benefits:

  • Reduces Stress
    The biggest benefit of achieving work-life balance is that it lowers your overall level of stress and anxiety, which wreaks havoc on your physical and mental health. It’s for this very reason that most people rate lower stress as more appealing than a higher salary.
  • Improves Immune System Functioning
    When you achieve work-life balance, stress is reducedand immune system functioning improves. This leads to better overall health and prevents many unnecessary illnesses.
  • Makes Time for Exercise
    When you’re overworked, you don’t have time to go for a jog, walk the dog, or hit the gym. Instead, you get in a cycle of going to work, coming home, watching TV, and going to bed. When you achieve proper work-life balance, you have time to exercise – which is critically important to your bodily health.
  • Lowers Risk of Substance Abuse
    According to one study, individuals who work 48 hours or more per week are more likely to engage in risky alcohol consumption. (More than 14 drinks per week for women, or more than 21 drinks per week for men.) By reducing your work hours, you’re able to lower your risk of substance abuse.
  • Creates Space for Healthy Relationships
    Finally, proper work-life balance creates space for healthy relationships. This has a positive impact on your mental and emotional health.

Your perfect point of equilibrium will differ from the next person’s. As previously stated, the goal isn’t to strike a perfect split between work, play, and sleep. The objective is to manage how and when you work so that you’re happy and healthy.

Finding work-life balance will require you to find a job with some flexibility, be more strategic with how you manage your time, and learn how to say no. When you do these three things well, you’ll have a much greater opportunity to maximize your health and wellness.