The New Work-Life Balance: How to Support Your Mental Health at Work and in Daily Life


September 10, 2020

woman balancing work and life - siting on a couch with coffee and laptop with baby sleeping next to her

Finding Balance at Work and Home

On any given day, many of us spread ourselves thin between multiple tasks and responsibilities. Whether it be working from home during the pandemic, maintaining a family and household, managing a child’s schooling, or a combination of all three, it’s normal to feel like you can’t find the right balance, to give everything and everyone adequate attention while also taking care of yourself.

The number of U.S adults who consider their lives well enough to be considered “thriving” has dropped to 46.4%, and these heightened feelings can impact all areas of your life including sleep, performance, energy levels, concentration, and overall physical well-being. Whether your daily schedule is packed or you just aren’t sure where to begin doing things differently, you can change your relationship with stress and feel more empowered and in control of whatever daily challenges come your way.

How to Manage Your Mental Health at Work

When navigating the new work-life balance, feeling isolated or lonely is common and can affect your mental health. In March of 2020, the percentage of people working from home jumped to 58%, with many people still not interacting with coworkers on a regular basis and also limiting connections with family and friends. Even those who have returned to the office have experienced loneliness due to changes in seating and break room use. With lines blurred between work and home and many companies decreasing staffing to stay afloat, many remote and office employees can also feel burnout from increased workload and pressure to “prove themselves” in an unstable economy.

Learn how mindfulness can help you navigate stress and improve your quality of life with our Mindfulness at Work series

Navigating the new work-life balance can be overwhelming with new challenges constantly arising, but creating a stressbuster action plan centered around mindfulness can be a helpful tool to help you take control of stress at work. Mindfulness stressbusters can look different for everyone, but getting started might include:

Physical activity: Whether you’re working from home or at the office, practicing mindful movement during the day can be helpful for the body and to re-engage your focus.

Nutrition: When the mind is stressed, healthy eating choices have a tendency to go out the window and affect the body. But giving your body the fruits, vegetables, and nutrients it needs and adding gratitude through mindful eating can nourish both your mind and body. If you’re going to the office, bringing prepared meals instead of going through the drive-through can also help you get the fuel you need throughout the day.

Self-care: Most of the workday involves completing tasks for other people, but doing something for yourself is also essential for work-life balance. Engaging in guided mindfulness meditation, taking a walk, or other small acts of kindness that are just for you can help you feel more present.

Looking for a way to improve your focus and decrease your stress? Make our new Mindfulness at Work series part of your day

Reconnecting with Yourself At Home

In this time of work from home and virtual schooling for students of all ages, it can be especially challenging to truly disconnect and relax at home. Your family dynamic may include one or both parents working from home while also trying to juggle home or virtual classes for yourselves or your children. “Home” also feels different for the roughly 25 million Americans whose jobs have been disrupted by COVID-19.

 If you’re having trouble distancing yourself from stress during a time when you should be relaxed or enjoying time with your partner and/or children, it’s possible to change your relationship with stress and live in the present moment. Mindfulness stressbusters can also be helpful to practice at home and can be modified to fit your personal needs.

Physical activity: Whether it’s taking a casual stroll outdoors with your partner, going on a family bike ride, stretching together as a family before or after your days begin, or enjoying any of these activities solo, making mindful movement into a daily habit in your home can make a big difference.

Nutrition: Juggling schedules makes it all too easy to fall into the habit of eating in front of the TV, in bedrooms, and at separate times than the others who live with you. We often also get into the habit of choosing foods that are fast but don’t offer as much nutrition. If we want to have better concentration and performance, we need to give our bodies the nutrition they need to help us achieve those goals. Regardless of what your home situation looks like, meal prepping and mindful eating can help you take care of yourself and your family. 

Self-care: Not everyone has a lot of time available for self-care, but even just taking a few minutes for yourself, to slow down or pause what you are doing can help you come back to the present moment and appreciate the small things.

Making a Sustainable, Long-Term Plan for Your Mental Health

There’s no denying that right now, taking care of your mental health at work and at home and setting clear boundaries between the two is more challenging than ever. As we all continue to navigate what comes next, and what that means for us, our jobs, and our families, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all there is to manage.

No matter what your calendar looks like, there are ways to weave in small mindfulness strategies throughout the day to help strengthen your connection to yourself so you can begin to see your world with more optimism and confidently face whatever challenges come your way.

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Written by Becky Greiner