May is Mental Health Awareness Month – let’s break down barriers one conversation at a time. Start here!

Mental Health in the AEC – 3 Tips to Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

June 20, 2023      By Holly Tishfield
Two different shoes.

Most everyone experiences periods of stress at work and goes through phases where their work-life balance is unstable. Feeling the pressure of a demanding job is normal and expected, but excessive stress can negatively affect your mental and physical well-being. Numerous studies have confirmed that job-related stress is a significant source of stress for American adults, and these numbers have been steadily increasing in recent decades. The economic impact of depression and anxiety alone amounts to nearly $1 trillion in lost profits, with job-related stress estimated to cost the U.S. economy over $300 billion annually.

So, how can you effectively manage work-related stress? How can you establish a work-life balance that promotes good mental health? Consider the following three tips for implementing healthy strategies to achieve and maintain work-life balance.

1. Establish Boundaries

Whether you work from home or in an office, establishing boundaries is essential to distinguish between “home time” and “office time.” Once you’re finished with work for the day, make a conscious effort to truly disconnect. Put your laptop away, disable email notifications, and remind yourself that you can attend to any messages the following morning. Allowing your mind and body to recharge at the end of the day or over the weekend will ensure that you start each day with renewed energy.

2. Assess Your Priorities to Be More Efficient

Your work-life balance can suffer when you struggle to concentrate or complete tasks efficiently. Begin by identifying your top priorities for the day. Determine where you can compromise and where you cannot, and then act. To boost productivity, consider focusing on one task at a time. Set a timer for the task, perhaps for 45 minutes to an hour, and make a note of any distracting thoughts while you work so that you can address them later.

3. Rest – Use Your Days Off

According to a 2018 United States Travel Association survey, more than half of Americans don’t use their paid time off (PTO). And out of those who do use their PTO, over 52% of employees report still working during their supposed time off. These patterns can rapidly lead to workplace burnout and harm your work-life balance. Don’t let the days roll over if you have vacation or sick time. Embrace these opportunities for time off, even if it means spending a day at home with family, friends or even indulging in a movie. We all need breaks every now and then.

A healthy work-life balance looks different for each person, but the bottom line is that a balance will enhance not only your mental well-being but also boost your productivity and job satisfaction. Remember to regularly assess your own needs and determine the most effective methods to maintain your overall health.

For more insight into mental health within the AEC Industry, watch our free webinar Live Your Life Well: Mental Health Awareness in the AEC Industry Panel Discussion.

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