Why is it so important to have a good work-life balance?

A good work-life balance is essential for maintaining physical and mental health, fostering positive relationships, preventing burnout, and promoting overall satisfaction and well-being in both professional and personal aspects of life. It is an integral component of a fulfilling and sustainable lifestyle.


In this article, we look at how to recognise if your work-life balance is not working for you and then how to put things back on track.  

Signs of imbalance

There are some well-known signs that may indicate an imbalance and that it's time to reassess and make adjustments:

Chronic fatigue

If you consistently feel tired and drained, it could be a sign of burnout or insufficient time for rest and recovery.

Increased stress levels

A significant and prolonged increase in stress levels can be an indicator that your workload or personal commitments are overwhelming.

Health issues

Frequent illnesses, headaches, or other health problems may be linked to chronic stress and an imbalanced lifestyle.

Strained relationships

If your personal relationships are suffering, and you find it challenging to make time for family and friends, it may indicate an imbalance.

Decreased productivity

Are you having to work harder to do the same amount of work? Reduced efficiency and productivity at work can be a sign of burnout or fatigue.

Lack of enjoyment

If you no longer find enjoyment or satisfaction in your work or personal activities, it may be a signal that something is amiss.

Neglecting self-care

Ignoring self-care practices, such as exercise, proper nutrition, and adequate sleep, suggests a lack of attention to your well-being and can be a result of imbalance.

Inability to disconnect

If you find it challenging to disconnect from work even during personal time, it may indicate an unhealthy work-life balance.

Feeling overwhelmed

Constantly feeling overwhelmed, with a never-ending to-do list, is a clear sign that your workload or commitments may be too much to handle.

Decreased satisfaction

A significant decrease in overall life satisfaction and happiness may indicate that aspects of your life need adjustment.

Poor time management

Consistently struggling with time management, missing deadlines, or feeling rushed can be a sign of an imbalanced schedule.

Neglecting hobbies and interests

If you no longer have time for activities you once enjoyed, it could be a sign that your life is becoming too work-focused.

Difficulty concentrating

If you find it challenging to concentrate or stay focused on tasks, it may be a result of mental fatigue or burnout.

Feeling guilty

Constantly feeling guilty about not spending enough time at work or with your loved ones is a sign that your priorities may be out of balance.

Lack of boundaries

If you find it difficult to set and maintain boundaries between work and personal life, it may contribute to an imbalance.

How to achieve a better work-life balance

If you recognise three or more of these signs in yourself, it's important that you take proactive steps to address the imbalance. Here are some practical tips to help you achieve a better work-life balance:

Set clear boundaries

  • Establish specific start and end times for your work day.
  • If you work from home, set specific times for checking work-related communication, and stick to those boundaries. Resist the urge to check work emails or messages during personal time.
  • Separate your work life from your personal life. When you're in your workspace, focus on work tasks, and when you leave, mentally transition to personal time.
  • Clearly communicate your boundaries to colleagues and superiors.

Learn to say no

  • Assess your current commitments and be realistic about what you can handle.
  • Politely decline additional tasks or responsibilities when your plate is already full.
  • Prioritise your well-being and avoid overcommitting.

Schedule beaks

  • Take regular breaks during the workday to recharge.
  • Step away from your desk, go for a short walk, or practice relaxation techniques.
  • Use breaks to clear your mind and boost productivity when you return to work.

Establish a routine

  • Create a daily or weekly routine that includes dedicated time for work, family, self-care, and hobbies.
  • A routine helps create predictability and balance in your life.

Invest in self-care

  • Prioritise self-care activities, such as exercise, relaxation, and hobbies.
  • Make time for activities that bring you joy and contribute to your overall well-being.

Learn to delegate

  • Delegate tasks at work and at home when possible.
  • Recognise that you don't have to do everything yourself, and trust others to contribute.

Evaluate and adjust

  • It’s very easy for things to gradually slip so regularly assess your work-life balance and make adjustments as needed.
  • Be flexible and willing to modify your approach based on changing circumstances.


  • Seeking support from friends, family, or a professional (such as a life coach or counsellor) can also be helpful in navigating these challenges.

Remember that achieving and maintaining a better work-life balance is an ongoing process that requires self-awareness and consistent effort. It's essential to prioritise what matters most to you and make intentional choices to support a healthier and more balanced lifestyle.

If you’d like to explore and improve your work-life balance further and would like help doing this, get in touch.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14
Written by Karen Baker, MBACP | Disordered Eating, Bereavement and Loss Counselling
Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14

As a Person-Centered Counselor, I have a lot of experience with working with clients with disordered eating, bereavement, and loss. My aim is to help you navigate through what might be a very difficult and distressing period of your life. You might be feeling stuck and unable to move forward or reac...

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