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We’ve all been there. The 12 hour days, sleepless nights, continuous stress and the feeling of your nose being held so hard to that grindstone that at any second, it might just fall off completely.

Sometimes this stress is only short lived. Maybe you have a project deadline approaching or are covering someone’s annual leave. Short-term lack of balance is entirely manageable. When it becomes unmanageable however is when a lack of balance becomes long-term or even an accepted part of everyday working life.

Something we come across quite often in recruitment is people being in a situation where they don’t necessarily recognise that they are stressed, being affected or worked to the bone. They are often unaware that a better work / life balance may exist for them elsewhere.


So how do you know if your work / life balance is not quite right?


  1. Your Physical Health is Suffering


When you’re working hard and always pushed for time, it is often hard to properly look after yourself. Where you used to have a great routine, you’re now grabbing fast food on the run, skipping the gym because you’re exhausted and watching as your hair falls out from stress.

If all you really have in life is your health, then once that starts to suffer you may need to reconsider your work choices.



  1. Your Mental Health is Suffering


According to the Black Dog Mental Health Institute, One in five (20%) Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year”, which is a hell of a lot of people. Whilst many factors contribute to mental health issues, it’s worth considering just how big a part your workplace is playing in these calculations.

If you can’t bring yourself to get out of bed of a morning because you dread going to work, if people at work are abusive (either actively or passively) or if working 12 or more hour days has cut you off from everything you used to enjoy, your work / life balance may be the issue.


A personal example comes from ALRA’s Head of Marketing, Beth O’Neil:

“I worked previously for a company where my mental health suffered directly as a result of my job. The environment had become so stressful and draining that I suffered from depression and many other areas of my life went downhill. I felt like I couldn’t quit as I wouldn’t find work as “good” anywhere else. The reality was, there were many better options out there and the day I quit that job and walked out of the office, I felt like I was 20kgs lighter. It taught me the value and importance of maintaining balance in my life and ensuring I’m never in a ridiculously stressful situation like that again.”



  1. You’re Always Fatigued but Can’t Sleep


It may sound counter-intuitive but fatigue and an inability to sleep often go hand in hand. Many people whose minds can’t leave the job experience this phenomenon. Their fatigue and stress levels reach a point where no matter how tired they are, they can’t switch off their brain to get the rest they need.

Sleep hygiene is important – so avoiding bright lights, screens (phones, computers, emails, spreadsheets etc) before bed can go a long way towards helping your brain unwind enough to sleep. If it’s not something you can solve right before bed, let it wait until morning. If your job literally depends on you sending an email at 2am in the morning when you have to be at work at 6am, then your work / life balance is not where it should be.



  1. You Spend More Time at Work than at Home


We all have to put in extra hours now and then. If you’re more familiar however with the patch of carpet under your desk than your own bed then you have a problem. Being always “on the job” (either physically or mentally) will in the end, make you less productive as your brain is allowed no time for reflection, introspection or relaxation.



  1. You Don’t Enjoy Your Job


If you honestly can’t remember the last time you enjoyed a day at work then you shouldn’t be there. If you consider that the average person will spend 30% of their lives at work then that’s a lot of time being spent unhappy.

We often hear people say “I just need to stick it out for the experience”. This may well be true but keep in mind, that there are almost always other paths to the same destination. Why not make them paths that allow you to be happy?



  1. Your Relationships are Suffering


Stress, long hours, mental health issues, physical health issues and not being happy in your job can also take its toll on the people around you. Suddenly, you aren’t making quality time for your family, your friends complain that they never see you and you can’t remember the last time you went to lunch for anything other than a business meeting.

If any of the above sounds familiar, then it’s probably time you think about how you are prioritising your time.



  1. You’ve Forgotten Your Other Interests


Or that you have other interests, or that anything outside of work even exists.

Doing things you love to do is important. Hobbies, Interests and passions are part of who you are. If you like to read, knit, fine dine, go to the gym, walk the dog, surf, play sport etc to relax, then ensuring time to do this is imperative.

If you’ve forgotten that you even had these interests because your mind is constantly consumed by your work then your balance has definitely skewed towards work.



In the End?


We know that wanting to succeed and feeling like you have to work hard to do it is natural. Work, just like life was never meant to be 100% easy. If however, you’re beginning to feel like a soulless robot in the pursuit of achieving your goals, it might be time to reconsider what balance you’d like to maintain in your life.



Not sure if your workplace is healthy or not? 

Feel free to get in touch with us and we will help where we can.