work-life balance

4 Tips for a Healthier Work-Life Balance

In NYC, it’s often difficult to distinguish between who we are and what we do. We may feel like we’re working 24/7 and are even made to feel guilty for leaving work to take care of ourselves. It can feel like an impossible feat to create and maintain a healthy work-life balance and most people could benefit from a reminder that in order to be more productive, we need to rest and refuel! Stress from overworked days combined with personal obligations can lead to a negative impact on health, relationships and overall happiness.

A healthier work-life balance looks different for everyone. Here are 4 tips to help maintain a better work-life balance:

1. Nobody is Perfect!

Let go of the idea that you can’t leave the office until everything is “perfect.” There is no such thing as perfect! It’s terrific to have high expectations and goals for yourself, but striving for perfection is setting yourself up for failure. Give yourself a break: try your best and be proud of what you produce. Read How to Let Go of Perfectionism.

2. Unplug!

In a world of smartphones, it seems impossible to end your work day because you always feel connected. But you don’t need to react to every work email immediately (especially at 9:00pm when you’re out to dinner with friends). It is difficult to be present with family or friends if you’re constantly checking your phone. Don’t be afraid to shut your phone off or turn off email notifications for a few hours in the evening. These few hours of quiet can help prepare you for a more productive and fresh start tomorrow. Watch How to Stay Happy, Focused and Productive in the Age of Digital Distraction.

3. Make time for Self-Care!

It doesn’t matter if it’s exercise, meditation, yoga or messages – find what works for you and stick with it. These are often the first things to go when we are feeling stressed, but they are the best activities for our bodies and minds to feel balanced. Exercise and other forms of self-care relieve stress and improve happiness. If you don’t have time for a full hour at the gym, create a 10 minute cardio routine you can do in your apartment in the morning or set aside 5 minutes for mindful meditation before walking out the door. Leave work 30 minutes earlier than normal to make a gym class once a week or tell friends you have to meet them for dinner an hour later because you need to squeeze in a quick workout. There is time if you make time! Read 5 Self Care Tips in Five Minutes or Less!

4. Prioritize!

Think about what you value most in your life and create a list of how you typically spend your free time. Prioritize this list from most important to least important and create a schedule that allows you to incorporate the most important items into it. In order to maintain a healthy routine, you need to stick to boundaries and focus on what means the most to you. When looking over your list you may notice that there are people/activities that have been sucking up your time that you really don’t value. Drop them! Time is precious and you can’t be wasting it on people/things that don’t mean much. Read my blog How to Say “No” Without being Rude. 5 Ways!

Creating a healthy work-life balance is difficult and takes some practice. Remember not to mentally take work home with you. When you leave work, you leave work. Take a deep breath as you walk out the door and leave the stressors of the day behind you before starting the rest of your night.

What are other tips that work for you to create a healthy work-life balance in your life?

Nikki Lutin, LCSW - NYC Therapist

Nikki Lutin, LCSW - NYC Therapist

Offering individual and couples counseling in NYC. Specializing in Anger Management, Depression, Self-Esteem, Grief & Loss, and Parenting,
Nikki Lutin, LCSW - NYC Therapist

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6 replies
  1. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    Great post! As a working parent – it is very important for for me to not neglect my own self-care due to the fierce dedication to the work and tiny human that I love! What works for me lately is really just carving out specific experiences / activities that are just for me. And reminding myself that I can only give to others what I have first given to myself…

  2. Ryan
    Ryan says:

    Living here it always feels like people lead with their long list of accomplishments and everyone seems to be trying to out do one another. I think letting go of that competitive perfectionism is so important to be happy. Focusing on what you have accomplished versus what you haven’t is a great way to change your perspective.

  3. Richard Cino
    Richard Cino says:

    A great and clear list- I’m reminded to set realistic expectations for myself always and to structure time for things that are important to me. I forget to unplug and need the reminder to turn off electronics after 9pm. A little bit of self care goes a long way.

  4. Cate
    Cate says:

    I really like that last tip about prioritizing! I think naming what’s important can make it easier to make space for it. I am guilty of saying to myself, “I have so many things I want to work on!” Instead I am going to focus on the things I *really* care for and make the time.


  5. Omar
    Omar says:

    Letting go of the notion of “perfect” is so important, especially in a city that seems to be filled with perfectionists. I also like the idea of unplugging and not feeling like you have to be on-call all the time.

  6. Glenn
    Glenn says:

    Making lists and keeping healthy time boundaries work for me. It’s tempting to keep working after the work day has ended. Logging off, unplugging and putting physical distance between my laptop and phone help me keep those boundaries.


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