Work-Life Balance and Mental Health

By- Seyada Mahmoud

It has been reported that 58% of Canadians report “overload” as a result of the pressures associated with work, home and family, friends, physical health, volunteer and community service.

In the legal profession in particular, and according to Jatrine Bentsi-Enchill, J.D. CPCC Esq. Development Institute,  an increasing number of lawyers are experiencing burnout, low productivity, insomnia, and stress related illnesses due to a lack of balance between their work and personal lives. It’s well documented that one of the main reasons lawyers consider leaving the profession is the desire to spend more time on personal and family needs.

It is hard to find the perfect balance unless you set your value and priority. But keep in mind, according to Statistics Canada, employees who considered most of their days to be quite a bit or extremely stressful were over 3 times more likely to suffer a major depressive episode, compared with those who reported low levels of general stress.

Do you find it difficult to balance the different roles in your life? If so, you’re not alone – Take this quiz to see if you’re in balance.

Tips for Staying in “Balance”

worklife balanace

Take control – there are ways to help bring yourself into balance!
At work
• Schedule a ten-minute break every two hours for yourself throughout the day, your productivity and effectiveness will increase
• At the end of each day, set your priorities for the following day and be realistic about it.
• Only respond to email once or twice a day.
• Make a distinction between work and the rest of your life. Don’t be available 24/7.

At Home
• Create a buffer between work and home. After work, take a brief walk, do a crossword puzzle, or listen to some music before beginning the evening’s routine.
• Decide what chores can be shared or let go.
• Exercise. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes at a time, you’ll feel more energized and refreshed.
• Create and implement a household budget. Start by setting aside some money from each pay cheque for the future.

In Your Community
• Make choices. Social, community and volunteer obligations pull us in many directions. Choose the ones that are most fulfilling and learn to say “no” to the rest.

Hard Choices in Life
Here is my view at a glance. Life is full of hard choices. The choice could be which career should I pursue? Should I break up — or get married?! Where should I live? We always have to take big decisions that will deeply impact our lives. So may be someone choses to become a paralegal thinking it is the safest choice because of the fear of being an unemployed florist for example. May be you will have to give up your entire career in a situation where your partner is re-allocated to another city or country and where you are not allowed to practice. And so, in many occasions priority becomes the “balance” of your work-life perception; your priority becomes the source of your enjoyment. And always take an important step towards protecting your mental health by bringing all aspects of your life into “balance”.

About the Author

Paralegal Student
Communications Students.