Lifestyle | 15 Sep 2021 | By Sun International

Treading the work-life tightrope

Stone piling is a therapeutic exercise. | Photo by Getty Images

Achieving a work-life balance can be tricky, but you owe it to yourself to be kind to your mind and body.

Work-life balance, or the concept of spending an equal amount of energy on work and personal life, is a difficult topic to navigate at the best of times. Still, in today’s highly demanding, exhausting, and chaotic world of work, underlined by the social and economic consequences of the pandemic and ongoing European conflicts, and it’s never been more pertinent.

It means that finding a balance between the personal and professional is more important than ever.

“We’ve communicated internally about managing work-life balances, identifying signs of burnout and dealing with symptoms. It is a focal point for us because if our people are not managing their daily stress levels, it impacts their productivity and function at work and increases the risk of injury. Yes, ambition is a good thing, but burning the midnight oil just isn’t sustainable, and employees need to create boundaries for themselves,” explains Group Health and Safety Specialist Sheena O’ Brien.

Working on wellness

Sun International offers all employees, and their immediate family members access to counselling and advice through the One Sun wellness programme at no cost with wellness partner Life Assist. O’Brien says reports from this programme are key drivers for awareness campaigns and provide a picture of organisational health, including work-life stressors.

For Life Assist’s Russell Bath, achieving work-life balance means dividing the focus of our energy between work and leisure or rest.

“Work-life balance is a constant struggle. With today’s technology and many of us working from home, we’re always available, and there never seems to be an end to the workday. There are demands on us to perform at a high level and put in extra hours to get ahead, often taking on the responsibilities of more than one person. We’re being asked to do more with less to secure our future,” says Bath.

The dangers of constantly pushing ourselves to the limit are all too real. Long-term effects of chronic stress include the cardiovascular, immune system, digestive issues, and many mental health challenges. There’s also the professional impact to consider – stress affects decision-making and organisation, making the push for productivity somewhat counter-intuitive.

Breaking free

So what can one do to break free from the workday chains?

Bath emphasises the need to make conscious choices when chasing objectives, develop positive habits, and ensure clear communication with colleagues and loved ones.

“Understand that you’re going to have to change your habits, which takes up to six months. Stick with the changes – don’t give up or expect perfection. You need to have the discipline not to dive into your inbox late at night,” he explains.

With work-life balance being defined as “the level of individual satisfaction when they achieve harmony between all life areas”, happiness is also a paramount concern. Identify what makes you happy and centralise those activities in your everyday life, says Bath.

Here are a few other ways to prioritise your mental and physical health while aiming for that elusive work-life balance:


A stressed employee struggles to complete his work late into the night. | Photo by Getty Images

Write your troubles away. Keep a journal and a diary. Jot down your thoughts and feelings in the journal and then rip the page out and throw it away. It’s an effective stress-reliever. Don’t ditch the diary – use it to record your working hours and identify where they may be a problem.

Work out for work-life. Exercise has been proven to lower stress levels. More importantly, people who break into a sweat regularly have a greater sense of self-efficacy – that’s the self-belief in one’s ability to get things done.

Take power breaks. Scheduling back-to-back meetings and forgoing lunch breaks can quickly lead to burnout. Make a point of getting out of your chair for a couple of minutes to stretch and take some deep breaths now and then. It’s a surefire way to increase your focus and productivity.

Work smarter, not harder. Yes, that old chestnut. Prioritise your tasks, allocating just enough time to complete them and avoid getting bogged down in pointless meetings and other time-wasting activities.

Live your best life on a workcation. The workcation, which combines business and leisure, is the best thing to come out of the new post-COVID-19 way of working. Book a stay at any of Sun International’s hotels and resorts today, and you’ll have everything you need to channel your creative energy and increase your productivity.

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