5 Keys to Maintaining a Healthy Work Life Balance

Work life balance is hard. I’m not even going to sit here and pretend I’ve got it all figured out because I don’t. I have not always been the best about maintaining a healthy work life balance, even as a student. I love to stay busy and take advantage of all the opportunities that come my way. However, balance is so important. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, in order to show up professionally, it’s imperative that we take care of ourselves and our personal needs, first. It’s not selfish, it’s essential.

So, if you’re trying to get better about maintaining a healthy work life balance, especially as a new OT, here are FIVE tips that have been working well for me:

  1. Set (and stick to!) clear boundaries: I feel like for most people, it’s not the setting boundaries part that’s hard, it’s the sticking to boundaries that’s the hard part. At least it was for me! When I first started working I was honestly just so excited to finally be in my big girl career. I loved it so much. I would respond to texts from coworkers immediately, respond to after hour emails, schedule on weekends and evenings when I really didn’t want to, and constantly rearrange my personal appointments to accommodate the schedules of others. I had zero boundaries which eventually led to burnout and frustration and an imbalance between career & life. You don’t want this right? I didn’t think so! So it’s important to recognize what you need to do to prevent this (boundaries) and then...actually do it! Don’t forget to convey those boundaries to others in a polite and respectful way. 

  2. Learn to say no: I can’t believe how hard this used to be for me lol. I would literally feel like the worst person on the planet when I had to say no so to prevent that feeling I would just agree to everything. Saying no is not bad. What helped me finally learn to say no was to offer an alternative, and recognize I didn’t need to give a reason if I didn’t want to. For example I don’t like working Friday mornings at 8am (I have no legitimate excuse I just don’t want to wake up that early on a Friday LOL) so I started saying no to those requests and offering a different date. It sounds simple but for me it was a big deal and a way to help me with my balance. 

  3. Remember rest is productive: This is honestly the most important one in my opinion because if you push yourself past the point of exhaustion, your body will let you know one way or the other. When I started taking on more regions, naturally, the demand for my time got much higher. I was scheduling M-F all day, plus weekends, plus driving 3 hours to support our rural regions and completely burnt myself out within a few months of this. I ended up taking a full week off to reset and realized how much I’d been on the go. Your body NEEDS rest. Not sleep, but rest - physical and mental rest so make sure to set aside some time for this!

  4. Pursue passions outside of OT: Trust me, this is a must. We all love OT but you can’t make it your entire life. It’s one of the reasons I started talking about other things (like faith & finance) on my Instagram because I didn’t want to talk about OT 24/7 - and there is nothing wrong with that! If you’re only focused on your career, it’s pretty hard to have a healthy work life balance so you need to dig deep and find out what else sparks joy? What else makes you happy to talk about? Pursue that...and who knows, maybe you can even turn it into a side hustle and bring in some extra cash from it.

  5. Establish healthy money habits: Okay I know you didn’t think I’d NOT talk about money in a blog post, right? If you’ve been here for a while you know I’m constantly talking about how we can use money as a tool to create a life we love. For me, having a higher paying position combined with intentional money habits allows me the freedom and flexibility to not have to overwork myself which leads to burnout. I strongly believe that when we create healthy money habits, we won’t feel the need (or HAVE the need) to work ourselves to the bone. We can take time off for ourselves without the worry of not having enough money to make ends meet. If this is something you’re having a tough time with me, send me a message and let’s chat. 

So friend, the next time you’re thinking to yourself “how does she do it all??” this is literally how. I feel like “work life balance” has become one of those things where you’re like – okay but is it REALLY even possible to have that balance? The answer is absolutely. You know I’m always preaching the message of striving to create a life you love and I strongly believe we need this balance to do just that.

Remember that you do not have to let your personal life fall by the wayside to be successful in your professional life. You can have balance in both. I may not have it all figured it out but I do know what works for me and I’m hoping this inspires you to really sit down and figure out what works for you.

How are you actively working to have a healthy work life balance?