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Why Should You Strike a Balance Between Work and Downtime?

August 23, 2023 | Read: 5 minutes

When we’re passionate about the work we do and are committed to doing a good job, it’s easy for us to find ourselves so focused on work that our personal life takes a backseat.


Although hard work can be satisfying, there is such a thing as working too hard.

Striking a balance between work and downtime is good for us both personally and professionally.

1. Breaks from work can boost productivity

It might sound counterintuitive, but taking time away from work can help you to be more productive.

There’s extensive evidence that breaks have a restorative impact on the brain and body, and employees themselves agree!

94% of employees who take breaks feel like their breaks refreshed their perspective on work.

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Breaks can help to boost concentration and focus during work time. It’s important to factor in both long and short breaks from work for the best results. 

Long breaks, such as evenings, weekends, and periods of annual leave, can help you to switch off from work-related thoughts. They also give staff time to enjoy their hobbies, socialise, and get plenty of physical rest. This way, they feel refreshed and energised when they return to work.

Short breaks throughout the working day, such as mid-morning, lunch, and mid-afternoon breaks, can prevent mental fatigue and help you maintain focus.

Microbreaks are also proven to have a positive impact on productivity.

A microbreak is where you take just a few minutes to step away from your desk or workstation: you might stretch your body, have a quick chat with a colleague, or rest your eyes on something other than your computer screen.

Studies have found that such breaks can improve concentration, increase job satisfaction, produce a calming effect, and reduce the risk of physical injury.

work-life balance to get out and explore nature away from work
Photo by Keegan Houser on Unsplash

2. Downtime lets you prioritise mental health management

We often schedule time off work for specific events like holidays, weddings, and concerts.

While these are important for our well-being, they don’t always help us to truly relax and unwind. Sometimes it’s important to put time aside specifically for mental health management.

Restorative mental health days focus on rejuvenating, uplifting activities that help you get on top of your personal life and in a positive state of mind.

A common mental health day activity is cleaning and organising your home so that you can return to a peaceful, serene environment at the end of each workday.

Exercising and spending time outdoors, both of which can alleviate stress, anxiety and depression, are also great practices for mental health days.

You could also consider journalling, meditating, reading, or embarking on a creative hobby.

Whatever you do, make sure it helps you to switch off from work, decompress, and adopt a more positive mindset.

3. Poor work-life balance is a major cause of stress

Poor work-life balance and stress are strongly correlated.

When much of our time is spent on work, we’re forced to neglect other important aspects of our life such as our relationships, our physical well-being, and our personal interests and hobbies.

All of these things contribute to our overall emotional well-being, so when we neglect them we risk feeling stressed.

The frustration we feel at our poor work-life balance can also contribute to stress.

It’s common to feel overwhelmed by the demands of our personal lives when we don’t feel like we have the time to fulfil them.

Everyone has their own idea of what the perfect work-life balance looks like, but finding the balance that’s right for us is key to preventing stress and feeling satisfied at work.

4. Long working hours can damage our physical health

There’s lots of evidence to show that long working hours can have an adverse effect on our cardiovascular health.

People who work more than 55 hours each week are 1.3 times more likely to have a stroke than those who work 40 hours or less.

The reasons for this are complicated:

  • Firstly, long working hours can increase rates of stress, and the stress hormone cortisol can contribute to high blood pressure.
  • Secondly, long work hours can lead to sleep deprivation which is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, and stroke.
  • Thirdly, when we spend so much time working, we have less free time available to look after our physical health.

Taking regular exercise and consuming a balanced diet are both vital for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.

When we schedule plenty of downtime from work, we have more freedom to embark on enjoyable physical activities and to cook nutritious meals that support our physical health.

Protect your work-life balance

There are many benefits to striking a balance between your work life and your personal life.

Once you’ve established a healthy work-life balance, be sure to protect it by avoiding excessive overtime, mentally switching off from work at the end of each shift, and making good use of your annual leave.


Manage your time with Commusoft

Are you looking for a better way to manage your time at work? Diary Management tools, can transform the way you and your staff use your time!

From having a clear picture of every engineer’s schedule to always booking the best person for the job, there are a ton of reasons to explore how software can improve your time management.

For more information, explore why Commusoft is the perfect solution for your service business, but for more on handling pressure in the workplace, check out the video below:

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Launched in Dec 2020, 6XDMedia are an experienced group for search, PR, media and creative professionals who are passionate about helping brands and businesses build and enhance their presences online.

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