A work-life balance is important for everyone. It helps to improve mental health and can prevent burnout. Unfortunately, about 66% of employees in the U.S. don’t believe they have a good work-life balance.
If you’re one of the 1-2% of the U.S. population who is an empath, finding a better work-life balance is even more important.
A work-life balance allows you to leave what happens in your workplace there, so you can focus on the rest of your life when you’re at home. That includes being fully invested in your family, friends, relationships, or just your own self-care. Having a healthy work-life balance allows you to keep your emotions balanced, too.
When you achieve a strong work-life balance, you can remain in the present moment and be mindful of what’s going on around you, rather than focusing on something that happened today at the office, or with a co-worker, patient, friend, or customer. As an empath, it can be harder to shut off those feelings when you walk through the door each day. While you may not be able to completely shake them, there are ways you can achieve a better work-life balance, let go of anxieties, and feel more at peace in your own home.
When You Help Others All Day
It’s not uncommon for empathetic people to have jobs where they help others. Some of those careers might include nursing, public service, or social work. In any career when you spend your day helping others or working directly with people, you might find yourself taking on their emotions. For example, social workers have to deal with highly-sensitive and emotional situations every day. Sometimes, those situations include families and children. It can be difficult not to attach yourself to those circumstances and think about them, even when you’re home.
But, if you help others all day and carry some of that weight with you even when you’re not working, you aren’t giving yourself time to live your own life. There is an old saying that suggests you can’t pour from an empty cup. Though being empathetic allows you to feel the weight of what others are feeling, letting that take over your life makes it harder to actually help those people.
While working a job where you help others can stress you out from time to time, it’s important to know when it’s affecting your work-life balance. Some of the most notable signs include:
- Changes in eating habits
- Feeling anxious
- Refusing to take breaks
- Increasing your caffeine intake by a significant amount
- Falling behind at work
- Feeling sick and weak more often than usual
Pay attention to any of these warning signs, as they could be letting you know you’re focused too much on your job (and the people involved), and not giving enough attention to your personal life.
When You’re Working from Home
Working from home has become more common than ever thanks to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, working remotely doesn’t automatically mean you’ll have a better work-life balance. As an empath, it’s easy to get distracted watching the news and worrying about the people affected by everything from pandemics to protests. If your family is at home, you might also have a hard time paying more attention to work and less attention to their needs.
There are a few things you can do to make a work-life balance easier on yourself, even when you’re home all day.
First, designate dedicated working hours, and let your family know that you won’t be available during that time. It’s a good idea to follow a daily routine in order to get yourself in the right mindset. That includes waking up at the same time each day, showering, getting dressed, and going to your “office.” When your workday is done, make sure to spend time with your friends or family, and develop a nighttime routine as well. That should include going to sleep around the same time each night. You can make that easier on yourself by creating an ideal space for sleeping so you’ll feel refreshed in the morning.
To carry your balanced mental health through the day, you should also have your own office space within your home, and customize it in a way that will be comforting but not distracting. Your own workspace will make it easier to focus on what you need to do for the day. You can also promote a positive mental health space within your home office by including photographs of your family, setting up a desk by natural light, or hanging up artwork to boost brain power and alleviate anxiety.
When You Need Support
Another way to achieve a better work-life balance is to have some support of your own. If you spend most of your day thinking about others and you let those feelings weigh on you, it’s important to have something (or someone) who can be there for you.
While family and friends can be great pieces to a support system, you might also benefit from the love and support of a dog. Adopting a pet is an incredibly fulfilling experience. They will love you unconditionally, and you will always have someone to lean on when you’re feeling anxious or stressed.
There are many things to keep in mind when adopting a dog, especially if you’re choosing an older pet who might have a pre-existing condition (such as allergies, diabetes, or arthritis). Make sure you look into treatment options for them and determine if pet insurance is the right move for you.
As an empath, you can’t expect to do everything on your own. Carrying the weight of other people’s burdens on your shoulders is a difficult and challenging experience at times. Taking those feelings home with you can lead to stress, anxiety, or even depression. With that in mind, remember these tips to find a better work-life balance, and feel more at peace in the comfort of your own home.