Breaking the burnout cycle: How to create a healthy work-life balance

James Lawson

Feb 20, 2023

Breaking the burnout cycle: How to create a healthy work-life balance


The Covid-19 crisis shone a bright light on a work well-being issue that’s been simmering away in the background for a number of years. This is of course, work-life balance.

For many people, the pressures of the pandemic threw any sense of a healthy work-life balance totally off course. Increased homeworking blurred the boundaries between home and work, and the need to be ‘always on’ has left many of us feeling burned out.

The pandemic also triggered a reassessment of what’s important in life. Employees reevaluated their priorities and decided that working long hours and answering emails at the weekend is just not worth the cost to their well-being.

But achieving a healthy work-life balance is easier said than done, you may start off with the best of intentions, but soon find yourself sucked back into a system of demanding work pressures. Unhealthy work behaviours are often normalised, which can sometimes make it difficult to even identify that there’s an issue.

To help with this, here are some warning signs to look out for:

  • You feel tired all the time
  • You struggle to focus on work-life
  • You almost never take any time off
  • You feel like you’re neglecting your personal relationships
  • You regularly work overtime, or finish up work on evenings and weekends
  • You find it difficult to switch off after work.

Steps to improve work-life balance in 2023

The good news is that there are practical steps you can take to make a tangible improvement to the balance of your professional and personal life.

Check-in on yourself

The energy that you bring into the office especially if you manage a team, plays a key role in how you and the people you work with view their role, so make sure your body language & general demeanour project a professional image at all times.

 If you are approachable, positive, and supportive this helps create a positive work environment and fosters a culture of engagement and motivation among team members. Your colleagues are more likely to feel comfortable bringing up concerns, issues and ideas, which can help to improve the performance of the team all round.

Lead by example

Managers should lead by example when it comes to work-life balance because it sets the tone for the rest of the team. If you are constantly working late and sending emails outside of normal business hours, it can create an expectation that this is the norm, and employees may feel pressured to do the same.

On the other hand, if you can maintain a healthy work-life balance, it can help foster this approach throughout the organization. Additionally, a manager who leads by example in this way is likely to be more productive and engaged in their work, which can have a positive impact on the performance of the team as a whole.

Delegate your workload

The ability to effectively delegate tasks is crucial to the efficiency and effectiveness of your team as a whole, as well as your own work-life balance. It allows you to focus on more important and high-level tasks, such as planning, decision-making, and problem-solving.  That extra time may be put towards mentorship and team building, which in turn can boost overall team output.

Take regular breaks

Start 2023 off with a positive change – start using all of your lunch breaks for lunch and leisure, rather than working. You can also jumpstart new working patterns, such as taking a 15-minute break for every 90 minutes of work. Or you can try the Pomodoro technique which is a popular method consisting of these simple steps;

  • Pick one project or task you want to focus on.
  • Set a timer for 25-30 minutes, and get to work.
  • When the buzzer sounds, take a two-to-three-minute break.
  • Repeat.
  • After four sessions, take a longer break.
  • Record each session with a tick or X in your notebook

Become an early bird

The early bird catches the worm! Your work-life balance may improve if you start making an effort to get up earlier and utilise that time to get things done that you would normally do in the evening, including working out, answering emails, and doing chores.

In the morning, before a full day of work, when your mind is fresh and you have some time to yourself, you are far more likely to get things done and this productivity will set you up well for the day, as ticking items off your list early on creates a productive rhythm for the whole day.

Switch off to recharge

It’s easy to fall into the cycle of picking up work over the weekend, but it is important to take a break and switch off, in order to come back to work on Monday with fresh eyes and a clear mind.

Identify the root cause of why you feel the need to carry work over into the weekend, are you not delegating enough? Are you using your time effectively during working hours? Whatever it is, you need to address it in order to have the ability to switch off from work on a weekend.

Hold yourself accountable for your work, set clear tasks for your team and check in regularly with them throughout the week to ensure tasks are completed in a timely manner in office hours.

If you’re looking to make a change in 2023, find your dream role through Cast UK. We work on behalf of many businesses that have a culture of prioritising employee wellbeing.