There is a notification on my phone that I will not look at until Monday. It is from my boss regarding a current project I am working on. While my knee-jerk reaction is to reply straight away, my more rational side is telling me to maintain the boundaries between work and my personal life.
I struggle with maintaining a work/life balance and somehow never saw how it impacted my mental health until I began working from home during the 2020 lockdowns. I felt like I had to be on call and ready to respond or my co-workers would think I wasn't pulling my weight. As a result, my mental health declined drastically, and found my anxiety levels elevated.
In order to survive 2020, I had to draw a line in the sand. Unless it was an emergency, I kept work business to working hours.
The pandemic disrupted traditional office dynamics, forcing millions to become creative and adapt to new conditions. This includes separating work life from home life when the locations are one and the same.
Even when office life began to regain a sense of normalcy, keeping a healthy work/life balance is still mandatory. Many workers (especially younger ones), have worked in valuable roles under the impression that they are replaceable unless they are available 24/7. And this is just simply not true.
The inability to separate your work life from your personal life does more than just damage your mental health. It impacts relationships with family and friends, impedes the ability to focus free time on hobbies and relationships, and causes physical problems, such as high blood pressure.
Maintaining boundaries is healthy and necessary to keep from burning out physically and mentally. It can be difficult for some (myself included) to maintain these boundaries, but with practice, it can become a habit.