Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential for physical and emotional health, as well as for maintaining healthy relationships and good job performance. That’s because ‘switching-off’ outside of work and immersing ourselves in the present moment allows us to recharge and rejuvenate, thereby reducing the risk of mental health issues and enhancing our overall sense of wellbeing.

On the contrary, when we have poor work-life balance it can result in chronic stress, burnout, and several other physical and mental health issues. In this blogpost we take an in-depth look at some of the most notable consequences of poor work-life balance, and explore some strategies we can implement to avoid these in the long run.

Work-life balance and physical health: The dangers of chronic stress

One of the biggest issues with poor work-life balance is that it leads to chronic stress, which is a threat to both our mental and physical health.

First, let’s look at what exactly ‘chronic stress’ is, and what causes it. We classify stress as ‘chronic’ when it is prolonged and severe, and when it is caused by ongoing stressors in the environment that a person no longer feels able to cope with. In the context of work-life balance, excessive work demands, unrealistic deadlines, or an overwhelming workload can all be contributors to the development of chronic stress.

Some of the most notable physical health issues linked to chronic stress include heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even obesity. Chronic stress can also weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to catching colds or illnesses. That’s why it’s so important to find a healthy work-life balance, as it gives the body and mind the necessary time it needs to relax and restore equilibrium – thereby giving it a better chance at performing optimally in the face of new stressors when we return to work.

Work-life balance and mental health

In addition to chronic stress, poor work-life balance can lead to other mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and burnout.

When we prioritise work at the expense of their personal lives, we miss out on crucial activities that promote relaxation, enjoyment, self-care, and social connections. It is this lack of balance that can result in feelings of isolation, loneliness, and dissatisfaction, which in turn increase the risk of us developing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. In addition, when we don’t allow ourselves adequate time for exercise, hobbies, and sleep, we end up having fewer resources to cope with stress effectively, which can lead to burnout.

How poor work-life balance impacts our relationships

In addition to affecting us as individuals, poor work-life balance can also have a negative effect on our interpersonal relationships with our partners, family members, friends, and colleagues.

When we are overworked and stressed, we tend to have less time and energy to devote to our personal lives and those closest to us, which can lead to conflict, isolation, and feelings of loneliness. When we constantly have work on our minds, we may feel too overwhelmed to socialise, listen to others’ stories, or spend quality time with them.

This inability to connect properly with others can result in feelings of guilt and resentment, which may further contribute to stress and anxiety. What we need to remember, however, is that our relationships can act as a buffer against stress, and that’s why it’s especially important to make time for them and nurture them when we’re going through a stressful period in our lives.

The impact of work-life balance on our work performance

So far, we’ve looked at the many ways in which poor work-life balance can affect us outside of work – but how can it affect us in our jobs?

One of the major downfalls of having a poor work-life balance is that it can negatively impact our job performance and productivity. When we are overworked and stressed, we are more likely to get easily distracted, lose our concentration, struggle to think creatively, and make silly errors. This can lead us to feel demotivated and overwhelmed, which can in turn result in decreased productivity, reduced job satisfaction, and increased absenteeism and turnover – which can be costly for employers.

Practical strategies for improving work-life balance

Now that we’ve identified the many issues associated with poor-work life balance, let’s explore some of the strategies we can implement to better manage and restore this balance.

1. Recognise the signs of chronic stress – It’s important to be aware of the signs of chronic stress, such as irritability, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. Recognising these signs can help you take action early on to reduce your stress levels and restore balance in your life.

2. Prioritise self-care – Practising self-care is crucial for maintaining physical and emotional health. Self-care can include getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and engaging in relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga.

3. Set boundaries – It’s important to set boundaries between one’s work and personal life. This can include setting aside specific hours for specific tasks, turning off work notifications outside of work hours, and saying no to work requests that are outside of your capacity or job description.

4. Learn to delegate – Delegating tasks to others can help reduce workload and stress levels. It’s important to recognise when it’s appropriate to delegate and communicate expectations to team members clearly.

5. Communicate with family and friends – It’s important to communicate with loved ones about work demands and responsibilities. This can help reduce conflict and ensure that you get the support you need to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

6. Take breaks – Taking regular breaks throughout the workday can help reduce stress levels and increase productivity. This can include taking a walk outside, having a healthy snack, or engaging in a quick relaxation exercise or guided meditation.

7. Use your vacation time – Taking time off work is important for mental and physical health. It’s crucial that you use your time off to recharge and engage in activities you enjoy.

By implementing these practical considerations and suggestions, achieving a healthier work-life balance may become a lot easier and feel a lot more doable.


Once we recognise the significance of work-life balance and start taking proactive steps to achieve it, we can pave the way for a more fulfilling and harmonious life, where our mental and physical wellbeing thrives, our relationships flourish, and our professional success becomes a sustainable reality. Remember, prioritising work-life balance is an investment in oneself that yields long-term benefits across all the different areas of life.