During November, there is a focus on improving men’s health and reducing the stigma around men seeking help for mental and physical health concerns.
An important aspect of improving the general health and wellbeing of men is to focus on work-life balance.
What is work life balance?
Work-life balance is when you achieve harmony between the different aspects in your life. Working long hours can impact mental and physical health, including increased stress.
While small amounts of stress can be a good thing, prolonged stress may have a negative impact on your health.
Work-life balance may be achieved by moving to part-time hours, requesting flexible working so that you can work from home, starting and finishing work earlier, ensuring you have time away from devices out of hours if possible, or another arrangement that will work for you while still allowing you to fulfil your role at work.
Adjusting to family life
Traditionally, women have taken on the role of raising children and looking after the house while their male partner went to work.
It is becoming more common today for men to take on more of this role and share these responsibilities equally, or for the roles to be reversed however there is still a long way to go for this to be considered the norm.
Adjusting to family life can be difficult for men, especially when babies tend to have a high dependency on their mother in the early days.
It’s important to speak with your partner about what you want your role in the family to look like and how you can achieve that together.
|Do you want to pick up the kids from day care and take them to the park before they go to bed? Working your hours flexibly could help with this.|
|Does your partner want to return to work so you can be the primary carer? You may consider working part-time or accessing parental leave to allow you to do this for a period of time.|
|Do you like preparing all the meals in your house? Working from home eliminates commute time which gives you more time for activities you find enjoyable.|
How to prioritise your wellbeing
Juggling work, personal life, family, social commitments, and everything else in between can be a challenge.
Here are some tips to help you prioritise your wellbeing:
It’s important to share how you’re feeling with your partner and/or loved ones so they can help you achieve your wellbeing goals.
|Find time for yourself
Take time to do something that makes you happy. It could be as simple as having a cup of tea and reading a few pages of a book. Try to carve out some time each day that is just for you.
|Use your leave
Taking a break is important! There are lots of options available to support families. Check your family leave policy, see what statutory leave is available from the government and take your annual leave.
You don’t need to go it alone. Speak to a friend, loved one, GP or other health professional who can help you if you’re struggling.
|Seek flexible working hours
This may do wonders for your wellbeing and your family life. For a lot of roles, working 9-5 isn’t the norm anymore and most employers have policies to support employees finding ways of working that suit them. If you’re not sure, speak to your HR team.
|Get regular exercise
This doesn’t always need to be an extra activity factored into your already busy day. If you get public transport to work, get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way. Go for a walk around the block on your lunch break. Chase the kids around the park.
There is no perfect answer to enhancing wellbeing for women or men. What is important is to identify what matters most to you and make that your priority.
Whatever you do, looking after your wellbeing is a great way to enhance your health and your enjoyment of life.