Importance of Mental Health & Work-Life Harmony for Well-Being


While thinking about health in general parlance we consider physical appearance or physical health but tend to ignore mental health. Mental and Physical health are equally important for overall health. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Mental Health is important at every stage of life. It enables people to cope with life’s stresses, realize their true potential, and make healthy choices. In short, a person with good mental health can rise to their true potential.

In today’s competitive environment to achieve our professional goals we tend to ignore our mental health which in the long run comes with very huge cost. Thus, maintaining a work-life balance in a stressful environment can be very challenging.

As rightly quoted by Dolly Parton: “Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life”.

Key facts

“Mental health is a basic human right for all people”-WHO:

Almost 60% of the world’s population is working. All workers have the right to a safe and healthy environment at work.  More than 1 out of 5 people are suffering from mental illness. This % is different in Males and females, 1 out of 3 females and 1 out of 5 males have experienced some sort of mental illness.

Importance of Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance refers to our ability to manage our time properly and allocate our labor appropriately, all while continuing to maintain satisfaction in our personal and professional lives. work-life balance is the state of equilibrium where a person equally prioritizes the demands of one’s career and the demands of one’s personal life.

Work-life balance is defined as a person’s ability to fulfill their family and work responsibilities and fulfill other non-work-related commitments and activities done after work hours and free time. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is not about allocating equal time to your activities or each aspect of your work. Work-life balance refers to our ability to manage our time properly and allocate our labor appropriately, all while continuing to maintain satisfaction in our personal and professional lives.

Elements that lead to unhealthy work life

More than half the global workforce works in the informal economy, where there is no regulatory protection for health and safety. These workers often operate in unsafe working environments, work long hours, have little or no access to social or financial protections, and face discrimination, all of which can undermine mental health. Risks due to unhealthy working conditions:

  • Long and inflexible working hours
  • Proper delegation of work
  • Under use of skills
  • Lack of proper planning and unachievable working deadlines
  • Negative and unethical working cultures
  • Discrimination, harassment, or bullying at work
  • Unclear job delegation
  • Job insecurity, inadequate pay scale, or poor investment in working place.
  • No support to handle domestic responsibilities
  • Lack of leisure time.
  • Racial and gender discrimination;

Work can be a setting that amplifies wider issues that negatively affect mental health, including discrimination and inequality based on factors such as race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, social origin, migrant status, religion, or age.

Juggling Professional Stress and Home Stress:

Women are constantly juggling between their professional work and domestic life. They strive to manage both things efficiently thereby not being able to get the minimum leisure time which affects their productivity as well as mental health. Studies have shown that, on average, Indian women spend 21% of their time doing domestic work as compared to Indian men who spend only 5% of their time doing similar tasks. Since there is so much on the plate, constant juggling adds to their struggle.

Fewer work opportunities based on gender:

Even in today’s modern times, women experience limited opportunities being offered to them in comparison to their male peers. Major roles being offered to men break the morale of hardworking and professionally capable women professionals. The LinkedIn Opportunity Index found that 22% of working women in India feel that their company exhibits favoritism toward men at work. Along with that, 85% of women have observed that they missed out on a raise, promotion, or salary hike due to their gender.

When compared to men in India, 37% of women say that they receive less pay for their work compared to 21% of men who feel the same. These work and gender-based expectations are even faced by working mothers because 69% of them stated that they face discrimination at work due to family and household responsibilities. These actions can make women feel unappreciated and worried about their role at work.

Sexual Harassment:

This is an issue that affects women not just in the workplace but outside it as well. The forms of sexual harassment can be physical, verbal, or even visual. This can be difficult to deal with and make women feel unsafe in the workplace.

Measures to improve work-life balance by the Organisation

  1. Employee Assistance Program (EAP):

An Employee Assistance Program assists employees with personal or work-related problems that may be hurting their job performance or well-being. An EAP is a counseling program for the benefit of employees at where employees can share various challenges and issues faced by them like relationship challenges, traumatic events, legal problems, wellness matters, and a broad range of other issues.

  • Offer flexibility:

The managers should offer flexibility and be inclusive towards employees to provide them with a safe workspace. A flexible work environment will aid the employees to work more efficiently and enable them to share their concerns unhesitatingly.

  • Create open lines of Communication:

Efforts should be taken to make sure that the team is informed about any organizational changes or updates. There should be clarity about any modified work hours and norms. Remove stress where possible by setting expectations about workloads, prioritizing what must get done, and acknowledging what can slide if necessary. Proactive communication and norm-setting help people design and preserve the boundaries they need.

  • Creation of Awareness amongst the employees:

Create awareness amongst employees of the available mental health resources and encourage them to use them. Be mindful that shame and stigma prevent many employees from using their mental health benefits to seek treatment, so normalize the use of those services. Leading by example is essential. Addressing problems by the managers is crucial, but taking prompt action by seniors is equally significant.

  • Invest in training:

Now more than ever, you should prioritize proactive and preventive workplace mental health training for leaders, managers, and individual contributors. If you don’t have the budget to invest in training, mental health employee resource groups are a low-cost way to increase awareness, build community, and offer peer support.

  • Modify policies and practices:

To make the work environment stress-free, the managers should be as generous and flexible as possible in updating policies and practices in reaction to the pandemic and civil unrest. For example, you may need to take a closer look at your rules and norms around flexible hours, paid time off, email and other communications, and paid and unpaid leave. Seniors can reframe performance reviews as opportunities for compassionate feedback and learning instead of evaluations against strict targets.

  • Establish Trust:

Try to allow employees the opportunity to complete tasks on their own without micromanagement while still providing them with the resources and support necessary to complete their duties efficiently. Increased trust can help employees become more confident in their roles. 

  • Remind employees of their purpose

Remind employees that their roles are important, regardless of their particular position in the organization.

  • Listen to the employee’s concerns:

Proactive listening to the employee’s concerns, experiences, and expectations from the workplace can help release their stress along with building an atmosphere of trust and cooperation among the workforce and managers.

  1. Eliminate Personal Bias:

Many individuals tend to prejudge issues and concerns or make false assumptions about various situations and problems surrounding needs and concerns based on personal bias. These opinions blind many to the other person’s point of view, which needs to be understood in order to move the communication process forward. While listening individuals should be taking the time to develop pertinent questions to expand upon the information shared.

  1. Create Support Groups for Women:

They can create support groups for women employees that allow them to share these struggles in a confidential and non-judgemental environment. Being able to vent about these feelings and get support from others who’ve been in similar situations can help lower stress levels in women workers.

  1. Discuss salaries and role requirements openly in the company so there is transparency among team members:

This helps women understand their role expectations and how their salary matches up to the men in the team.

  1. Set up a counseling policy at work:

The organization can provide counseling services to its employees so that they receive mental health support when needed.

  1. Clear prevention of sexual harassment (POSH) policies at work:

The HR department must keep reminding employees about the steps to speak about harassment, file complaints, and keep them updated about its impact. When women feel heard and see actionable steps being taken, it can lead to more disclosure.

  1. Provide work-from-home facilities to employees at regular intervals:

This will help the employees to spare time for their tasks and can be an effective way to strike a balance between home and work. A hybrid working system can prove to be a boon for working parents.

  1. Focus on effective working hours and not the length of working hours:

The management should place the focus on productivity rather than the number of working hours put into work by the employees. This ideology will benefit not only the employees but also managers as targets can be achieved efficiently and in a stress-free setup.

Measures to improve work-life balance by the Employees

  1. Self-love and self-care:

Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself and valuing oneself regardless of the opinions of others. It is like a warm hug to one’s self. It is important to love your self for your self-confidence and happiness. Practicing and prioritizing self-love and self-care can benefit an individual’s overall well-being.

  • Setting boundaries:

“Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices”-Betsy Jacobson

Establishing clear boundaries between personal and professional life is an effective measure of mental well-being.

  • Ask for help:

It’s okay to ask for help, delegate tasks, and share the workload. Doing this can help release stress.

  • Learn to say no:

Saying no to additional workload and pressure that seems unable to handle should not be looked down upon.

  • Be organized:

Assessing one’s work-life and making mindful changes and adjustments can help to avoid any signs of imbalance, such as chronic exhaustion, increased stress, or neglecting personal relationships.

  • Fix your body:

A healthy body leads to a healthy mind and a healthy mind is the most important tool you can have as a professional.

  • Don’t be harsh on yourself:

Focus on progress, not perfection. Fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Removing the fear of being perfect will help alleviate stress and will also help an individual to think better and without pressure. Fear of perfection kills the creativity of a person whereas small yet constant improvements help in boosting self-confidence.

As rightly quoted by Sheryl Sandberg-“Trying to do it all and expecting that it can be done exactly right is a recipe for disappointment. Perfection is the enemy.”

  • Take regular breaks from work:

Taking short breaks from work fuels productivity and increases focus. It can also help to prevent decision fatigue.

Strategies to achieve a balanced work-life

  1. Stress reduction:

 Achieving a work-life balance helps to alleviate excessive stress and prevent burnout. When individuals have time and energy for activities outside of work, such as spending time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies, or engaging in self-care, they can better manage stress levels and reduce the risk of mental health issues associated with chronic stress.

  • Enhanced mental resilience:

By having a well-rounded life that includes both work and personal interests, individuals can develop greater mental resilience. Engaging in activities outside of work fosters personal growth, builds self-esteem, and provides a sense of purpose and fulfillment. These factors contribute to better emotional well-being and enable individuals to better cope with challenges and setbacks.

  • Improved relationships:

Balancing work and personal life allows individuals to prioritize their relationships with family, friends, and loved ones. Nurturing and maintaining these connections can provide emotional support, a sense of belonging, and a network of people to rely on during difficult times. Positive and supportive relationships have a protective effect on mental health.

  • Increased productivity and job satisfaction:

Paradoxically, working excessively long hours and neglecting personal life can lead to decreased productivity, motivation, and job satisfaction. When individuals can establish boundaries and dedicate time to recharge and pursue their interests outside of work, they often return to work feeling more refreshed and focused, leading to increased productivity and overall job satisfaction.

  • Self-care and well-being:

A work-life balance allows individuals to prioritize self-care, which is essential for maintaining mental health. Engaging in activities that promote physical health, such as exercise, sufficient sleep, and healthy eating, as well as activities that bring joy and relaxation, can significantly improve mental well-being and reduce the risk of mental health problems.



In the end, we want to sum up this with the quote of Albert Einstein- “Strive not to be a success, but rather be of value”.  We should focus on overall development and not only material success. The success should be achieved along with good health and mental peace. 

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