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カテゴリーのアイコン Work Life in Japan
Finding Balance: Inspirational Quotes for Foreign Nationals Working in Japan
Oct 06, 2023
6 min read
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Top Image Header image Credit: TimeImage Production/Shutterstock.com

For non-Japanese adjusting to work in Japan, finding a healthy work-life balance can be difficult within the fast-paced and demanding work culture. However, prioritizing self-care and maintaining a balance between work and personal life is crucial. In this article, we will explore quotes about work-life balance and provide tips to help you achieving a healthy and sustainable career in Japan.

The Importance of Maintaining Work-Life Balance

Japan is infamous for having an intense work culture. There has been continued criticism for the last century pointing out the long-hours, difficulties working overtime, and unreasonable relationships in the company hierarchy.

On one hand, there has been considerable improvements since the COVID-19 Pandemic, and with new legislation being introduced, people are slowly adjusting to a more free-form style of work. However, with many of the Japanese ideals still held deeply by many companies, overworking is widely considered to still be a significant social issue.

With that being said,

  1. It is crucial for your well-being that you strike a balance between your work and personal life. Without proper balance, you may risk burnout or exhaustion, which can have a negative impact on both physical and mental health.
  2. In regards to Japanese firms, it is essential to foster a culture that emphasizes work-life balance. Encouraging employees to take breaks and prioritize self-care will reduce the risk of exhaustion, as well as increase job satisfaction and productivity.

Quotes to Encourage Work-Life Balance

1. "Success lies in finding happiness through your work, not the other way around." - Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) was a physician, philosopher, theologian, and organist. Among other notable figures, including Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi, he has been called one of the humanists of the 20th century.

2."Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful." - Albert Schweitzer

There is a typical misconception that success precedes happiness; when in reality, it is incredibly difficulty to be successful without enjoying your work.

3. "Don't confuse having a career with having a life". - Hillary Clinton

In the pursuit of success, it is easy to lose sight of what is truly important: our personal lives. This quote by Hillary Clinton is a powerful reminder not to let your career take over everything.

While work is important, never forget to maintain a full and balanced life outside the office. Prioritizing relationships, hobbies, and self-care will enhance your overall well-being in the long run.

4. "Work hard, but don't forget to enjoy life." - Unknown

Working hard is great, but we must not forget to enjoy life. Finding a balance between "professional responsibility" and "personal happiness" is important for all generations.

5. "Balance is not something you find, it's something you create." - Unknown

In the pursuit of work-life balance, it is important to remember that balance is not found by accident. Rather, it is a conscious effort that requires commitment, beginning with prioritizing self-care and setting boundaries between work and personal life.

Tips for Achieving Work-Life Balance in Japan

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Set boundaries and learn to say "no”

Establishing clear and reasonable work hours is an important first step to achieve a balance between work and personal life. These boundaries will allow you to relax and recharge outside of work.

In Japan, gatherings such as nomi-kai (drinking with colleagues) are considered to be important to your social life within the company. While it may be fun to participate in these from time to time, communicating your availability is also an essential part of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Clearly communicate to your co-workers and supervisor when you cannot come to work or do not want to be disturbed, and make sure that those around you respect your personal time.

Finally, recognizing the importance of personal time is crucial. Make sure to set time aside for non-work activities that bring you joy and fulfillment, such as spending quality time with your loved ones or immersing yourself in your hobbies.

Create effective relationships with colleagues

Building strong relationships with colleagues can play a big part in creating a supportive network in the workplace. By fostering positive connections, you can cultivate an environment of cooperation and mutual support. Take the initiative in engaging with your colleagues through team-building activities and casual conversations during breaks.

Finding a mentor in the same field is another valuable way to establish a strong support system. Seek out experienced professionals who can offer guidance, advice, and insight for your career journey. A mentor can provide a valuable perspective to help you overcome challenges as you progress in your work.

Prioritize self-care and leisure activities

  1. Set aside at least 30 minutes each day for exercise: Incorporating regular physical activity into your routine can be an effective step to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Finding ways to stay active, such as going for a morning jog, going to the gym, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, can boost energy levels and reduce stress (via Harvard Health Publishing).
  2. Start with simple mindfulness exercises like deep breathing: Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help you focus and reduce anxiety. Simply taking a few minutes each day to quiet your mind and focus on the present moment can have a significant effect on your physical and mental health.
  3. Devote time for hobbies and interests: Dedicating time to hobbies and interests can allow you to relax and recharge. Whether it be painting, playing a musical instrument, or exploring new places, devoting time to these things will help you maintain a sense of fulfillment outside of work.

A Healthier Approach to Work

Because today's workplace culture, especially in Japan, tends to emphasize drive and ambition, employees can tend to overextend themselves. While it is not always a bad thing to be invested in your job, it is even more important for individuals to recognize that excessive work only negatively impacts mental health and productivity.

To prevent burnout, it is important to strike a balance between dedication to work and self-care; taking breaks throughout the day and incorporating short periods of mindfulness into the daily routine can help to improve focus when returning to the task at hand. Keep in mind the quotes introduced in this article, and be careful to check your stress levels!

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