My life changed for the better when I became a mother in 2016. One thing that I had to learn quickly was the concept of work/life balance and the gravity of excelling at it. Without proper balance between your life and your work you will frequently feel exhausted, overwhelmed, restless, and indignant. These emotions can only build for so long before you find yourself burnt out and lethargic. When you are imbalanced you can feel like you are burning the candle on both ends. Consequently, you are unable to fully put your best foot forward in any aspect because you are running on a fraction of your capabilities. Below are four ways that you can establish more balance in your work and personal life:
1.Self-care. Self-care is one of the major ways to increase your work/life balance. It is easy to get caught up in the daily hustle and bustle and forget about yourself. You will be able to better tend to the needs of others after you have properly cared for yourself. Find time to recharge yourself and do something that you enjoy. You can make time every day to care for yourself. This can be as simple as taking time out of your day to be thankful, or slow down your pace so you do not feel like you are barely floating above water.
2.Time management. Along the lines of self-care is having balance in the way you delineate your time. This is key to creating balance especially if children and/or a partner is involved. There needs to be time set aside for yourself, family time, and time exclusively with your partner. Problems will start to arise if you find yourself putting work over your family or your children over your spouse because you are operating in an unbalanced manner.
- Monitor your inputs. Sometimes we find ourselves so glued to the screen that we end up misusing our free time. Make it a rule to unplug and have more time without the bombarding of social media, television, and outside distractions. If you make a rule that you will not engage in work related tasks after 7pm make that a point to keep that boundary. Many times we feel that there is “not enough time in the day”. However, if you were to take into account the time you are idling using you would be surprised to see how much more effectively you could be utilizing your time. Make a 24 hour log of what you do in a day and see what is a priority and what is not. In doing this you will better be able to see what can be eliminated and how time can be used more to your advantage.
- Be okay leaving work at work. Being able to compartmentalize your work stress will help eliminate carrying that home with you. If you have had a stressful day make it a point to discuss that with your significant other or roommate first ting when you get home. Take the car ride home as time to destress and process. Before you leave work tie up any loose ends, tidy up your work space, and make a to-do list for the next day. If you leave scattered and unorganized it can leave you stress about what all is left to do. Take preventative action and make a routine in wrapping up your work day so you can leave feeling more accomplished and having closure.
- Flex your “No” muscle. Sometimes it can be hard to say no because you feel guilty. However, it is a healthy coping skill to be able to say “No” more often. Muscles do not grow overnight you have to be intentional and train them. Saying no may not come naturally, but through practice it will become easier to say “No”. If you find yourself being overextended take a step back and found out if you have overinvolved yourself. Are you consistently say yes when you feel it is best to say no? If you find people pleasing behaviors or the ability to say no a personal challenge it is okay to get assertiveness training to assist you in finding your voice.
Your mental health will greatly improve when you are better able to establish a separate line between your work and your personal life. If you find yourself frazzled and restless then it is time to check in on what you could be doing differently. Tell-tale signs of imbalance are when you feel restless, apathetic, and burnt out. You do not have to feel like your life is the proverbial “hamster wheel”. If you feel you are simply waking up, tackling the day, and going to bed to do it all over again than something is out of order. God calls us to live a fruitful life and one more abundantly. If you feel that you are not flowing in abundance ask God what you need to do to tackle the daily stresses more effectively.
You no longer have to feel stretched thin. Make a game plan to curb these feelings by implementing the above to create more balance. The definition of work life balance is as follows “the proper prioritization between work and your life”. This definition has powerful implications. Keeping every aspect of your life in proper order is of paramount importance. Give yourself grace in this time. If you feel guilty that you have not spent more time with your children or spouse you can make the change to put everything in proper order today!