Work-life balance has become a buzz word in our society. Many people will say they desire work-life balance and some of them are doing it while others don’t know how. Achieving a healthy work-life balance varies from person to person and is often difficult to achieve.
I’ve read many articles that offer tips to finding work-life balance. Most of the articles I’ve read emphasize setting priorities and scheduling. I practice a slightly different approach in achieving my healthy work-life balance.
Be flexible. Life rarely goes according to plan. I can schedule my time down to the minute and still have a list of uncompleted to-dos at the end of the day. When I feel I must live by a set schedule, I create frustration and anxiety in my life. A healthy work-life balance requires flexibility to attend to what’s necessary and let go of what’s not.
Adjust your perspective. Often I find situations that feel important in the moment are not really important in the grand scheme of life. What is important is taking a breath and asking myself, “how important is it?”. The worst case scenario isn’t usually likely to happen. More often than not, everything will be okay no matter if I choose to take one action over another or not act at all. If I am honoring myself while acting with care towards others I am practicing balance.
Set boundaries. It’s easy to feel pulled in many different directions by other people as well as my own goals and expectations of myself. As a friend of mine often says, “I am not an octopus.” I have only two arms and two legs and I can only do one thing well at a time. When practicing work-life balance, I can consider whether requests being made and my own goals for myself are realistic, and I can say no or adjust my goals as needed.
Take care of yourself. Taking good care of my health and wellness is essential to achieving work-life balance. It’s important that I’m getting enough sleep, exercising, eating well, staying hydrated and taking care of my own needs first. There are many opportunities during the day to take care of yourself such as taking breaks at work to get a drink of water while stretching your legs, and enjoying your household chores for the physical activity it provides while recognizing the satisfaction of completing a task.
Be mindful. Whatever I am doing, I do it to the best of my ability, giving the task at hand my full attention. I might expertly manage my schedule and still find myself overwhelmed and unhappy if I am thinking about work while eating dinner at home and thinking about personal relationships while working on a report at work. Being thoughtful and engaged in what I am doing in the moment is the most important activity in enjoying a work-life balance.
Practicing work-life balance is an activity of progress, not perfection. Do what you can and enjoy what you do. When you feel pressured by expectations, remember that a work-life balance will give you the energy and enthusiasm to be your best at your work and your life.