It’s a word that gets used a lot these days, especially where family and work are concerned. That precious “Work/Life” balance seems increasingly elusive in a culture where bills must be paid, dinner must be made, soccer games must be attended, social events must be run, and both parents (or single parents) must work 9-5 or more in order to make ends meet.
Often enough, in the midst of life’s increasing chaos, things like personal health and alone time go by the wayside in order to handle all the external pressure. While that sort of self-sacrificing approach can be noble on the surface, it can actually be damaging to a family as a whole in the long run. Parents can suffer physical, mental, and emotional breakdowns if they devote all their resources to others without finding some way to balance their own needs in the mix.
So how does it happen? What can you do to carve out some healthy margin for yourself and your family and resist being pulled in all directions at once?
Here are 5 ways you can better balance that trio of work/family/personal needs and establish a healthier overall lifestyle:
- Track Your Time – Do you have any idea how much time you’re devoting to work, family needs, and yourself? Is one area receiving 90%+ of your schedule while all the others have to scrounge for a few minutes of your attention? You might not realize how off-kilter your schedule is until you actually start paying attention to it.
- Learn to Say No – You do not have to be the family superhero who does everything for everyone all the time. The same goes at work. If you’re overloaded with stress and people keep piling higher expectations on you, eventually it will break down, or you’ll get to the point where your quality of work will suffer because you’re just too spread out.
- Establish Personal Boundaries – Beyond just saying “No” when necessary, you’ve got to realize that your needs are just as important as everyone else’s. Find a physical space where you can be alone for at least a little while each day. Give yourself time to get to the gym, have a massage, go to the spa, or otherwise get away from the daily routine that can wear you down.
- Get a Support System! – Other people are in the exact same situation as you are, feeling overwhelmed and pulled in every direction at once. But what if you came together and found ways to relieve the pressure on each other? Things like carpools, group childcare, collaborative meal-making, and similar are great ways to share in the effort and make larger tasks more manageable.
- Communicate – If you never tell anyone what you need, how can they know how to fulfill them? Let your family know if you need a few hours alone during the week. Let your boss know if you need a bit of margin to get your job done at a higher level of productivity and quality. Otherwise, their ignorance can make a bad situation worse.
Overall, by taking care of yourself and establishing balance in all areas of life, you’ll not only enjoy greater mental, physical, and emotional health, but also be empowered for better performance in your job and family care!