At some point in everyone’s career, there comes a time where work-related priorities begin to overshadow personal ones. Creating a functional balance between the two does not happen overnight; some compromise is required—on both ends—to create a fulfilling and low-stress life. In an age of constantly being “plugged in” and “on call,” having a work-life balance is more important than ever before.
Allow for some overlap
It is often suggested work and personal lives are to be kept as separate as possible. However, placing strict time constraints on yourself, for example, to stop working immediately at five o’clock or only allowing a certain number of hours for self-care is unhealthy and counterproductive. Allowing some overlap between personal and professional lives, without one overpowering the other, is the first step to finding a happy medium. One simple way to begin creating this balance is creating a designated space in your home strictly for working. Having separate spaces for work or relaxation makes it easier to focus, and also prevents areas designed for relaxation (bedroom, living room, etc.) from becoming associated with stress or work. However, prioritizing responsibilities and learning to say “no” are still the most effective ways to take control over a hectic workload.
Make time for what is important to you
Falling into an unbalanced work-life schedule is much easier than creating a balanced one — but it’s not impossible. Constantly taking on additional, unplanned responsibilities are one of the main ways that personal needs become neglected. The power of saying “no” or “not right now” is a marvelous one and a necessary part of growing both personally and professionally. While this is much easier said than done, being intentional about dedicating time to enjoy, non-work interests is an essential part of maintaining a work-life balance. For those who may not have a go-to activity, practices such as yoga, running or jogging, painting, and reading are all common stress relievers.
If it is difficult to set even a few hours aside per week for self-care practices, start with dedicating a couple minutes every day. Many guided meditation and breathing exercises only take one to three minutes, and some drugstore face masks can rejuvenate tired skin in under twenty minutes. Scheduling a family movie night, date night or girls’ night out are also great ways to unwind with friends and family. Surrounding yourself with people who are interested in your well-being only add to the effects of a steady work-life balance.
Can women really have it all?
A successful career, engaged in social life, and healthy self-care routine is the balanced life that many women dream of, which prompts the age-old question: can women really have it all? The short answer question is: yes, but not necessarily all at once. A recent survey by Bank of America which studied more than 1,000 small businesses owners revealed that 78% of women entrepreneurs believe they have discovered a healthy work-life balance. What may work for one woman, may not work for another. The process of creating a work-life balance is based on trial and error, and compromise.
Also, just because a balance has been achieved does not mean that it is permanent. There may be times where work responsibilities may be the top priority for a few weeks, or a solo weekend getaway may put everything else on the backburner. This is not the sign of an unbalanced work-life relationship. Developing the ability to “have it all” at different times, while maintaining a sense of control is exactly what a work-life balance is all about.