The work and personal life balance is a common struggle for many. As a mom of five year old twins, I have personally felt the struggle of balancing household responsibilities, caring for my family, and working all while trying to live in alignment with my personal values. It’s important to figure out what balance works best for you, even if it looks different from somebody else’s. If your head, heart, and gut are in agreement, then you know you’ve figured it out! Here are some thoughts to help you arrive at that balance.
- Remind yourself of your priorities, and figure out what is most important to you. Trying to do everything, all at once, will almost certainly lead to burnout. If what you do on a daily basis does not seem in alignment with your highest priorities, it’s time for some changes. Make sure you know what you DO want, rather than simply what you DON’T want. For example, instead of saying “I don’t want to be stressed and yell at my kids anymore,” say “I would like to be more patient and understanding while also setting firm limits.”
- Notice obstacles that block your goals. For example, if spending time with your children is your number one priority, what gets in your way? You may need to say no to work or friends more often. Be prepared to make adjustments to your life if necessary, but make small changes. Doing too much at once can lead to feeling overwhelmed and quitting. Say “I will” instead of “I’ll try.” Believe in your abilities to make changes that are really important to you. Pay attention to any negative self talk and replace it with a more positive statement.
- Comparing yourself to others takes away from your own happiness. Comparison is tricky because we compare how we feel inside, to how another appears on the outside. It also helps to remind yourself that everyone has their own unique gifts, hobbies, personality traits, etc. That’s what keeps life interesting!
- Be fully present with whatever you are doing. Somewhere along the way we all got the idea that multitasking is a skill to be admired. However research shows this really is not as helpful as we would like to think. What is more effective is to be engaged with whatever you are doing, and not be distracted by other thoughts or activity. A zen proverb that states this beautifully: “when walking, walk. When eating, eat.”
- By remembering the importance of doing one thing at a time, you can keep yourself from being on autopilot and rushing around. With practice, we can train our brain to focus on what we are doing. There are numerous benefits from truly living in the moment. When we don’t, we miss out on connections with our loved ones, opportunities to do our best work, and a feeling of inner peace. If you find that you continually struggle with being in the present moment, try this simple grounding exercise to reorient yourself to the here and now. Sit still for a moment and name three things you see, three things you hear, three things you smell and three things you feel. This can help you from getting lost in your anxious thoughts.
- Remember that finding balance is a process and sometimes our priorities change. Be open to what your life is telling you. Next week stay tuned for some more thoughts on this important topic!
For any questions or comments regarding this article, or to make an appointment, you can contact Laura Novak, LCSW, CADC at x151, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.