Work and life balance; is it even possible?
Work and life balance has always been an issue for me; even before I had children because I derive such joy from working. But I really started giving this concept more thought roughly a year ago as we planned to meet our second child. I knew life was going to change (again); but finding a balance seemed to be particularly important.
Throughout our 10 year relationship (6 years married) Anthony and I have done a lot of self and relationship reflection. We’ve struggled to find balance, especially when we welcomed our first child and I went back to a 9 to 5 job.
Everyday we try to commit ourselves to our family, working full-time jobs, running a household, our relationship, building our businesses and self-care.
It’s not easy doing all of the things but here’s what I’ve learned. True work and life balance is a myth and even if it weren’t it would be overrated.
Simply put, the law of physics does not allow for enough hours in the day for you to balance all of the things and be mindful. We cannot be awake 24/7; we need to sleep and re-energize to stay sane so that all the things can get done, eventually. It’s simply not possible to balance five to nine things at the same time with the same amount of effort. What is possible is for you to do the best you can when you can. We should acknowledge what we’re not prioritizing, and come to terms with what we’re going to fully pause and resume at a later time.
I thought about how Anthony and I could create a mindful lifestyle for ourselves and for my family.
My family is top priority most of the time (sometimes my work deadlines and responsibilities are the top priority). It shifts and I recognize that I allow for that shift to happen. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned in order to obtain a more mindful lifestyle; they are in no particular order.
1 :: Stick to your boundaries and plan accordingly
- I think this is particularly important when it comes to work and family. It’s so important to have a clear line between work commitments and family time.
- You cannot be all the things to all people; it will take a toll. Again, setting clear boundaries with others but also yourself. Give yourself permission to say no and be alright knowing that saying no does not make you a bad person.
2 :: Self care
- Everyone is talking about self-care but what does it mean? For me, it means taking time to do activities for yourself.
- Maybe you need to decompress or get out and have fun with friends. What are your needs? Is it going to the gym? Maybe it means taking an hour to read a book. Whatever it is, it’s important to carve this time out for yourself, even if it’s once a month. Something is better than nothing.
3 :: Give up the guilt.
- Trying to achieve this concept of true work and life balance is an unrealistic expectation; and frankly those are the worst kinds of expectations.
- Release yourself of any guilt in how you determine what gets prioritized and what doesn’t. Just be sure that whatever was de-prioritized stays on your radar and doesn’t get completely ignored.
4 :: When you can delegate. Delegate. Delegate. Delegation is key. Here are a few of examples of what that might look like:
- Hire a house cleaner (cannot afford a weekly service look into doing a monthly and bi-monthly deep clean).
- Shop online for groceries with pickup or delivery services; this can be life changing especially if you have small children.
- Get a mommy’s helper. You can read more about what a mommy’s helper is here.
5 :: Meal planning. Think about your meals for the next week ahead of time. You can create a menu plan for the week and food prep time on Sunday’s.
Some highlights and things to keep in mind
- Be aware of what your needs are
- Look at what is working and not working to meet those needs
- Think about prioritize the things that meet your needs
- Don’t be afraid to make your needs a priority
- Evaluate, revise and be flexible. The mindful lifestyle you live today may look different in a year or two. As our lives evolve so do our priorities.
This is the first blog of Parentpiphany’s mindful lifestyle series; so if you found this helpful please sign up to receive our newsletter and get notifications on when our next blog is published.
So what’s one thing you can do today to achieve a more mindful lifestyle?
Check out our free resources to help you create a more mindful lifestyle. Share with us, leave your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook page. We would love to hear about your experience with finding a lifestyle that fits your needs. I also invite you to join The Doula Couple every Tuesday for our Facebook live ParenTea Talk.
Authored by Sharita Thompson, M.Ed, HBCE