When I first started working from home, I thought that I would have it made. I would be able to stay home with my littles all day and still make money while wearing my pajamas. To me, it seemed like the perfect work/life balance. However, I soon realized that maintaining a healthy work/life balance is not as easy as one may think. I’ve also learned that trying to work with the littles home can be as challenging as it is enjoyable.
Lately, I have been trying to find my balance. I am a libra and when balance is absent within my life, I tend to feel all sorts of ways. Mainly, I become introverted, anti-social and withdrawn from those around me. I do not want to visit that place so I have made it a point to figure out what works and what does not.
I’ve come up with five practices that have helped me achieve a healthy work/life balance
1.) It is okay to say NO!
I am really big on work ethic and so when business demands are high, I have found myself working extra hours at the beginning or end of my work shift. Making my long 9 hour work day turn into 11 or 12. All the while maintaining and tending to my littles. I’ve realized that by the end of the day I am overly exhausted and have no time left for me. So, although I love to help my company, I have passed on the opportunity to work the extra hours to dedicate more genuine time to my littles and more importantly MYSELF.
2.) Take personal time
Work burnout is a real thing. Actually, burnout in general is a real thing and when you get to that point it is hard to find the enthusiasm to want to continue and perform at your best. This relates to all aspects of life. You find that you just go through the motions and wait anxiously for the “end.” Part of maintaining the work/life balance is to prevent reaching that point. So if you find yourself on auto-pilot take a day off. You deserve it. Refresh your spirit, align your chakras or whatever it is that will bring your balance back.
3.) Personalize your space
The best advice I received in regards to this portion came from a former boss. He told me that you need to remember who you are doing this for. When you start to get lost and forget the purpose behind doing what you’re doing, you need something that is going to ground you. When I worked in the office, I kept a picture of my kids right between my phone and computer. Now that I am home with them, I don’t need the photo but I do need my space to be as peaceful and uplifting as possible. Therefore, I have inspirational quotes on canvas and bright happy colors in my home office. I play music with low volume that brings me peace. I made my space somewhere that I want to be, even when work is getting the best of me.
4.) Leave Work at WORK!!!!
I know it’s easier said than done, but it is a key component in maintaining a healthy work/life balance. Depending on your job, it may be hard to leave for the day and just stop your brain from reverting back to what you need to get done, what’s up next etc. Even more so, for those of us that work at home, it seems nearly impossible to separate the two when home IS work. However, I have made a habit of treating my office space just as that, an office. When I am done working for the day, I shut the door. I ensure that all work related materials stay within the office. And, I do not answer calls or texts about work unless it is an emergency. And I try to be more present in the moment with my family. In doing so, I’ve created a certain degree of separation between the two that has truly been beneficial.
5.) Switch up the routine
Having a set routine can make life easier for us parents in so many ways. To know that when work is finished it is dinner, shower, story time and bed gives us a bit of reprieve. However, that can also cause us to fall into a rut. When everything becomes monotonous, there becomes a lack of urgency or thrill and you find yourself questioning your purpose. So change it up! Forget bath time tonight! The kids will live! I promise. Or, instead of cooking dinner as soon as you walk in the door, order a pizza! It doesn’t have to be major but offer yourself and your family a change. Even the most minor differences can have a large effect.
Just because you are working to pay the bills, doesn’t mean you work to just pay bills.
There is so much that life has to offer us and we have to offer in return. Work has a way of taking over our lives. It consumes our thoughts, or day to day and sometimes even our dreams. Don’t allow it to! Yes, part of being an adult is taking care of responsibilities and we are employed to ensure that our families do not go without. But, we need to be healthy as well. Think about it, your children or spouse can have all the gadgets and gifts but what would they do without YOU!