4 Steps for Putting the Life into Work-Life Balance
by Shiri Macri, MA, LCMHC, Behavior Leader at Green Mountain at Fox Run, a Women’s Healthy Weight & Wellness Retreat.
It always amazes me that with all of our modern day advances and technologies aimed at making things easier and more efficient, there are still never enough hours in the day. Remember the days of the dial-up? When sending an email was a whole ritual of sitting at the computer, waiting through that loud connection process, linking into email accounts or even further back… the good old days of snail mail? Now, we’ve got a handy little rectangular device right in our pockets and can text a thought to someone in an instant, yet even though we just saved that 20 minutes of writing and mailing a letter, or sitting and waiting to get connected, we still hardly have enough time for our self. Maybe it’s a demanding career with lots of travel and little home time, perhaps a busy household or family demands, or maybe both. So how do we balance it all? Where is the life in work-life balance? Are you placing you on the list at all? What does living mean to you? What are your pleasures? Your joys? What relaxes you? Here are some steps you might consider taking to bring life back into the mix:
Write out a weekly schedule
Sometimes when we’re stressed and pressured, our perception is foggy. There may actually be periods of unscheduled time that we’re unaware of (perhaps small periods, but any little bit helps).
Identify on your schedule the “have-to’s” vs “want-to’s”
Maybe a meeting or two that you don’t really need to be at. Perhaps time with extended family can be shortened by an hour or two. Are the kids’ schedules too full? Take a look, maybe there’s a way to carve out some time.
Put that computer/tablet/smartphone away
Make a concerted effort to put technology down for a period of time every day. That email can wait until later. Consider only responding to work email within an hour of work hours and to personal emails during ‘reasonable’ times (e.g. 8a-7p). Grant yourself those early morning and late evening times as tech-free times.
Add something pleasurable, joyful, or relaxing
Now that you’ve mapped out a schedule, carved out some time by rescheduling a few “have-to’s,” and created some tech-free time, try putting your “I want to’s” into that slice of time you found.
Ideas can include: time with friends, a mani/pedi, a short meditation, a bath, a massage, drawing or creating art, a little meditating, a craft, a walk, going to see live music, watching a sunrise/sunset, going to a play, meditation, and so on!
Notice a little repetition? That’s purposeful. Meditation can take as little as 5 minutes or as long as you want it to take, and it is one of the most impactful activities of reducing stress and increasing relaxation.
So go forth and balance yourself into your life. You’re worth it!