The Work-Life Balance – 3 Keys to Self-Care
“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.” Anna Taylor
Have you ever felt like a candle burning at both ends?
You wake up early to finish household chores, then speed off to your 9 to 5, then rush to run essential errands, and eventually come home late to find yourself drained.
You have targets to meet but the plumber’s coming tomorrow.
That report is due but the little one has an exam coming up.
Your muscles hurt and your mind is drained. It feels like you’ve been on the move since the last century and the responsibilities won’t stop flooding in.
You have no time for yourself.
You are not alone.
Struggling to strike a satisfactory balance between work and personal life has become a common phenomenon.
Many of us face the daily challenge of splitting the 16 waking hours into time for work, family, friends, household duties, and if we have anymore life left in us at the end of the day, ourselves.
Not having an appropriate balance can cause many problems in our lives.
Stress, a feeling of being overwhelmed, and exhaustion are only the tip of the iceberg. In severe cases, this may lead to depressive tendencies and illness.
My own experiences with this imbalance drove me to uncover the root causes of this issue with The Journey. Consequently, I have put together for you the 3 keys to an adequate work-life balance:
1. The Art Of Saying ‘NO’
I was always the “yes girl”.
And sadly, in my job in America, I found that I was ‘yessing’ myself into an early grave.
People would come to me to ask for help because they knew I would agree.
I would do their work even if it cost me my health.
I would drive to work at 7 am and only arrive home at 10 pm because of all the excess work I took on because of my inability to say ‘no’.
My job became my life and the drive-throughs on the way home were my only respite from a hard day of work.
The regular fast-food stops began to take their toll on my health.
What’s more, when I left the job, they had to replace me with 5 others, because no single person could manage the amount of work I was doing.
It was only after I learned to say ‘no’ through learning The Journey that my health began to improve.
But before I was able to say ‘no’, I learned to clear my own limiting beliefs. Thoughts such as:
- My worth is linked to how hard I work.
- The harder I work the more people will value me.
- If I say ‘no’ I will be rejected.
In the end, this allowed me to replace the unhealthy beliefs with more empowering thoughts, such as:
- My work does not determine my worth.
- I love balancing work and life.
- It is safe to ‘no’ and put myself first.
Ironically, the more I learned to say ‘no’, the more I noticed I was respected in the work place.
It seemed my coworkers noticed my attempts at having a better work-life balance. They appreciated my attempt to maintain healthier boundaries while simultaneously finishing work on time. They admired my ability to take time out for myself by exercising, engaging in my hobbies and interests, and unwinding.
I now understand my limits and only take on as much as I can finish without harming the other aspects of my life. I am not perfect in this skill yet and do find myself giving in to the ‘yes girl’ again. But I reign myself in more often than I used to, and this has helped balance my work-life ratio better.
2. Prioritizing Yourself
Figure out what you want and then set your priorities. For me, my health is my number 1 priority and everything else comes 2nd. One of the best ways to work out your priorities, through the Wheel of Life, is to identify the areas of your life that are important, including:
- Social Life
Begin by identifying the 6 most important areas of your life and write down what those areas are in priority order. After completing that give each area of life a rating as either:
- Below Average
Be absolutely honest with yourself. Once you have completed the above steps, identify the top 2 areas of your life. These must be those on which you wish to focus over the next 3 months.
The benefit of identifying your top most priorities is that you are better able to focus and make decisions. For example, when faced with a new project, you ask yourself if taking on the task is in line with your priorities in your life. If yes, you are on the right track. If not, you can now decide whether or not you have the time and energy to give this additional responsibility importance. You can download the prioritization worksheet and use it to find your own priorities.
To explore further how balance your life and align your priorities, learn about the Wheel of Life.
3. Take Time Out
By time out, I mean really take time out.
For example, a full day or even a week just to yourself.
For my clients who have children and families waiting for them at home, I recommend taking a break from familial and household duties as well.
I recommend you even find time to sit and just be – in the car, the park, or anywhere you can find some solitude while juggling work and home.
For example, walk on your way home from work instead of taking a vehicle. On the way, listen to music, stroll through a park, or talk to strangers. Or, join a weekly club or workshop. Officially enrolling for something will make sure you attend. Hire a trainer at the gym for a specific hour, join an art class, learn a new form of dance, register at a meditation center – keep a regular slot at least once a week for you to focus on yourself and de-stress.
Because of my initial work-life imbalance, I fell extremely ill. Cancerous cells wound a ticking clock inside me, reminding me that life on earth is too short to live in stress and tension.
This sudden and crude wake-up call made me understand the importance of reprioritizing and setting right the balance of my life’s different aspects.
Don’t wait for the universe to give you a wake-up call!
Download the prioritization worksheet and get started on your journey of self-care.
Love Dr Rangana Rupavi Choudhuri (PhD)
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