IF YOU are like most people, finding a balance among all the demands of life can be very challenging. The good news is that it is possible, once you understand the process of finding balance.
Work-life balance is about finding the critical balance point between work and personal commitments.
This process looks different for each person, and it looks different at the various stages of life.
The effects of work-life imbalance are well-documented: frustration, anxiety, depression, stress, illness brought on by lack of self-care and more.
When out of balance, one is also more likely to use substances to compensate — more food, more sugar, more alcohol or more prescription drugs.
How do you turn this around?
As with all types of change, the first step is to know where you are. Are you aware of being out of whack but aren’t sure why?
Perhaps you know in which area you are out of kilter but you don’t know what to do about it.
Second, you need to know who is there to support you in making changes.
Do you need to enrol your boss and propose flexi-time or telecommuting?
Do you need to ask your family to help out with responsibilities?
Do you need a life coach to keep you motivated and focused?
Next, take a look at your personal boundaries.
Are you a people pleaser who always says “yes” to every request?
Do you offer to help others at the expense of your own time and stress?
You may need to learn how to say “no” and disentangle yourself from obligations you agreed to for the wrong reasons.
It is both your right and your responsibility to choose how you spend your time and energy.
The next step is to review all your current obligations as well as those things you would like to include in your life.
The list may include self-care, hobbies, home and car maintenance, family obligations, time for yourself and others, social obligations (as well as socialising for fun), travel, classes, organisations, community and volunteer efforts, education, health, work and, of course, sleep.
Now determine the actual time spent and the desired time spent on each of those activities. You may find quite a disparity between the two.
Your goal is to begin working towards the desired time allotment instead of how you spend it now.
Prioritise your activities and find ways to delegate, automate or deal with what is not essential.
You may decide to lower your standards for house-cleaning, negotiate for flexi-time at work or find a new job altogether.
Create breathing space
You need to find ways to build decompression space into your day.
This will provide you with opportunities to regenerate, clear your mind and keep stress at manageable levels.
Daily meditation has been found to have beneficial results in balancing both hemispheres of the brain.
You can also de-stress by simply stepping away from your desk and changing your surroundings while taking deep breaths to calm yourself. Your body will thank you for it!