Written by: Cally Worden
We constantly hear about how important the Work-Life balance is to our well-being, but achieving it is never quite that simple. With work, home and children to juggle, just getting through the day sometimes can feel like a major triumph, without worrying whether you’re on an even keel. Thankfully there are a few relatively effortless ways to help you enhance your work life balance. Try out these suggestions and see for yourself.
Don’t Set the Bar Too High
Placing unrealistic expectations on yourself can lead to you constantly feeling as if you never quite achieve anything. No-one can do it all, and compromises are a part of life. Accepting that is your first step to inner peace. Be honest with yourself about how time those immovable commitments in your life demand, and work with what’s left instead of trying to fight it.
When you do plan some down-time in and it gets unavoidably disrupted by work, try to view it positively and take pride in what a good job you are doing, instead of allowing it to wreck your day. Embrace what you can’t change, and choose to own it.
Time for doing what you want is precious, so when you are able to fit it into your busy schedule make sure you don’t spend it feeling guilty for not doing something else. Life is about choices, and choosing to do something that is just for you in favour of an alternative activity is nothing to feel guilty about. Looking after you is the best way to keep you strong enough to face the rest of your life with the energy and vitality it deserves. Clear your mind of other things, and enjoy the moment you are in.
Dedicated Spouse Time
Our diaries are often filled with appointments and deadlines that we feel we simply have to meet. We accord these commitments immense power when we abide by them – they are important, right? Well if your spouse is even half as important as these random commitments, then scheduling some partner-time should be high on your list of priorities too. It may not be the most romantic way to find time to be together, but your relationship is easily as important as the other things in your life and if diarising time is the only way to fit it in then why rail against it?
Selecting dates for time with your spouse well in advance can be the best way to ensure they remain ring-fenced. Make other stuff fit in around them, and only move or cancel them if it is completely unavoidable. Planning babysitters in advance, or offering to do a kid-swap with friends can help you keep a commitment, as dropping out will affect others too. If you can wrangle in an overnight couple’s break once a year then all the better.
Don’t Forget Me
Me-time is perhaps the hardest part of the Work-Life equation. Commitments elsewhere often cause us to discount our own needs in favour of satisfying others. If we constantly put ourselves last then everyone else will too. Me-time is not something to feel guilty about, it is essential to your well-being. Talk to your partner about building in time-out for each of you to pursue those interests that are just about you, not about work, the kids, or even you as a couple. Just. You.
Pick a Hobby for the Family
In our packed and busy lives the time we spend with our children can be limited, so when it happens it’s important to make it count. Quality is better than quantity and all that. Instead of always flopping in front of a movie together – as fun as that can be – try choosing a hobby that the whole family can participate in.
It’s important to select an activity you all enjoy, and make it something that the whole family, or just one parent and child at a time, can enjoy. If you children are very little, sharing your own hobbies with them on their terms can be a great way to snag their interest – a good example of this is to share your love of baking by making simple recipes with younger kids that they can really enjoy and get involved with. Biscuits, cupcakes and simple sweets are all kiddie-crowd-pleasers and may help to create a lifelong happy association with the kitchen for your child too.