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Balancing Act; Work vs Life

The year is rapidly disappearing on us, so to kick start our first week in April, I thought we could all appreciate an easy read about living a healthy work life. Lets face it.. the battle of Work vs Life sometimes gets the better of us, am I right? I’m sure we are all feeling the effects of the daily grind from time to time, especially now returning from our mini holiday over Easter.. I think it may be time to implement some small changes to suppress the holiday desperation!

These wise words sure come from a woman who understands the importance and demand of a career, and the effect this has on not only a relationship, but family & friends. We may not all physically live in the chambers of the Whitehouse, but I can guarantee, someone in your life is inspired, lead and loved by you. The definition of success and balance is very different to all just as every person is different. I suppose the only commonality between each person is that we all have 24 hours in a day and a lot of us are struggling with the work life juggling act.

Referring back to Michelle Obama’s quote, although particulars at work may be out of our control, we must harness and control the things we can. Work hours for example are pretty inflexible, but what about the before and after? It’s free reign, with the provision of eat and sleep during these precious hours of course – no one needs to be hangry or tired.

There are so many tips on how to create a healthy work life balance.. Essentially though, the hardest and first step is to do as Michelle Obama says and make yourself more of a priority. For me, personally, I found that the most important one for me was learning to say “no”. Teaching yourself that you don’t need to be Yes Man, especially if you already are one, is quite difficult but getting in the habit of saying “no” and being ok with it, is fine!

I found an excellent little blog by Forbes, which outlines six tips for assisting in creating this balance:

Let go of Perfectionism

The key to avoid burning out is to let go of perfectionism, says Puder-York. “As life gets more expanded it’s very hard, both neurologically and psychologically, to keep that habit of perfection going,” she says, adding that the healthier option is to strive not for perfection, but for excellence.

Unplug

“There are times when you should just shut your phone off and enjoy the moment,” says Robert Brooks, a professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and co-author of The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence and Personal Strength in Your Life. Brooks says that phone notifications interrupt your off time and inject an undercurrent of stress in your system. So don’t text at your kid’s soccer game and don’t send work emails while you’re hanging out with family, Brooks advises. Make quality time true quality time. By not reacting to the updates from work, you will developing a stronger habit of resilience. “Resilient people feel a greater sense of control over their lives,”

Exercise and meditate

ven when we’re busy, we make time for the crucial things in life. We eat. We go to the bathroom. We sleep. And yet one of our most crucial needs – exercise – is often the first thing to go when our calendars fill up. Exercise is an effective stress reducer. It pumps feel-good endorphins through your body. It helps lift your mood and can even serve a one-two punch by also putting you in a meditative state, according to the Mayo Clinic. “When I talk about balance, not everything has to be the completion and achievement of a task, it also has to include self-care so that your body, mind and soul are being refreshed,” says Puder-York.

Limit time-wasting activities and people

First, identify what’s most important in your life. This list will differ for everyone, so make sure it truly reflects your priorities, not someone else’s. Next, draw firm boundaries so you can devote quality time to these high-priority people and activities. From there, it will be easier to determine what needs to be trimmed from the schedule. To some, this may seem selfish. “But it isn’t selfish,” says Robinson. “It’s that whole airplane metaphor. If you have a child, you put the oxygen mask on yourself first, not on the child.” When it comes to being a good friend, spouse, parent or worker, “the better you are yourself, the better you are going to be in all those areas as well.”

Change the structure of your life

Sometimes we fall into a rut and assume our habits are set in stone. Take a birds-eye view of your life and ask yourself: What changes could make life easier? instead of trying to do it all, focus on activities you specialize in and value most. Delegate or outsource everything else. Delegating can be a win-win situation, says Stewart Freidman, a management professor at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School and author of Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life.

Start small & build from there

We’ve all been there: crash diets that fizzle out, New Year’s resolutions we forget by February. It’s the same with work-life balance when we take on too much too quickly, says Brooks. Many of his workaholic clients commit to drastic changes: cutting their hours from 80 hours a week to 40, bumping up their daily run from zero miles a day to five miles a day. It’s a recipe for failure, says Brooks. “If you’re trying to change a certain script in your life, start small and experience some success. Build from there,” says Brooks.

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