Work, life, repeat. Lately, it seems balance has been that one word I’ve been trying to take to heart. Last month it was mindfulness as I took a break from social media and focused on being present in each moment. This month my word is balance; more specifically, work-life balance. We all know we need it, we all thrive from it, but often everyday life happens and balance can get lost in the midst. The truth is, finding a work-life balance varies from person to person. What one may consider the perfect balance between the two, may be drastically different to someone else. Personally, I believe that’s what makes balance so beautiful. It’s finding that balance in your own soul to where you feel accomplished and happy in all aspects of your life.
What is work-life balance?
Work: Career, ambition, goals
Life: Leisure, hobbies, family, personal and spiritual development
The beauty of balance is that we can’t pursue one category without giving thought to the other. Constantly being in work mode where you are in pursuit of your goals, without taking the time to reflect on your personal thoughts and feelings can leave you feeling empty and unfulfilled. Vice-versa, always doing the fun things in life would cause stress because you would never get anything done. That’s why we need balance.
It’s a common pursuit we learn in Kindergarten. As children, we love to play, but also feel the intrinsic reward when working hard for something. You begin to develop and understand that play comes later, and if you want something, you learn you have to work hard for it first. We learn diligence and responsibility as we pursue this balance in our everyday lives. As adults, we take this fundamentally basic concept and apply it to fit the depth of our existence.
What does it mean to you?
I encourage you to stop a moment and reflect on what brings balance to your life. If you are the person who is overworked, what steps can you take in adding self-care? If you are the person who enjoys leisure activities, know that there is nothing wrong with that, but what can you do to be more self-disciplined in your work? Personally, I’ve been at both extremes in my life.
Since leaving my job as a Kindergarten teacher to pursue my own business of blogging full time, I’ve been left constantly trying to figure out this one word — balance. I know that to succeed I must get into that “hustle” mode and work harder than I ever thought possible, however, without self-care and taking time for myself I am left completely drained. I am left feeling defeated in both areas and am in constant pursuit of what I can do to be successful not only with work but also my personal life. When one is neglected, obtaining that balance is something we will surely miss.
Finding that work-life balance takes practice and isn’t something that is going to be mastered overnight. I continue to be in constant pursuit of learning what this balance means in my own life, and doing what I can to get there. Here are some things that have helped me.
I am learning the art of being present in each moment. Whether it is work or life, I make an effort to absorb myself into the now by being mindful that what I am doing, who I am with, or what I am experiencing at that moment deserves my time. By working when I’ve scheduled myself to be working and living life when that time is at hand, I’ve noticed that I’m already beginning to improve my skills of focus and intention setting within these defined events.
Mind Over Matter
When I make the conscious decision to find that balance in my life, I am instantly more self-aware. My actions throughout the day become focused on a constant effort to bring balance to my life. Sometimes this is knowing when I need a 5-minute stretch break, other times it’s knowing when I need to move on from the task at hand, or my favorite — just go to sleep! (night owl problems, any one?!) After I make this determination to bring balance to my life, the next step is evaluating how I am doing.
What would your life look like if you took the time to check in with yourself daily? The question I most like to ask myself is: “Am I feeling balanced?” This helps me to determine if I am focused on the right things where I feel steady and upright in my life.
I have recently gotten back into the habit of writing. By “writing” I mean writing for myself in a way that I don’t write for my readers. No one else reads my personal journal and I feel so much more in touch with who I am and my emotions when I take even 5-10 minutes to write about whatever comes to mind. After I do this, I not only feel more like myself, but I feel more balanced because I have taken that time to reflect on how I am feeling.
If you know me, you know that I am all about GOALS. Goals, goals, and more goals! I’m talking both personal and work related goals. Without either, this work-life balance will be nearly impossible to master. Goals help to hold yourself accountable so that when you do those regular check-ins, you can evaluate your strengths and your weaknesses — both of which will push you closer to achieving that balance in your life you desire.
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. -Benjamin Franklin
The thing I love most about balance is that it varies from person to person. This means you can rely on your intuition. Only you truly know what you need to find balance in your life. It’s an amazing feeling being so in tune with your emotions that you can follow your intuition about how you are feeling and proceed from there with confidence.