Is there an ‘ideal’ Work-Life Balance?
Life at the moment seems to be way off the work-life balance most of us would like to have. I say this as someone who feels like they’re on a never-ending treadmill of work and childcare. My day constantly lurches from early morning work calls to a day of home-schooling and tantrums, then back to the computer for more work, teatime, kid’s bedtime and of course, more work again! Where’s the exercise, time for me, or relaxation in any of that? Where indeed?
Of course, the current situation doesn’t exactly lend itself to a good work-life balance. We’re all feeling exhausted, stressed and frankly fed up. Thinking and working more smartly, making little changes here and there can all make a big impact.
How to get a good work/life balance
A work-life balance is essentially how much of your life is given to work and how much is given to all other aspects.
Start by drawing a circle. Now the difficult bit. You’ll need do some soul-searching and ask yourself some deep questions. That’s because you’re going to segment your circle into all of the things you have to do and those things you’d like to do too (work, hobbies, family time, friends, training or education, self-development, exercise etc.) The idea is to segment the circle proportionally in terms of how much time you’d ideally like to dedicate to each activity.
Why is it Important to Have a Good Work-Life Balance?
A good work-life balance keeps us happy and healthy. It also helps us achieve personal goals. Ask yourself the question. What makes you happy? If you find this difficult to answer, you’re not alone. It’s an indication that you need to conduct some internal research and work on self-awareness and self-care. Once you’ve created this overview, you begin to find the gaps in your current work-life balance, so you can take action.
That’s all very well in theory, you might say but what practical steps can I actually take to improve my work-life balance?
Creating Work-Life Balance During the Global Pandemic
Working From Home
- Have talking and walking meetings or catch-ups to kill two birds with one stone. Exercise and work at the same time!
- Say No when necessary. Be realistic and honest with your employer about what you can commit to if you’re home-schooling. It’s not in their interest for your mental health to go downhill because you’re juggling too much or overcommitting.
- Consider changing your routine. Could you go to bed earlier in order to get up earlier to do some work whilst children sleep? Could some work be put off until home-schooling is over, and the kids can have downtime? Can you rotate shifts with your partner to make it easier on yourselves?
- Schedule in grey time during the day to refresh yourself. Examples include making a proper lunch, going into the garden for half an hour, a tea break with a newspaper, or a walk at lunchtime. Take the kids with you and you’ve covered PE.
- Take the opportunity to teach the kids about cooking and make some healthy meals at the same time.
- You don’t need to exercise for a long time for it to make a difference. Exercise smartly by doing a short HIIT work-out.
- Use the plethora of videos on YouTube to do a home exercise class. Yoga, HIIT, Joe Wickes, Les Mills, there are simply millions and sure to be one that meets your liking.
- If all else fails, walk the dog twice daily to exercise.
- Everything feels better when you sleep well. Try applying Scentered Sleep Balm before you go to bed as part of your bed-time ritual. It delivers an alluring blend to relax your body and quiet your mind.
- Embrace creativity during this trying period. Go on, get down with the kids and help them with their art projects. It’s good for the soul. You need to be fully equipped though. Check out Baker Ross for fantastic arts and craft supplies and kits for all age-groups.
- We’re all imperfect parents at this time. Don’t beat yourself up about it. You’re getting your kids through a global pandemic. Do what you can but the mental health of your family is paramount. If the kids are going stir crazy, get them out of the house for a walk or snuggle together for a movie rather than continuing to force the home-school issue.
- Use the resources that are out there to buy yourself some me-time. Check out BBC Bitesize, Twinkl and Reading Eggs for educational resources for little ones. Don’t sweat if you need to resort to Netflix or Disney Plus to get a break. Ditch the guilt. The kids certainly won’t object and there’s not a parent in the country that isn’t doing that!