Life with work balance rarely just happens. It usually takes some concerted and explicit effort to shape and structure our lives in a way that works for us. This can be even more challenging in seasons of change.
In order for us to find shape and structure, we need to get clear on what matters most. We need to know what our true priorities are. From here, we can create systems for our workday that support us in making sure our priorities are being met.
To begin, here are a few habits that you can start to practice every day:
Pay Yourself First
Establish practices that allow you to tend to your body, head, and heart before opening yourself up to the demands of work, including work within the home. Morning routines, rituals, and systems are extremely helpful patterns of behaviour to maintain clarity, intention, and focus.
Determine the TOP 3 of the DAY
Identify three key items that you can realistically accomplish in a day and acknowledge when those tasks have been completed. Never-ending “to-do-lists” are motivation drains. We need wins. Three wins a day builds efficacy that you CAN get things done. It also gives you a finish line to cross that signals you can now rest without feeling guilty!
Many of us feeling guilty when taking time to recover since there is still work to be done. There will always be work to be done! Having everything finished as the marker of when you can take a break leads to burnout.
Simplify the Expectations
Carrying the weight of the world with only two hands, while also trying to navigate all the invisible labour, is not optimal or practical. Be mindful about the expectations you are striving for or setting for yourself. When you come upon a rule, standard, or ideal, ask yourself, where did this belief come from? Who is it meant to serve? How is this belief in alignment with my goal of life with work balance? How can I reframe this expectation to include compassion, flexibility, and self-preservation?
Write Your Joy Playbook
What are your go-to behaviours or environments that help you feel better? Keep a running record or log. Add items as you discover them. When we are in a state of distress and overwhelm, it is harder to remember things that awake positive emotions. When you notice you are feeling disconnected, low, or just not sure about your next right move, revisit your playbook. Research shows that remembering things “fondly” changes our physiology, resulting in a shift in mood and state!
Cope Ahead of Time
This is one of my active favourites. If you know you have a long day, or a busy night, cope ahead of time. What can you do proactively to make “later” have more ease and be more manageable? Knowing what’s for dinner in the morning is so much easier than trying to figure that out at 6 pm. Plan accordingly! If you know there is a difficult meeting in the afternoon, schedule a walk immediately afterwards.
Live Your Values
The paradoxical truth about stress and burnout is that it is not only about the work. We feel such a deep depletion because we are not doing enough of the things that strengthen and recharge us. We need time living within our values to feel like our most authentic and whole-hearted selves.
If you value adventure but you have not travelled in years, this will start to erode your sense of self. If you want to be a present parent, but you have no energy for your child at the end of the day, you feel disconnected with what matters most. Every day, set the intention to do ONE thing that connects you to your values. It can be simple, like reading your child a story or supporting a local business, or even planning a future trip. Keeping top of mind what matters most to you helps maintain perspective.
Build Your Home Team
Knowing who is on your home team is a crucial component of life with work balance. Often the people who get the brunt of our bad days are the people who need us the most. The reality is that we are replaceable in every position, role, or job, except for a few sacred relationships. Protect the relationships that you are entrusted with. At the end of the day, these are the relationships that need to matter most.
Remember, “It is not the load that breaks you, it is how you carry it.” (C.S. Lewis). The reality is that no one can do this work for you. You need to ensure that you are your own champion and advocate for a life that reflects your most authentic self.
The bestselling author of Calm Within the Storm: A Pathway to Everyday Resiliency, Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe explores practical strategies, grounded in global research and case studies, that help foster resiliency within ourselves and others.
Robyne has been described as one of the most sought-after, engaging, thought-provoking, and truly transformative speakers and scholars in her field. Contact us to learn more about what Robyne can bring to your next event.