The web is full of tips for work-life balance, some of which I’ve written myself and will be writing. And while we need tactics and tricks for negotiating the blurry lines between work and play these days, sometimes work-life balance is a mental thing.
Sometimes work-life balance comes down to the way you feel. Two people with the exact same schedule can feel exactly opposite – one guilty, stressed, and exhausted; the other proud, content, and energized – depending on what their thoughts and beliefs are.
So when your life feels out of whack, yes, take a walk, hit the gym, and play with your dog. But also try repeating these mantras for work-life balance to catch your brain up.
1. Working well doesn’t mean working more
“Busy” can be a label we hide behind, hoping it means we’re actually getting things done. Instead, learn to prioritize, work more efficiently, and revel in the energy and creative boost you get from breaks.
2. It’s up to me to find my happy balance
As much as it’s tempting to complain about a demanding boss or ridiculous little league schedules, in the end, it’s your life and your responsibility to make it a fulfilling one. We can advocate for change in the long-term, but today it’s up to us.
3. I’m not alone
Work may be pulling you away from friends and family, but you surely have people who care about you. You may not want to ask for their help right now, but know that they probably want to help and want to see you happy and well.
4. Balance ebbs and flows
Every day won’t be a blissful mix of breakfast in bed, bursts of productive inspiration, and candlelit romance. Think a little more long-term, and try to cultivate balance on the order of weeks or months.
5. It doesn’t have to be perfect
There are no super moms, said Anne Wojcicki of 23andMe. There are only normal human beings doing the best they can. Aim for good enough in your lifestyle, then go from there.
6. It’s a process
Like starting up, finding work-life balance is something you iterate toward and never quite “achieve.” Some strategies may work for awhile and then stop; life circumstances may change and call for new ones. If you’re not quite balanced, at least you’re tilting and adjusting and getting your footing.