Work/Life Balance Is Impossible Unless You Do These 5 Things

Source: @theslowtraveler

In today’s endlessly connected and super competitive world, “working hours” has taken on a new meaning. An average “workday” for an entrepreneur can last 12-14 hours thanks workshops, research, strategy, execution, networking, admin, billing…the list goes on. Add in caretaking duties, and the requirements needed to maintain friendships and relationships and it’s easy to see how wellness can fall down (and eventually off) of the list.

What’s interesting is our disconnect with what true work/life balance really is and what is required to achieve some semblance of it. Though there are currently over 12.3 M Instagram posts carrying the hashtag #SelfCare under them, the idea of taking care of one’s self beyond a quick fix seems be quickly fading into the realm of retro ideologies that are met with both nostalgia and an eye-roll. True balance requires consistency, boundaries and an understanding that it’s not only OK to say no more often, but that we should be saying it more than we say yes.

If you’re feeling more exhausted than excited, it’s time to do more than pour a glass of wine and run a bath. Take a moment to do proper MOT, starting with these 5 tasks.

1| Check the health of your closest relationships.

Businessman and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, often said that people become like the five people they spend the most time with. Whether or not that is true, it’s an undeniable fact that the people in our lives bring their own energy into it. If that’s supportive, calm energy, great, but if your family and friends are constantly delivering drama, chaos and fear to your proverbial doorstep, no amount of yoga or green juice is going to bring you back to center. Bottom Line: It is essential to assess your relationships are impacting your emotional, physical and mental health.

A few questions:

Are you allowing an anxious colleague to impact your productivity?

Are you ignoring a big conversation about boundaries with a pushy sibling or staring at the TV all night as a way to send a passive-aggressive message to your spouse?

How are you participating in behaviors that create stress, chaos or unease for those around you?

If you identify an area that needs healing, start thinking of ways you can work in a more positive direction and then reach out to the other party and ask what they need from you to help move the relationship into a better direction. Then, come up with a plan. Do you need to create stronger timelines or boundaries? How can you be more clear about your needs? What can you do to spend less time around energy vampires? You need to give yourself permission to step away from toxic relationships to protect your mental and emotional health. Your (happy) life depends on it, literally.

2| Get serious about prioritizing balance.

We live in a 24-7 world where it can be tempting to overbook, overwork and over think. If this isn’t bad enough, most of us do this on much less sleep, and water than our bodies require to perform, even when not pushed to their limits. Sure, success will require that we make sacrifices and go into overdrive when necessary, but making a habit of living on the edge will lead to burnout which has been shown to impact our brains, body negatively and even shorten our lifespan.

To assess where you fall on the scale, consider the ways your current lifestyle is making you feel.

  • Are you sleeping well?
  • Are you able to handle the pressures of life without losing your temper?
  • Do you feel like your days have separate components or are you rushing through the hours chasing an endless stream of tasks and obligations?
  • How does your body feel?
  • Are you turning to drugs or alcohol to cope?
  • Are you relaxed and breathing profoundly or are your shoulders tensing up while you take panicked breaths?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and overworked, take action. Commit to exploring new ways of managing your life where you create space for relaxation. This could mean seeing a life coach or therapist, taking a 15-minute break from work and sitting in a park with a warm cup of tea, closing down the computer a half-hour early, or organizing your tasks in a calendar where you allow for a full day off each week. Find methods that work for you and create happy and healthy habits that help to bring you back to the center.

3|Realize it’s not about you.

I firmly believe that Instagram is one of the greatest online inventions ever to hit the web, but as with anything, there is a shadow side. Social media is a fantastic way to stay connected, network and promote brands, but it also serves as a constant PR stream of the best parts of other people’s lives (which are often filtered to look more attractive than they might be in real time). Used wisely, it can build your business and keep you in touch with old friends. Misuse it, and it could lead to symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Log onto your favorite platforms with an understanding that these platforms are to inspire others, even the user who is often carefully curating their online image. Yet if an old school friend has “the perfect life” in your eyes, so what? It doesn’t mean you can’t also tweak yours until yours is what you want it to be. The good life is about personal choices and personal experiences. The goal is to share it with people who love and support you (and that you love and support) and not to compete with and “beat” anyone else. When you fully understand and accept this, you automatically win.

4| Take full accountability for your life.

This includes the good as well as the bad. It is as much your responsibility to accept ownership of your success and accept a well-deserved compliment as it is to own a misstep or wrong decision. Instead of feeling judged, relish in the freedom that comes with having full control over your life and choices. Think about it: owning up to mistakes is the fastest way to learn and move on.

So, instead of making excuses for statements or choices that do not reflect the best part of you, man or woman up, take responsibility, apologize when necessary and do better next time. Repeat as necessary.

5| Live in endless gratitude.

There is no denying that we all have at least a dozen reasons a day to be miserable. Maybe the woman in Starbucks was rude, or your chaotic boss is micromanaging you within an inch of your life.

Perhaps your spouse doesn’t understand why they need to do the dishes before bedtime, or your back hurts from working late into the night. You could dwell, but that only compounds your misery. Instead, try to counteract the desire to stew by focusing on the things that are going right. Listen to a happy song in your playlist, put your face towards the sun, take a deep breath and picture the face of someone you love, laugh at the nonsense of life and say “thank you” to an overworked, often overlooked colleague. It sounds silly, but the more you look for humor, say “thank you” and seek abundance, the more you attract peace.

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