Busy is the new normal. Especially at this time of the year we are incredibly busy and often neglect our basic needs. We are rewarded for being workaholics and accomplishing great things, but the consequences can be damaging to our health and relationships. Some have become accustomed to putting themselves last and neglecting their own self-care. Others prefer to be in charge and have difficulties trusting others and delegating responsibilities. Some people’s identity and self-worth are tied directly to work. Others seek approval and acceptance which they relate to their work accomplishments. Still others struggle with FOMO (fear of missing out) or feel overwhelming guilt when they set limits on work and don’t meet others’ expectations. If you can identify with anything I’ve mentioned then chances are your life is out of balance.
So how do you balance work with life and relationships? It starts with unplugging from the digital world by picking a time while still awake to turn off all electronics. In addition, setting boundaries with people and being able to say no can be incredibly empowering. Set aside 5-10 minutes per day to vent about work, but be able to stop after the self imposed time limit. Of course self-care is vitally important to maintaining balance, which includes exercise, sleep, and a healthy diet. We all need alone time to meditate, pray, reflect, or do nothing. Many of us are guilty of overcommitting ourselves and poor at delegating, but prioritizing activities and letting others assist can help with balance. It is helpful to have transition time to move from work to home mode both physically and mentally. Sometimes we also have to be intentional about scheduling and planning fun time with family and friends. Lastly, keep work responsibilities in perspective and have an identity outside of work.
While having a strong work ethic is admirable, it shouldn’t be the most important thing in life. Are you working to live or living to work? We can easily get consumed with our job, but finding other things that create happiness and fulfillment will help us diversify our ways of experiencing joy. Based on my personal and professional experience, our greatest joy and fulfillment come from positive and healthy relationships. My challenge to you is to pick one tip mentioned above to work on over the next month and share it with someone who can hold you accountable. Doing nothing guarantees things won’t change, but doing something offers hope for better times.