Work/Life Balance Cheat Sheet: Little Ways to Balance it All
I was driving home from work the other day and a rare feeling settled over me: I was content and feeling like a bad-ass. I had a great day at work, was coming home to a clean house, and connected with friends and co-workers, all while pregnant. I had achieved the ultimate goal: balance. Like I said, this is rare and fleeting most days, but I realized I’ve developed some systems and habits that help me find ways to “have it all” and I’d love to share them with you!
Setting Aside “Me Time”
My 20’s was all about putting friends (and men) and social obligations first. And work second. And time for myself when I could squeeze it in. Now that pyramid has flipped. It’s okay to be selfish. Actually, it’s more than okay… it’s a necessity. And the sooner you get comfortable with turning down dinner or drinks to stay home and get some extra zzz’s, the better it will be for everybody in the long run. Not only will you feel better physically and emotionally, but you’ll actually enjoy the time you have with others more.
Put Your Phone on Silent
It doesn’t have to be all the time, but definitely find a little time each day to do this. For me, as soon as I get home (meaning, the work day is done), my phone is on silent. I still check it until I go to bed, of course, but I don’t have that Pavlovian response to answering every ding that comes through. It also helps me sleep better at night and stay present when I am home. I also try to put my phone on silent when I’m with friends, for the same reasons (staying present, not sleeping better!)
End of Day Meditation (or something to transition from work to home)
On the days I actually follow through with this practice, I feel freaking awesome. I’m also try to look at my nightly commute (which spans anywhere from an hour to two-and-a-half) as another form of transition. But whether it’s battling traffic, or taking two minutes to breathe, some sort of practice that winds you down from the work day and gets you present for winding down time at home, (or winding up if you have more of a social life than I do) is the ticket. It’ll also make it easier to stop your mind from wandering at night (did I actually send that email or just think about sending it?) and give you a little bit of second-wind energy for your nighttime activities.
Get a Workout Buddy (or Two or Three!)
Not surprisingly, the friends I end up seeing most during the week are the ones I work out with. Not only do I get the benefit of my own endorphins from the workout, but I also get the benefit of some quality gal time while I’m sweating. This can also be applied to cooking together, running errands together, or another activity that you’d normally do on your own, but would much prefer doing with a friend.
Make Chores Time Couples Time
This is something new we’ve started doing in my house, and while it’s still in the early phases, it might be the key to happiness (I exaggerate, but it’s pretty great!) It’s killing two birds with one stone (a clean house and a chance to connect!) and avoids any “you didn’t take out the trash!” fights. And, with two people going at home tasks together, it gets done twice as fast and gives you more time for other things… like watching TV or going to bed early. It’s also nice to have built-in checking in time for us to discuss not-so-fun things like logistics (who exactly is walking the dog tomorrow? What’s your work schedule like this week?), so when we’re not doing chores and building a life together, we can truly just relax and enjoy each other’s company. Imagine that!