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HealthCalling

Finding the Perfect Balance

08-16-2017

Dr. Chandra Lasley, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate for Covenant Health’s Horizons Outpatient Clinic says when considering the balance between your work life and life outside of work, it usually doesn’t mean an even split.

“Work/life balance means living our day-to-day lives in a way that allows us to meet the needs of both our work life and our personal life,” Dr. Lasley said. “Paying attention to this balance is important because all of us want to feel we’re meeting expectations in both areas; we want to be efficient and effective in what we do, and at the same time we want to be able to feel good and live the way we want to live.”

Dr. Lasley shares a few things to consider when it comes to work/life balance:

  • Consider the fast-paced life we live: Attending to your work/life balance is particularly relevant because we are at a time in history when everything moves super-fast, with our technology, with our way of life; everything is “I expect this result and I expect it to happen now.” It is very stressful when we’re trying to do everything all at once, at work and at home.
  • It’s not always 50/50: The first thing we need to realize or know about work/life balance is that it’s not 50/50. Most of the time there’s a tilt to it, because of who we are and the time of life we’re at and the things we need to accomplish. “For example, a person might spend a lot of extra time at work – which may allow them to provide for their family, make ends meet,” she said. “Whereas someone else might spend more time at home taking care of a newborn or an elderly or sick family member, because that’s what’s needed.”
  • How’s your balance working for you: The key thing to understand is how well it’s working for you. Are you feeling like there’s a bit of nourishment and joy in what you’re doing? Do you feel motivated, or are you physically or emotionally suffering? If that’s the case, you know there’s something a little out of balance.
  • Take a step back: If you’re thinking about improving that balance, it’s good to step back and take a look. Am I spending so much time at work or thinking about work that it’s affecting my relationship with my partner, my family? Do I feel like I don’t even have enough time to myself to just breathe or eat breakfast? On the other hand, is what’s going on in my personal life affecting me so much that I can’t focus at work and get work done? Dr. Lasley says, when you find yourself focusing so much on one area to the extent that something just doesn’t feel right, that’s a good sign that you need to look into that area a little more, look at that balance. Is the tilt way off?

Dr. Lasley also suggests a few strategies to adjust the tilt:

  • Set some time and space boundaries for what you have to do. Try to leave work stuff at work. And when you do go home, make sure you have at least one hour to sit and talk about your day, and listen to others talk about their day. Or spend an hour meditating, reading a book, something that is nourishing or helps you connect with others in your personal life.
  • Communicate with people you care about, at work and at home, about how that balance is working (or not) for you. This gives others an opportunity to provide support or share how that balance is affecting them in your relationship. You can even brainstorm with these individuals– as a work team, as a couple, as a family – how to adjust that balance so that both you and them can feel more nourished and enjoy life a little more.
  • Do things that are fun and nourishing for yourself. If we just think about it or talk about it, that won’t do any good. You need to actually spend time and energy on self-care, because at the end of the day, physical and emotional stress can build up and lead to burnout at work and at home. Doing things that are fun and nourishing will help us build our resilience in meeting all the needs and expectations in our busy life.

“Keep in mind, your work/life balance doesn’t always look perfect! There are fluctuations daily, weekly, yearly; but investing in work/life balance creates overall wellness because you are attending to all the areas of your life.”

This post is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please seek medical advice from your physician for any related medical condition. If you are in need of a primary care doctor, click here to find one in the Covenant Health network.

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