This post was originally published on www.JessicaSmithMedia.com when I was still working at my previous job, but these are key principles since most of my readers are working full time. Enjoy the read!
The more I gain influence in various spheres, the more responsibilities I have and the busier I become. As such, it has become increasingly important for me to find a healthy work/life balance. I haven’t been the best at it. In fact, I’ve failed time and time again. But with each lesson, I’m learning more about myself and my boundaries.
Here are my biggest insights so far:
1. Learn How to Say “No”
I used to have major FOMO (fear of missing out). This means that when any of my friends had a birthday party or function, I made sure I was there. Or, professionally, if I saw an event that I felt aligned with my interests, I tried to be there.
I did these things without checking my schedule for the week. By the time the event came around, I was exhausted. I didn’t want to look like a “flake,” but I also knew that I needed to put my own needs first. It is perfectly FINE to say No! Doing something to seem “nice” is not in style. It never was. People will respect you more when you stay true to your boundaries.
In the work setting, this shows up as not automatically scheduling clients as soon as I see an “opening” on my calendar. Just because I don’t have something during that time block doesn’t necessarily mean I should schedule an appointment. Maybe that time should be spent going on a quick walk or catching up with a coworker, for instance.
2. Depend on Your Support Systems
I’ve found it useful to have an accountability partner when it comes to planning my various activities. For instance, if there’s a weekend where I have multiple functions planned, my roommate will tell me to rethink some of them. And I will do the same thing with her. We’ve both experienced burnout and it’s not a pretty thing.
At work, depending on my support systems means using my personal time off days. They are there for a reason. I’ve worked for them so I am fully entitled to use them! This might sound obvious, but you’ll be surprised at how often I need to remind myself of this fact. It is OKAY to take a breather.
3. Speak Up when Something is Wrong
A personal day every so often is expected. However, just last week, I had to take an extended vacation because I was overly stressed. I had to be transparent with my supervisors about this fact. They were very supportive and respectful.
I know everyone might not be in a work situation where you feel comfortable advocating for yourself or disclosing personal information, but it is your right as an employee.
Even in social settings, I’ve found myself having to be open about anxiety so I can get it out of my system and not be a prisoner to my own feelings.
4. Practice Self-Care
These have all been self-care practices, but it’s worth diving into it a little further. For me, self-care is taking the time to be present with myself. Not having to pour into anyone or counsel anyone, but to show up for myself.
There are certain outlets that always bring me a sense of peace and stability. Prayer, meditation, journaling, taking a bath, doing yoga and listening to sermons are all ways where I release tension. I also love being in the sun. Going for a walk or a run outside lifts my spirits because I’m surrounded by nature.
It’s crucial that we find these ways to pour back into ourselves when the world and every day life drains us.
What about you?
What has been your method for maintaining a healthy work/life balance?