If you’ve been feeling that achieving a work-life balance is harder than ever before, rest assured you are not the only one. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many women have found themselves under increasing pressure to do it all – household tasks and chores, looking after children and managing their schooling, caregiving for parents and loved ones and, of course, working. Feeling torn between your personal and professional life can leave you feeling stressed, unhappy, and unproductive. In these tough times, the call to achieve work-life balance feels more urgent than ever.
The most important thing to remember is that your needs will change at different times in your life. Sometimes work responsibilities will be centre stage while at other times, family and personal passions may be what’s most important to keep you going. Truly, there is no such thing as a perfect balance. What it’s really all about is finding a ratio that works for you at this particular season in your life and making choices that will ultimately leave you feeling happy and satisfied.
Read on for some tips and inspiration from our own staff on what work-life balance can look like and how you can start creating a “perfect-for-you” plan to get there.
Set and Respect Your Boundaries
“In my experience, the key to maintaining a consistent work-life balance is to put into place (and then respect) the boundaries between our personal and professional sphere. It’s so easy to tell yourself that you are just going to quickly glance at your Outlook e-mails and calendar that's sitting on your dinner table after you're supposed to have already signed off for the day!” – Hilary T.
Establish Clear Priorities
“To me, work life balance means efficiently and effectively managing work priorities during the day to ensure I am able to wrap up at the end of the work day and spend time with my two boys, helping with school work, playing and relaxing. Working at home during this pandemic, it can sometimes be difficult to close the laptop and focus on family or find time to re-charge my own battery. It has become increasingly important that I prioritize outdoor time every day for myself and my kids. Always eat ice cream at the end of the day while binge watching Netflix—it makes everything better!” – Beth G.
Make Time for Self-Care
“One of my favorite analogies is the one regarding the correct procedure if there were an emergency on an aircraft. We are required to put on our own oxygen masks first before being able to assist anyone with theirs. If we aren’t well, we can’t serve or be helpful to others. I can’t help my family if I’m burned-out, I can’t be productive at work if my mind is full of worry and I can’t be a good neighbor if I’m grumpy. I haven’t mastered this yet, but I try to keep it top-of-mind to take care of me so I can take care of others.” – Layla H.
Connect with Your Kids
“Recognize that there are going to be days when it feels like you’re not hitting it out of the ballpark in either domain, and that’s okay. Talk to your kids about your work in an age-appropriate way—especially if something great, or not so great, happened. Use it as a way to show them how you learn from your mistakes, how you handled a situation, and why you’re proud of yourself.” – Aimee H.
Schedule One Thing to Look Forward to Each Day
“While work is extremely important to me, my family and personal life are equally valuable. I need both in order to be happy and healthy! In order to achieve a healthy work-life balance, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and working from home, I’ve set up a few personal policies that are really helping me to maintain a healthy equilibrium. For example, I love to read and make a commitment to read something non work-related every day. I’m also part of a monthly book club and am always immersed in reading a new book a month from different genres, which I love.” – Abetha M.
“I'd say, ‘We can't have it all, all the time.’ Work-life balance is about understanding that you will need to compromise. Some days you will be great at your job but your family life may suffer. Other times, you will spend a lot of time focusing on family and your job will be put aside. Knowing that you are not perfect and coming to the realization that it's OK to go through the ups and downs of life and ensuring to take care of yourself throughout these phases is work-life mindfulness.” – Han T.