Hello friends! I am back again to discuss something I’ve been covering a lot in my professional(er) life; self-care and work life balance. I wanted to share some of my thoughts here as well…right before I head out for a picnic in the sun, YAY SPRING!
In my old job I was constantly told to work on my work life balance but was never given the ability to decrease my work load. I was just expected to work less but get the same amount done. I was unhealthily stressed out every day at work because I was expected to do 12 hours of work in 8 hours (spoiler alert it didn’t happen, we fell drastically behind and were behind usually about 6 months out of the year and that was never addressed). They had forgotten what the word ‘balance’ actually meant and just used to it try to decrease overtime spending. I came to hate the term “work/life balance” because it really just meant more work and stress for me, not a happy, healthy lifestyle.
Now I find that it can be difficult to maintain the balance because working at home means you can just keep working forever or conversely, stop when you feel meh in the middle of the day and not work again for the reminder of the afternoon. You have to be able to set firm hours and make yourself work through the small mehs everyone gets at 3pm (Hint-eat something!). But you also need to listen to your body. The other day I was taking a stretch break and I realized that I was completely drained and creatively tapped out. I’d been sick and had been working long hours due to some busy upcoming weeks. I knew I couldn’t effectively complete what I had hoped to do for the rest of the day. I looked at my to do list for the week, checked on the status of my content calendars, changed some plans and went and had a bath. It was great and I felt way better afterwards. Taking that break allowed me to get a solid three more hours of work done that evening.
It’s important to not go too far down the self-care path also either. Don’t get into the habit of calling everything you want to do self-care. This isn’t Treat Yo Self Day 2019. This is doing what you need to to keep your body and your mind healthy and stimulated while achieving your goals. When I post about self-care in my other life, I like to use the quote “you can’t pour from an empty cup” because it’s TRUE! Get in front of the emptiness feeling by making a plan or a schedule but also leaving room for flexibility. Plans can change and how you feel can also change every day. Last night we decided last minute to push our podcast recording plans (Nature Finds a Way, check us out! 😉 ). I had almost finished my work for the night, so I sat on my patio and read while watching the sunset for half an hour. It. Was. Glorious. I could’ve found some work to do but I decided I wanted to do this more. An even better example was last week when Facebook and Instagram went down. Do you know how difficult it is to do social media work when Facebook and Instagram are down? 😂 I was twitchy allll day because I couldn’t do what I had planned, and I didn’t know when or if I was going to be able to start working on tasks. (it did lead to a slightly larger existential crisis of what if they never come back and I won’t have a career anymore and omg what have I done!???! But that didn’t last too long). I couldn’t decide on what random other work to do so I stopped and sat on the couch and watched Buffy for a few hours.
During that time my brain relaxed and some ideas of non Facebook/Instagram work appeared and I got back to it. The platforms didn’t come back up until that night so I did what I could and rearranged some of my plans for the next day to leave space for all the catch up and rescheduling I would have to do. Everything turned out fine and I got a nice break out of it-thanks Mark Zuckerberg! 😊
Alright, its time for lunch-I’m actually leaving the house for this one which is surprising since I often eat it at my computer (bad, bad Lindsay!) but that gives me more time in the evening to read or whatever. Again, it is all about what works for you. That’s why I go to bed so early and get up before 6am. I’m way more productive in the mornings. Find your balance and use it to maximize your efficiency.