The expression “work-life balance” was created back in the days when most people who worked did so from 9 to 5 and outside the home. Today, some people work outside the home, such as in offices, retail, schools, in industrial or hospitality settings. Others work from home, and still others are hybrid – working some days at home and some in a workplace.
We get emails, texts, and messages on our smartphones, wherever we go, wherever we are. Work and home are not at all separate, and we get to decide how blended or integrated they might be.
During the day we do/integrate/weave in laundry, cooking meals, helping kids with schoolwork, and then sometimes working into the evening or night because that’s when it is quiet.
We feel like we need to be instantly accessible all the time, and we expect others to be for us. With Google at our fingertips, we’ve become accustomed to getting answers immediately. As soon as we have a thought, we launch it off as a text message or email like a telepathic message.
By learning to be more present in each moment, we gain awareness of where our lives might be out of balance. Here are some techniques to restore that balance and support us to integrate the many facets of our complex lives:
- Set boundaries around hours – for yourself and in conversation with your employer and/or team
- Take mindful breaks that are purposeful and planned
- Use breathing exercises as mini-mindfulness breaks throughout the day
- Make a list of your top priorities and let everything else go
- Focus on the task at hand
- Remember to not take things personally
- Start your day with the intention of mindfulness
- Fill your mind with inspiration, e.g., read daily meditations or listen to podcasts
- Do your housework mindfully – be present as you make the bed, wash the dishes, etc.
- Choose colors and lighting that feel good to be around
- Create a space that represents your most authentic self
- Clear clutter from your environment
- Practice good sleep hygiene
Also be mindful of the transition between work and home. With more of us working at home full-time or in hybrid situations combining off-site and on-site time, we’re commuting less frequently or not at all. Still, you can build other bridges into your day, allowing you to be present for both work time and personal time. Consider taking a walk or drive around the neighborhood at the beginning or end of your day (or both!) to give yourself that space and create a sense of separation between those two parts of your life.