There are people who say that there’s no such thing as “work-life balance,” and they may have a point—there are times when you feel like you should focus more on your job than your friends, or that you need to stay with your loved ones instead of prioritizing your career. “Some suggested alternative ideas,” says Forbes contributor Jessica Lutz. “Work-life integration, work-life harmony, and work-life blend.”
It’s true that there’s no cookie-cutter solution to giving all aspects of your life enough time and focus, and yes, you can’t divide your time to the second to accommodate everything; however, the “balance” in “work-life balance” can also mean allowing everything you want to do to have space in your life and finding joy in them. You create a system to feel balanced, no matter the push-pull of your responsibilities.
That being said, the imbalance begins when one aspect of your life outweighs the rest; you are unable to control it and you start to feel incomplete and unhappy. This is what drains you—the thought that you’re giving too much to one thing and unwittingly abandoning the rest. If you feel unsatisfied and unfulfulled, here are tips you can follow:
Take a step back.
Is all the intensity you’re putting into that one "important" thing necessary? Maybe you’re being too hard on yourself. When you start to feel mentally suffocated by everything that you need to accomplish, pause, breathe, and take a step back to look at the bigger picture. Which things really matter and which don’t? If you can take a physical break from what you’re currently busy with to take stock of things, you can recalibrate your personal system to accommodate everything that really needs your attention.
Find a career that you know you’ll love.
It’s harder to work when you don’t like what you’re doing, so follow your passion but remember to temper it with logic and foresight. Some people believe that following your passion is bad advice, but as long as you’re willing to do what it takes to succeed without sacrificing self-love and important relationships, then go for it, even if you do have to relearn a few things. The payback will be better professionally and personally.
Some jobs demand so much of you that they eat into other aspects of your life all the time—which should not be the case. Before you even accept an offer, inform your direct boss of boundaries you know you'll need to stay grounded. Angle it in such a way that you can offer optimum efficiency if you're well-rested and have regular days off, among others.
If you've been working in your current company for a while and feel that it's starting to encroach too much on your personal life, speak with those involved in your work to see if there are adjustments that can be made. Trust us: it's better that you keep the people around you informed rather than just allowing the negativity to simmer inside you.
Find things to do for yourself.
Always have time, no matter how little, for yourself. Setting aside an hour a day to exercise, read a book, or even just to take a walk can immediately make you feel better and complete. The good vibes will flow through everything you need to do for the day, and you won't feel like you've short-changed yourself no matter how heavy your tasks are.
Know that you're in control of your life.
If your job is taking a toll on your well-being, know that you always have the option to walk away. Don't ever think that your position is what defines you—you earn to live, not the other way around. There are many available opportunities to those that are open to them, so listen to your gut, be aware of the signs, and don't be afraid to make an informed decision that you know will make you happy in the end. Embrace the change, and this time around, put yourself first. When you prioritize your peace of mind, everything else will follow.