A huge thank you to Natalie for this guest blog. Myself and Natalie connected over on Instagram and I thought what a fab guest blog it would be from Natalie about self care and making sure your work life balance is how you want it to be as a business owner.
There is a phrase that I sometimes use when counselling clients that highlights the discrepancies between what they are telling me and what I actually see playing out in their lives. Cognitive dissonance is the mental stress that is caused when someone’s values don’t align with their behaviours. And so right now I’m going to coin the phrase “work-life dissonance,” this thing that happens when you cherish family, friends, personal time – but your life doesn’t reflect this. It’s what happens when a close friend of yours asks if you can grab a quick coffee and as you look at your calendar you realise that you can pencil her in…3 weeks from today.
It’s no secret that attempting to manage all significant parts of your life can be overwhelming, at times! Do you find yourself torn because there are so many work demands (all important, of course!) that need your attention but then you begin to feel like you are neglecting other important components of your life (i.e. children, partner, “me time,” exercise, etc.)?
Let me share something with you that I think you are going to find relieving and encouraging. It is absolutely impossible to keep your life balanced 100% of the time. Now if you were in absolute control of every aspect of your life, sure that would make things a whole lot easier, but you are not! There are external factors that are occurring around you all of the time and there are times when things happen unexpectedly in our lives that require us to put a little bit more time or attention into that area of our lives. But generally speaking, we can all benefit from trying to live a life that is more balanced because it will guarantee a more fulfilled and abundant life. In fact, you deserve it!
So below you will find a few easy tips on how to live a more balanced life; tips that I have found to work pretty well in my life!
Make Daily Efforts. If you juggle more than two responsibilities or roles (work, mom, wife, mentor, student), you may find it extremely difficult to frequently schedule fun and relaxing activities that require a few hours of your time. It’s not always realistically possible, but you can make smaller, daily efforts to incorporate time for other things that you value. For example, it might not be feasible to schedule a facial or pedicure/manicure during the week, but you could alternatively take a few moments to mix together a refreshing or cleansing face scrub one evening that you can put on while you watch a 20 minute episode of your favourite Netflix show.
Build Gaps. I have found that if I do not intentionally include blocks of rest in my daily schedule, I can work for 10-11 hours straight without coming up for air! Now it’s important that you don’t simply have the intention to take some breaks throughout the day but that you also schedule them in. I’ve learned that my mind will otherwise not see these “rest gaps” as a necessity.
Rethink Your Errands. Running errands, in my opinion, is probably one of the worst things adulthood requires! You can easily fall into the bad habit allowing errands to decide where you go, what you do, or when you do something on any given day. Group your errands like a bagger groups your groceries at checkout! It’s A-Okay to allow your pile of dirty clothes to sit in the backseat of your car until you find yourself on the side of town your dry cleaners is located. Just because an errand needs to be ran doesn’t mean that it needs to be completed now.
Only Do What You Are Invested In. Now this tip might be the hardest one of all, and understandably so. Many women fall into the “superwoman” track of thinking and feel bad saying “no” to engagements, projects or events. We try to fit every demand made by others into our schedule. We make others’ concerns our responsibilities. What we fail to notice is that for every “yes” we give to someone or something, we are, in effect, saying “no” to people or activities that we find more valuable. Learn to drop responsibilities that you are not 100% invested in, and put your energy and time into people and things that add value to your life.
Realistic Goal-Setting. This last tip of mine is a lesson that I’ve learned over the years working in private practice as a counsellor. If I assigned my clients goals that were larger in nature with extremely high expectations for where they were at in that moment, they would more times than not become discouraged and stop attending their sessions. When there is a huge gap between where you are in regards to a goal and where you would like to be, it becomes harder to focus on the daily steps needed to accomplish what you’d like to one day complete. And this is true for any project that you start. Set realistic, weekly goals that you can attain by breaking up the goal in smaller steps. When one focuses on the long-term goal instead of the smaller steps, progress becomes hard to see and discouragement begins to seep in. You don’t want to feel like you are always striving.
We hope that these simple tips have been beneficial and you are able to begin implementing them today!
Natalie Rosado, LMHC, is a licensed mental health counsellor who has worked in this field for close to 10 years, helping women overcome the difficult challenges of anxiety, depression, life purpose, stress, and entrepreneurship. She is also the founder of Live Whole Box, a self-care subscription box for women who are too busy to care for themselves! For weekly tips and ideas on living a more balanced life, click here to join the newsletter.