What does work-life balance look like to you?
The answer is unique to everyone. Some may even say it is impossible. Several things influence the curation of the perfect work-life balance, for instance, perspective, opinion, priorities, culture and purpose.
Kristen Lippencott, Wellness Program Manager at Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, answered this question at the 2021 Cultivate: Women’s Business Series, presented by Falcon Jet. She said that “we often think that work-life balance means that work and life never intersect.”
She explained that it is simply not true and that your work and life will inevitably intersect at some point. Working hard to keep them in one box separate from one another is challenging and exhausting. She said that when you let go of control and let your life happen naturally, the balance starts to feel right.
Balancing work and life contributes to a large part of our stress and managing it. Many people are juggling heavy workloads, managing relationships, family responsibilities, and squeezing in outside interests.
Writer Annie Dillard famously said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” For many of us, a large portion of our days are spent at work; in fact, the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime.
Balancing work and life is easier said than done. Lippencott recommended in the interview that we get comfortable saying no.
It is easy to over-commit to things. Perhaps, you are a natural people pleaser and say yes to everything. While it may seem like the right thing to do to get ahead, it is not a healthy or balanced way to live. When you over-commit, you risk missing the things that mean the most to you.
On the other hand, you can under-commit. Ever heard of the phrase, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy?” The lack of extra-curricular activities and participation in personal interests is not a healthy or balanced way to live. Working too much and not taking time for yourself and your family can negatively impact your mental health and well-being.
Recommendations for achieving healthy work-life balance
Be transparent. Being honest with yourself and those around you will alleviate uncertainty and assumed responsibilities.
Prioritize your goals. Be intentional about your plans. Ask yourself: “What is my desired outcome in this day, week, life?”
Get organized. Do not be afraid to ask for help. A famous quote from Harry Potter: “Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ASK for it.” This quote is a good reminder that all you have to do is ask for help. Arkansas Blue Cross offers a wide range of resources to assist members with their needs.
Be kind to yourself. Balancing work and life isn’t easy, and it may not ever feel that way to you. However, what you can do to help manage that anxiety is to be kind to yourself. Remembering that nothing is perfect and that change is unavoidable will allow you to adjust accordingly and pivot toward achieving a healthier work-life balance and happiness.