Guest Post by Sarah DeGeorge, Founder of Socially Dedicated
Self-care seems to be a consistently trending buzz word, but REALLY- What is it? The short answer is simply whatever the definition means to you. Self-care could be a cup of coffee every morning, rocking out to your favorite music in the car, or taking a yoga class every Thursday.
When it comes to adding self-care to your work/life balance, one response could be to get a bit stumped. How can I do that? I need the money, I need the job, but does that mean you need to wear yourself out? The obvious answer to THAT question is a big NO.
Need a starting point on being firm with your work and living the life you want to live? Here are four steps to creating work-life balance in 2018 & beyond.
Be Clear and Consistent With Your Work Hours
If you are a freelancer (like myself), you need to be clear with clients about when you work, and when you do not. Be strict with this and make it a non-negotiable time commitment. If you are getting the desire to work after-hours, then find a nice and calming way to divert your thoughts. You cannot attain a balance if you are unwilling to create that balance and boundaries.
For those who work in-office jobs with set hours, make it a point to always make sure you are leaving when you should. Staying late for some extra cash on occasion is understandable, but anything that becomes regular will be viewed as the norm. You want to stay clear in your efforts to maintain a set work schedule and not be taken advantage of.
Have A Set Routine For Starting and Ending Your Work Day
If you cannot get started on your work without a cup of coffee, then create 15 minutes before work to enjoy the moment. Work should not intertwine with life, so make this time sacred to you. Do a quick ten-minute workout session in your living room, read your favorite bloggers post, do something non-work related.
This can also be said when you are finally ready to be done with the day. Close the laptop, shut down the computer, walk around for a bit, or just close your eyes and slowly detach from your workday. Mentally detaching is almost, if not more, important than physically leaving the office or walking away from work.
Schedule Your Month In Advance (with room for spontaneity!)
When you have your month scheduled out, with clear work hours, you can better assess when and where you can add events to your day. When work and life become unbalanced, people tend to let work rule and will avoid making set plans that would otherwise be enjoyable because they are unsure if they can attend.
Purchasing a planner and creating a digital calendar as well can be a great way to attain that work/life balance. You know your hours, you also know you won’t be working earlier or later, so begin to fill that planner up with events, outings with friends, and things that make you who you are (and damn proud of who you are).
Don’t become too rigid though and leave room for the unexpected fun that can happen during the month.
Be Confident In Your Decision To Create Balance In Your Life.
All the above statements can only take you so far, but the most significant way to attain a work/life balance is to be ready to be open to the experience of creating it.
If you are not feeling confident enough to say no to being asked to stay later at work or having to become more rigid with hours, then there is nothing wrong with that. Perhaps, you just need a little more time to create a better way to go about this plan of action.
Never feel guilty for not being ready to take the plunge, but also realize that any time spent preparing is more time away from a better balance in life. You need to think about yourself first, and with only a limited time on this planet, you want to spend those seconds, minutes, and hours doing what makes you feel content.
Finding a good work/life balance seems like a desire instead of a reality, but there are ways to make it happen. 2018 needs to be that year for you, for us all, so here’s to better balance in the new year!