You’ve probably heard plenty of discussion around self-care and around work-life balance, but did you know that the two are actually closely related? Both concepts go hand-in-hand, and if you have a job, it’s hard to take good care of yourself if you don’t have balance. Really, achieving work-life balance is a form of self-care. Here’s how you can tackle both issues at once.
Make a Clarity Map
Start by taking a moment to pause. Maybe make that a full hour or two. To create balance, it’s important to clear out the clutter and decide what’s most important.
Look at all the things you do each day or each week. What things do you need to do? This may include your job and the dishes – you have to earn money, and you need clean plates so you can eat. Now, consider what things you want to make time for; which items bring you joy? Perhaps this is your weekly book club, or date night with your significant other, or spending time on a hobby.
Now that you have your list of must-do items and those you want to keep in your schedule, it’s time to determine what can be removed from your schedule. What things do you do just to keep up with others’ expectations of you? What do you do just because of habit or because you haven’t considered a better way?
See where you can eliminate things, or at least cut back on activities that don’t need as much attention. In Lynn’s case, it meant spending less time on Christmas decorations over the holidays. She didn’t need to go all-out with the lights and décor; instead, she put up just some decorations – enough to still feel festive – without overdoing it and wasting time.
Use this exercise to pare down your schedule and free up your time. Consider this your clarity map, and use it to prioritize. It’ll help take the weight off your shoulders, and you’ll have more time to spend on what truly matters.
Implement Easy Fixes
Now that you have your clarity map, it’s time to put it into action. As mentioned above, Lynn used her findings to cut back on holiday decorating. She felt less stress once she realized her home didn’t have to look like a magazine spread for every holiday. Instead, her time went towards spending time with loved ones and on the hobbies that mattered more to her. It was an easy fix that just took some conscious consideration.
Easy fixes are the best way to get the ball rolling on making changes in your life. They’re almost effortless to put into practice, and the satisfaction that comes with achieving a goal will prime you to take on more goals in the future.
Look back at those unimportant or draining tasks. Can you completely kick some of them to the curb? Can anything be delegated to a colleague, friend, or family member? Consider what you can trade out for something more efficient – for example, ordering your groceries online when you’re too busy to go out to the store.
Identify as many fixes as you can based on your clarity map. Once you’ve done so, choose the easiest fixes to implement first. You don’t need to do everything at once, but starting small will allow you to make progress and see results without putting in too much time and effort. Seeing those results, however, will put you on the path towards achieving more of your goals and give you more motivation to go after them.
Make Daily Time for Things You Love
Your schedule is a lot clearer now. The final action you need to take is adding in time for something that makes your heart sing. Making time for yourself is vital to both self-care and work-life balance; it’s an activity that essentially kills two birds with one stone.
What activities do you enjoy? Consider what you’d listed out before, when you made your clarity map. Don’t choose anything work-related, and don’t choose anything that counts as a chore. Stripping all the work and chores away, what do you love doing for yourself?
Maybe you love curling up with a good book. Perhaps you like to draw, or spend time with friends and family. Do you have a favorite show you love to watch? Do you really enjoy baking? Whatever it is that makes your heart sing, add it into your daily schedule.
When you make time for something you love, you’re ensuring you don’t tilt too far into overworking yourself. You’re creating balance so that it’s not all work and no play – you have at least a little “you time” when you can relax and enjoy yourself. This also doubles as self-care. Indeed, self-care is all about keeping you healthy and happy, and time spent on whatever makes your heart sing certainly counts. It will make you feel calmer and force you to slow down a bit; you’ll feel less stressed when the activity is one you love.
By making time for your favorite activities, you’re bringing the clarity map full-circle. You’ve eliminated or limited the worst of your tasks so you can focus on what’s important.
Balance Your Way to Self-Care
Work-life balance and self-care are both vital to keeping us in good shape – mentally, emotionally, and physically. When you focus on creating balance – by making a clarity map, implementing easy fixes, and making time for you – you also open up a space for taking care of your needs. Indeed, work-life balance is a form of self-care, and by following these steps, you’ll be on the right path towards achieving both.
Amanda Whitbeck is Vice President of Operations at Petite2Queen. Since earning her master’s degree in Global Entertainment & Music Business from Berklee College of Music, Amanda has played key roles facilitating growth at start-ups. She’s also worked in diverse sectors of the music industry, from live events promotion to entertainment journalism. She brings her expertise in music business, writing, and website development to Petite2Queen.