Work-life balance is a term that gets thrown around frequently. Not only is it an unattainable goal, I suggest that it is an urban myth. Everyone struggles with balance. Balance is the Holy Grail of life; for a stay-at-home mother or father, a single person focusing on a career while still trying to find time for a life, or a working mother or father struggling to make time for family and for yourself.
The trouble comes when people seek happiness and ease at all times with life decisions. That comfort can happen from time to time, but it is transient. Balance in life comes from choosing your path and just doing it. Regardless of what others in your life say, making the decision to live according to your values and choose moments to connect with those values is what makes you happy.
Here are three simple ways to find moments of balance and happiness:
- Live your values.
Decide what you hold dear in life and live for those. You may value family, spirituality, career goals, friends or health and wellness. Figure out what is important to your life and write it down. If you find a week where you have focused on family and career but ignored wellness, schedule an hour to workout. If you value spirituality but aren't going to church or meditating, schedule time to connect with your spiritual side. If you know what you value, it makes choosing your behaviors more clear in your own mind.
- Access your resources.
Don't skip date night because you don't have a reliable sitter, find one — find several. I located four to choose from. If you have an aging parent, find resources in his or her area to help with household tasks or driving needs. Resources are out there and compromises may need to be made. I know that working just a little bit more helps to pay for a housekeeper just once per month. That is a great stress relief for me and well worth the exchange.
- Manage expectations.
Others will always ask more of you than you can give. Don't try to please everyone. Instead reflect on your values, make your choices and communicate your decision. Looking for validation and appreciation for your compromises at home or work only leads to frustration and disappointment. Know why you made your choice and be happy with yourself.
Focus on what makes you, you. Defining your life, your goals and what is most important to you helps you stay focused. If you find that you are stuck in life, have trouble being your own person, or you get pushed and pulled by your life stressors, get support. A coach or therapist can help you find solutions and move forward.
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