Work-life balance is a topic that’s become more widespread over the past decade.
The workforce is actively seeking a vibrant office culture and work-life balance while searching for new career opportunities. Today, workers of all ages want to strike a healthy balance between professional and personal lives.
As we divide our time between our passions and interests, how do we ensure we give each the attention it deserves? How do we prove we are serious about, and dedicated to, our professions while also giving equal weight to our personal lives? It’s a push-and-pull that many struggle with.
So, how are people finding the balance? For me, taking time to do, at a minimum, one thing for myself every day is how I stay aligned and centered with my work-life balance views. Life can get busy between family, friends, networking events, work events and our responsibilities. We all experience weeks – or even months – at work when we feel like we are on a hamster wheel and our personal lives seem to take a back seat.
Make it a priority to put yourself in the front seat as often as possible. There is simply no way to give your best to others if you’re not taking care of yourself. I am constantly reminding myself that you can’t pour from an empty glass.
How you fill your glass might vary. You might love yoga, going for a run or walk, reading a good book, or enjoying a cup of coffee by yourself or with a friend.
Whatever it is, I challenge you to wake up a little earlier on those “hamster wheel weeks” and make room in your day for that something you love. I guarantee that you’ll go to bed that night feeling like you owned that day instead of feeling defeated and like that day owned you.
How do you do it?
While not a seasoned expert on this, I have some weeks that are better than others. I have found that navigating work-life balance is easier by staying true to my values. I value my health and wellbeing physically and mentally; I value my relationships with family, friends, and my professional network; and I value my career. Every day, to bring my best self to the table for any aspect of my life, I need to hold tight to my values. This means taking care of myself so I can better serve others, attending to relationships in and out of work, and going to work every day ready to put my best self forward.
Take a breather! Whether you are working from home or at your company, take time to step away from your workspace. Taking a walk to get some fresh air or sunshine gives the brain a break and helps you get back to work feeling refreshed.
Fuel yourself! Eating healthy meals throughout the day and drinking plenty of water helps eliminate that afternoon slump. Think of yourself like a car. Your car needs maintenance, it needs gas to run every day, it needs new tires every few years, and it needs an oil change every few thousand miles. If you put those things off, your car is going to break down and not run efficiently. Same goes for you! Give yourself the attention you deserve every day before you break down.
Manage your life, manage your time. We all have roughly the same number of hours in the workday. How those hours are managed on a day-to-day basis will divide those who are able to find balance and those who do not. For example, before work, build in some time to do something for yourself, and after work, build in time to do the same. Orchestrating structure to your days and weeks can help you feel like you are more in control of your time and life.
Why is work-life balance so important to our generation? Overall, I believe young professionals just want to be happy. We’re striving to find joy in what we do for work, we understand the importance of a balance personally and professionally, and we are working towards longevity in all the components of our lives. We feel energized by spending time with family and friends outside of work, we are growing families, buying homes, and building careers simultaneously. The work-life balance encouragement from employers for young professionals not only makes them feel supported but makes them strive to be that much better at what they do every day.
Kelsie Thomson is an employee experience specialist at Windover Construction, and a member of the Emerging Leaders’ leadership team. This column appears in the October, 2023 issue of Impact Magazine.