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Your Guide To Finding Work-Life Balance

by Sarah Schuh - December 31, 2021

Work-life balance is one of those tricky things: Everyone wants it, but it can be hard to achieve! Especially after adjusting to a new normal of working remotely, where the boundaries of work and personal life can blur, finding equilibrium in the day-to-day feels harder than ever right now. But the new year is the perfect time to recommit to wellness—both mental and physical—and setting goals to help achieve work-life balance is a great place to start.

That’s why we tapped experts to get their take on how to find a good work-life balance. With these tips and some thoughtful planning, you’re one step closer to work-life balance.

Read on to learn how.

work-life balance

Addressing 3 Components of Work-Life Balance

What does having work-life balance look like?

Let’s start by addressing what work-life balance is. What work-life balance looks like for one person can be completely different for another. That said, the outcome should be similar.

“[Work-life balance] does not need to look like the person’s next to you. It is truly what works best for your life. The important thing is finding a balance that provides you a healthy life overall. That is the ultimate goal,” Certified Life Coach, ​​Annette Smith, tells Lively.

Many of us left school and took on a career without ever pausing to think about what we wanted and or considered how to create a life outside of work. Paying bills and making ends meet is important, and can leave a person feeling very burnt out without an outlet for self-care.

But it’s time to take a step back and reassess your priorities. Are there certain things you are neglecting, such as wellness, family time or fostering a hobby, that you’d like to give more attention to? This is your sign to evaluate your schedule and reprioritize. 

What are 5 steps to a work-life balance?

If you’re looking for a few steps you can take to achieve a better work-life balance, Smith outlines a helpful approach to get you on your way to this goal. Here are her recommendations:
  1. Take a breather—It’s okay to take time to just stop and breathe. With so much going on in the world, it’s easy to move through life without coping and/or dealing with what’s around you. Take time the needed time to make an informed decision moving forward.
  2. Develop a plan of action. At times life can be overwhelming and the best way to overcome that is to create a plan. List out the things you would need to find balance in your life. No pressure — just start where you are.
  3. Prioritize your action plan. Review your list and figure out what’s most important and what you can do another day. Use your list to stay on task and complete your daily goals.
  4. Make time for yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in work [and] the things around you. Take time to do an activity that you like that allows you to relax and enjoy.
  5. Set boundaries. It’s not easy to say no or to walk away, but when you get in the habit of protecting your space, it will become a new normal.

Why is work-life balance important?

Remember: even if you are absolutely in love with what you do for a living, work should not be your life.

“Most of us spend more time at work than we do at home or with our families, and that is the exact reason why you need to put hard parameters in place to separate you from your work,” writer Arena Ellis, who worked in corporate America for almost a decade tells Lively.

After considering what work-life balance looks like for you, acknowledging what your priorities are and implementing some steps to get you there, it’s important to reflect on why work-life balance is important in the first place. The key to this ultimately falls on the principle of moderation.

“Work-life balance is important because too much of anything is not healthy,” says Smith. “Finding balance in life, as well as work, allows you the space to become the best version of yourself.”

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