Work-Life Balance: What It Is (And How To Do It)

Does your work take priority over your self-care and down-time? Are you an activist bringing work home with you because of the imperative that "racism never sleeps" and "the system keeps working and so do you"? (Both true, except for that assumption at the end there.) Are you a tech or start-up professional who prefers to do the spreadsheets at home because you can concentrate better on the couch than you can at the office?

Does imagining yourself here make you anxious (but also kind of jealous of the person in these shoes)?

Does imagining yourself here make you anxious (but also kind of jealous of the person in these shoes)?

It makes me wonder if you might have been taught to value productivity over emotions. I also wonder, did you get the message that if you put your needs and your health first, you're selfish and weak? Were you told that the end result is more important than the path you take to get there? Complying with these messages might have served you in surviving your childhood, but they're probably also taking away from your enjoyment of adult autonomy. If you're fixated and focused only on the deliverables, you will have a hard time letting play and relaxation into your life. You might find that your body becomes totally on edge, unable to rest, and that you compensate for relaxation by bingeing on food or alcohol, unable to sleep, or feeling wired and stressed out throughout the week.

So, if this is you: At Sunday brunch and fielding texts from your boss... Home on a Friday night, unwinding from the week, and need to respond to an email from your coworker who can't find an important document she needed filed before the weekend... Wishing and praying you could figure out how to leave work at work and just take a few days off without having to think about what you are responsible for?

Then it's time we talk about boundaries.

That's right: Work-life balance is about boundaries.

The hardest part about boundaries is that in order to say Yes to yourself, you have to say No to something else. As painful as it is to say no to some of the things you feel obligated to do, you will burn yourself out if you don't. Boundaries are really a survival tactic.

I'm not promising an easy solution to boundary setting, but I can tell you that it is possible to know your needs, set your limits, and feel more secure and less beholden to the expectations of other people. If you're looking for help and support in how to set boundaries (and handle the fallout), call me. I can help.