Many times, when people ask me about WE Lead, they bring up the topic of work-life balance and are thrilled to learn that a focus is certainly spent on this topic during conversations, events, professional development and so on.
I like to think of balance like literally balancing on one foot. It takes practice, focus, and discipline. They say that while we may take this skill for granted when we are young, that balance becomes more compromised as we age and can often be the leading cause of devastating events such as hip fractures in women with decreased bone density. Work-life balance becomes more difficult as we age too. As we age, life becomes more complicated. Families grow and shrink, our investments become more integrated, and our professional lives become complex and challenging as we complete degrees and move into more challenging roles.
Finding balance takes practice and it takes knowing when you are about to fall to make an adjustment. When you feel yourself leaning one way and wobbling about, the natural tendency is to move the other way and to adjust.
We are at our best when we can focus and stand tall. Having the ability to feel when we are not quite right is a skillset, and we want to catch ourselves before hitting the ground for sure. Balance takes constant work and attention and is hardly ever perfect but is a work in progress.
How do we move forward and keep our balance? I would argue that you can’t. Just like walking, we move from one foot to the other shifting our balance along the way. An awareness of when and how to shift is the key.
Through WE Lead, I have gained skills to use when I am feeling off kilter: meditation, deep breathing, planking, cardio exercise, weightlifting, eating healthy on the road, making smoothies, eating more vegetables, drinking more water and drinking water before reading my phone in the morning, grabbing berries as snacks, etc. As stand alone activities, it almost sounds silly to discuss these habits as an adult, but the skill in knowing how and when to use them can be life changing, lifesaving, and career moving.
The first step is realizing something isn’t right, identifying it, and doing something about it.
- Set boundaries on your space and time. Schedule your day / week / month
- Prioritize yourself and your physical and mental health.
- It’s ok to say no
- Use technology
- Communicate and negotiate at work up and down the chain
- Set realistic goals and celebrate small gains
- Take breaks
- Seek support and community with other women