I spend a lot of time thinking about what it means to live a good life. Which areas of my life are going well? I mowed the lawn on time this week, that’s good. But I was late to my daughter’s dance recital. Not so good. I was able to attract a new client at my job, but my wife got frustrated that I was on my phone too much during family time. These are all common examples faced by clients and friends. Does improvement have to be a zero-sum game?
Life is a giant balancing act between work, family, friends, hobbies, and goals. Is it even possible to juggle everything without dropping at least one ball? Maybe not all the time. But there are ways to improve your work-life balance without having to sacrifice an area important to your well-being.
1. Add in one mental health-related activity each week
Improve your work-life balance by focusing a little more on yourself. Okay, I know you’re thinking, “What? Add another activity into my already busy schedule? All of my hair will fall out!” But adding in an intentional activity that is strictly for your own mental health can help increase your energy, improve your ability to focus, and in turn, make it easier for you to complete the tasks in each area of your life that you need to focus on each day. My friend and exercise expert, Meghan Gilmour, wrote how exercise can help alleviate stress here.
2. Unplug to exist more fully in the lives of those you love
One way to improve work-life balance is by tuning out intentionally. According to a CNN article that references the quarterly Nielson Total Audience Report published in 2016, Americans spend over 10 hours each day staring at a screen. Whether that’s iPhones, tablets, TV’s, computer screens, we are spending almost every waking hour staring into a field of pixels. We can all cut back on our use.
Each of us can make small changes today that will leave a lasting impact on our work-life balance. Tune out intentionally and the people in your work life and personal life will both thank you. Plus, you’ll experience a spike in resilience and a feeling of control over your own life. Set a goal to be more present by making a pact with yourself not to be on your phone at your child’s next soccer game, on your next dinner date, or anytime you ought to be interacting with those around you.
3. Realize that perfection is overrated (and impossible)
Perfection is impossible, and some of your work-life stress can be alleviated by relieving yourself of the pressure to perform life perfectly, all the time. Learn to expect the unexpected because we can’t control everything. We’re all moving through the world day-by-day, trying to improve ourselves and live better lives for those we care about. Part of that process is discovery, growth, and learning from our mistakes.
If we expect to perform perfectly all the time, we won’t take big risks that have the potential to pay off later and change our lives! The example I always come back to in my own life was the moment I decided to embark on my own journey to help others. I thought, “I suffered from panic attacks for so long, why would anyone want to listen to me about how to overcome them?” Well, because I know better than anyone what it feels like, and I’ve lived through the experience. It’s paid off tenfold for me and for those who have become part of a larger community dedicated to living better lives.
I also offer online, one-on-one coaching services to help my clients improve their own work-life balance and live life confidently. Finally, if you find yourself struggling to make a change for fear that you’ll fail, reach out and we can identify strategies for you to ‘fail-safely’ in ways that grow who you are and where your life is headed.
About the Author:
Steve Guarino is a certified integrative life coach, self-help author of Make Peace with Panic Naturally, and teacher of guided meditation. He is passionate about helping others find peace and happiness in spite of the life challenges they may be experiencing. Now that he is free from panic attacks, he enjoys spending time with family & friends, writing, traveling, and many other things that he struggled to do previously. Read more about Steve and his work here.