Sometimes the subject of work/family balance seems to be all about parents and kids, but that would be erroneous.Everyone needs to take time off the job and do something that renews their spirit so they can come back to work refreshed and ready to go. Navigating uncertain times in your job as a single person has a different set of challenges because single adults are often living away from the network of family. Family can certainly be stressful, but family also is a support system for most of us. We need to be part of some definition of family even if that “family” is an online support group we never see in real life.
In some ways, parents have more clear cut boundaries about work commitments. A child comes with obvious responsibilities and you clearly must say “no, I can’t work late” sometimes to take care of those responsibilities. A single person sounds selfish, even to their own ears, when they want to say “no, I can’t work late” because they paid for a yoga class and it is not refundable. Why is the idea of losing out on a yoga class fee selfish? I don’t think it is, particularly if it’s an expensive class.
Everybody needs to have the ability to do these things outside of your work schedule:
take care of your health
find leisure activities you enjoy
Maybe we should call it work/life balance, instead, because people who live alone still need to have an identity outside of their job description.
What do you think? How have you been able to maintain this important balance in your life?
Last year I posted about not liking the term “resolution”–that I always seemed to fail miserably when I wrote down my New Years Resolutions, so instead I switched to ‘small attainable goals’. I can handle that. Like, ‘walk 20 minutes a day’, or ‘eat at least 2 vegetables a day’ (yes, V8 juice or a Bloody Mary counts), or ‘turn off the computer a half hour earlier than normal’.
So, I was thinking this year instead of making myself do things that I probably wouldn’t do ordinarily unless pressured (by resolutions for example), I would do more positive things for me. 2009 was a very, very busy year for me. I hired a savvy small business consultant who not only redesigned my website, but also taught me the value of developing partnerships, while helping me become more productive and efficient with my business processes. My business increased 500% in a matter of months. My work days went from 6 to 16 hours followed by about 4 hours of sleep. Spring turned to Summer, and Summer to Fall and I never set foot outside to enjoy the seasons. As thrilled as I have been by this whirlwind of success, I knew I needed to scale back and take a break. I would read tweets on Twitter that would leave me wailing, “How does she have time to do an HOUR of yoga? Or read a book? Who has AN HOUR??” Between work, home, children and family, there was time for nothing else. The pity party wasn’t pretty. We all need time to ourselves. Time to decompress. Time to do whatever we want–watch TV, read a book, meet a friend for coffee or a meal, spend time with our families or our children, or do nothing at all. Time to ourselves. We don’t have to be super people. We get burned out and our focus becomes fuzzy, replaced with a burning desire to justrest. If we become deprived of it, our creativity, drive, and motivation recedes and we live life on autopilot. The more down time we can get in a day, the more balanced our lives will become. So, I made a plan.
2010 would continue to bring in more business, but I would cut back. For my health. And my sanity.
First,my health. I gave up Aspartame. As addicted to Diet Coke and sweet-n-low as I was, I knew it was not healthy for me. Yes, sugar is bad too, but in my opinion, not as bad as Aspartame, so I will take the sugar instead. So far, so good. I will also walk or do exercise of some form every day to get the blood flowing. Sitting on my butt all day in front of the computer isn’t wonderful for the body either.
I also started drinking green tea. Frankly, I’m not quite sure what it is supposed to do for me, but if the world (and Dr. Oz) is raving about it, then it must be a good thing. So I got a pretty red tea kettle for Christmas, stocked up on green tea, and resolved to drink two cups a day. I am hoping my body is happy about it, but I think it’s too soon to tell. Have you done something for your heath? A small change? Or something big? Can you feel a difference?
Second, down time. I used to be a reader… at least 4 books a week. In the last 6 months, I have read 2 books. Oh, the withdrawal symptoms I’d have. I’d pass by the book section at the supermarket and touch the covers, promising them I would be back to read them some day. Or I would buy them and then put it on the stack with the other untouched books. The last week of December I read a book. Now I am on #2 and darn happy. I feel more… relaxed, satisfied, balanced. It’s the little things. Have you given yourself any down time lately? If you haven’t, do it now. Even if you are job searching. You can only search so many hours in a day. Take the rest of the time to rejuvenate your spirit by doing something you love. I promise you, you will go back to the job search the next day with a renewed passion for it.
Third, friends. I miss my friends. I need them around me.Being with friends uplifts me. We laugh til it hurts and we say what we want. After 10 hours of serving others (clients) all day, it is great to be with those who I can be myself with. When is the last time you talked to, or spent time with a friend? Can’t remember? I know what you mean. Call them now and set up a time to get together.Not only is being with friends good for the soul, but it’s also a great networking tool. How many times have you talked to a friend and the conversation turned to work? Use those opportunities to let everyone know you are job searching.
New Years doesn’t have to be all about exercise and discipline and broken resolutions. It can be a commitment to yourself – to get yourself to a place where you are happy and contented again. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge what your body is telling you. The job or the job search will always be there the next day, so spend a few minutes doing something that makes you happy.
Happy New Year.