By Fiona Clark, Career and Confidence Coach and Founder of Inspired Mums
A recent survey by the Mental Health Foundation appears to suggest that finding a better work life balance is more elusive than ever. One third of respondents felt unhappy about the amount of time they devote to work – with women in particular reporting greater levels of unhappiness than their male counterparts as a consequence of competing life roles and more pressure to “juggle” everything.
Faced with facts like this, it’s easy to question whether work life balance actually exists any more. So, as a career and confidence coach who has helped hundreds of mums find fulfilling and flexible work, I wanted to reassure you that there are practical steps you can take to achieve a greater sense of balance in your life:
- Be clear on what balance means for you
It’s important to bear in mind that work life balance means different things to different people. Some people want to work full-time with the flexibility to attend school events, others want to work part-time and have greater family time. So take the time to define what balance actually means for you, as only then will you be able to know when you have achieved it. A great way to gain a greater sense of fulfilment is to use this free Wheel of Life tool to help you look at the different areas of your life with a fresh perspective.
- Be kind to yourself
As mums, we are often harsher on ourselves that on anyone else, trying to meet the needs of everyone around us. So have the courage to say ‘no” when necessary – don’t be guilt-tripped into becoming the chair of the PTA if you feel life is already full enough. Instead try to prioritise and do what you can, then notice all the things you have managed to achieve, instead of what you haven’t yet done.
- Give up on perfectionism
Remember that no one really ‘has it all’. Having kids means that something has to give – so a good way to find more balance in your life is to compromise on your own high standards and remember that good is good enough. For example, if you aren’t managing to read with your kids every night don’t beat yourself up – just do what you can and remind yourself that life isn’t perfect.
- Carve out some “me-time”
This is often easier said than done! Take active steps to prioritise your own needs and have some fun. Whether this is going for a run, meeting friends for a drink or taking a long soak in the bath with a good book. Making time for yourself will keep you sane and help you de-stress from the pressures of the week.
- Be present in the moment
As women we are used to juggling different roles, but there’s no denying that multi-tasking can be exhausting. So from time to time, focus on a single task and forget about everything else that needs to be done. This could be reading a story to your kids or playing a game with them. Your kids will love having your undivided attention, and you will feel yourself relax as you go with the flow and enjoy being truly present for them.
If you need help achieving a better work-life balance then visit http://www.inspiredmums.co.uk/blog/a-balancing-act for inspiration or contact Fiona on 07789597209 or email her on firstname.lastname@example.org for a FREE 30 minute consultation.