To balance work and family life is a concept that defines the ways in which an individual strike a balance between her personal and professional life. It refers to the level of prioritization he/she accords to his/her work and personal life. The advancements in technology offer an easy access to email and social media, making it easy for people to carry their work home. This in turn, poses difficulty in balancing work and family in the real world.
The Family Living Today, a free source to gather expert’s information, has found that a full-time employee in the U.S. spends nearly 8.15 hours working every day. On an average, while men spend approximately 8.35 hours, women spend nearly 7.84 hours. But it is important to understand that just like work, there are a number of other tasks that are essential to be accomplished, such as taking care of oneself and spending time with family and friends.
While a lot of men deal with this trouble, a majority of working women face a lot of difficulty in balancing work and family life. And if she is a mother too, life might just get too difficult for her. A working mother is always on the toes, fulfilling her responsibilities either at home or at work. Since they love both their job and kids, many a times, they forget to take care of their own self. But self-neglect and ignoring own needs is not healthy, as this might drain them off their energy and prevent them from fulfilling their responsibilities as a mother. In fact, with a lot of stress and burden, they are now at a greater risk of developing severe health issues, both physical and mental.
Family Work-life Balance Tips
Mental health issues in working women are quite common as they are generally over-burdened with responsibilities and expectations that, in turn, lead to stress and anxiety. Work and mental health are closely related. Therefore, it is important to take measures to curb the risk of developing mental health issues. These tips can serve as a real help to women who find it difficult, at times, to maintain a healthy balance between their family and professional life. Some of the common tips on how to balance work and family are as mentioned below:
Eat a healthy diet:
Healthy and balanced diet is key to a healthy body and mind. Food rich in vitamins and fibers, such as fruits and vegetables, allows the body to get the right nutrients to function properly. It is also important to avoid the intake of calorie-dense or processed food so that there is no hurdle in ensuring a healthy mind and body.
[ Read to know some simple tips to practice self-care: 31 Simple Ways to Practice Self-Care ]
This might sound difficult, but it is important to manage some time for exercise in your daily routine. This will not only keep you active and alert, but also push your energy level, and keep you mentally and physically health.
Spend some ‘me-time’:
Spending some time with oneself by engaging in activities you enjoy is a great way to beat the stress. This might also include going out with friends to have fun. Remember, when going out, ask for help from your husband or a family member to care of the things that can’t wait, such as a meal for your child. Doing so would allow you to leave all the stress at home and have fun.
Make use of wellness benefit programs:
It is common for a mother to suffer from mental health problem. Therefore, there is no harm in taking advantage of wellness benefit programs as and when offered by the employer. The Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) are a great way to stay mentally healthy.
Plan a vacation:
Take a break from your mundane life and add some excitement to it. Get your leave approved and plan a vacation with your friends or family and ensure that you stay away from all sorts of office work. Switch off your mobile phones and rejuvenate your senses by breathing in the nature’s beauty.
[ To get an idea about how to talk to your boss about your mental health, read: How to Talk to Your Boss About Your Mental Health. ]
Avoid checking emails when out of office:
While this might sound difficult to implement, it is really important to implement. Limit your work life to your office premises and ensure that you spend quality time with your family. Pay attention to your kids by having a simple conversation about their day at school or engaging in some fun activity to make sure that they feel loved and cared by you.
Learn to say ‘no’:
Women are generally overloaded with responsibilities that they fulfill most of the times. This commonly includes their responsibilities toward kids and family. But when their boss at work begins to expect a lot more than even feasible, it is time to say ‘no’. While it is important to fulfill your job responsibilities, it does not mean that the person should begin overburdening herself.
[ To read how an employer offered support to an employee for her mental health, read: Heart winner mail from boss approving leave for mental health ].
Focus on working smart and not hard. This implies that one must stick to working only during office hours and not try to deliver an exceptional output by putting in extra efforts. Prioritize the tasks assigned to you on a daily basis and allow yourself a fixed time to complete the same.
Don’t try to be perfect:
It is important for every employee to try and deliver his/her best performance but never try to be perfect. This is because as soon as he/she leaves his/her office, there would be some or the other task pending. A pending task does not always demand immediate attention and hence, it can be completed a day later as well.
Don’t work to impress others:
One must never try to work with an aim of impressing others. It is best to focus on completing the required task. Trying to get the feeling of being powerful by staying busy and engaging in excessive work can never be a great idea. Instead, this would only spoil your health.
Control your adrenaline rush:
Whether it is an exciting moment at work or a happy moment in the family, it is important to remember that getting overly excited would only harm one’s health. Keeping your level of excitement in check is important to ensure that it does not lead to any sort of devastating consequences, such as heart attack or death.
Plan your retirement:
It is commonly believed that one should continue to work until the time his/her body supports or allows to. But this is certainly not a healthy way to lead a life. It is important to plan your retirement in advance so that when the time arrives, you are completely prepared with a backup plan.
Make your own rules:
Have your own set of rules in place to make sure that you work as per your own terms and conditions. It is important to ensure that you do not work as per the parameters set by others.
Drink plenty of water:
Keep your body well-hydrated to ensure that you do not have to face any health issues due to dehydration. Staying hydrated is also important to ensure that you are completely protected from the risk of developing headache, fatigue, or lack of energy.
Get adequate sleep:
Getting enough sleep is important to ensure that you stay fit and healthy. This is because inadequate sleep may lead to a number of issues, such as fatigue, risk of accident, slurred speech, impaired memory and inability to complete tasks. It may also increase an individual’s risk of developing a number of mental health issues.
Relax your senses:
It is important to take some time out and rejuvenate your senses. The best way is to take a break and relax as much as you want. One may also try to use some other options like deep breathing, practicing yoga and meditation, etc.
Negativity may be occupying a lot of your brain’s space. But it is time to get rid of all such thoughts and develop positive outlook toward life. Thinking positive will change the way you look at things.
Do not compare yourself to other mothers:
It is quite common among women to think that they fail to meet the required standards of being a good mother. They tend to think after comparing themselves with other mothers. But this is certainly an incorrect practice as they compare their personal lives with the public life of the other mothers.
Plan your week in advance:
Sit down with your husband on a weekend and plan tasks that would keep you occupied during the week, any upcoming/pending tasks, etc. This would help you develop a clear understanding of the best suitable slot of the day to spend time with your kids, accomplish all the important tasks within a deadline, etc.
Meet a friend to vent out emotions:
Friends are an individual’s best support system. And when it is about a mother who is flooded with emotions and needs somebody to vent it all out, it’s her friend’s role that comes into play. Plan to meet her and let out all that you have in your heart or brain.
Take a weekly day off:
Sometimes, weekends might be too busy to spend some quality time with family and kids. Therefore, taking a day off from work and relaxing with your family without worrying about any household chores can be a great idea. But implementing this would require complete support from the family.
Get rid of clutter:
Clutter in the house is one of the major reasons that annoys a working mother. In order to avoid it from forcing her to lose her cool, it is important to try and keep things managed. It is important to discard unwanted things from time to time.
Working together is not an idea limited to your office premises. The same can also be applied when managing the household chores. Talk to your family members to identify their skills and accordingly assign them the tasks. Dividing the work among the family members can be a great idea to ensure that the work gets done without creating any excessive pressure on anyone.
It is very likely that a woman wastes a lot of her time in doing tasks that are unnecessary or not so important. Therefore, it is certainly a great idea to divide your tasks as urgent, important and least important. Doing so would help a working woman define the best way she would like to invest her time in various activities.
Disconnect once home:
When a woman reaches her place of work, she hardly gets any time to keep a check on her kids or things that are planned to be done at her home. This should also be practiced on reaching home.
A working mother and mental health issues are one of the most important concerns in the present scenario. Therefore, if a mother is working and mental health has started to bother her, she should immediately seek help from an expert. Identifying any symptoms that signify the presence of mental health issues should not be ignored as this might worsen the condition and lead to other complications.
International Women’s Day, observed on March 8, every year, is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. However, the need of the hour is to focus on gender equality and accord due respect and love to women. One must ensure that women are not overburdened with responsibilities, have an equal say in making decisions, and are able to enjoy life to the fullest.