Do you ever feel like your life is spiraling in all of these different directions, and you’re barely staying afloat?
Between work, the house, your significant other, exercise, eating right, getting sleep, making time for hobbies, seeing friends, checking emails, booking trips for the holidays… when is there even a spare minute in the day?!
Up until a few months ago, I felt like I was drowning in this lifestyle.
I would go to work early in the morning, work hard all day, and then come home with only an hour before my husband was home from work as well. In that one hour, I had to decide…
What am I going to do with this one hour of precious alone time?
Some days, I selfishly took the time for myself.
I would sit down on my computer, catch up on social media, work on my side passion project, sneak out to the gym, or choose anything else that I personally wanted to do for myself.
However, in the back of my head, I was always feeling guilty that I wasn’t giving my extra hour of time to someone else…
The laundry would start to back up, I would look at the dishes and cringe, and I would neglect cooking or cleaning the house because I was desperate for alone time for myself.
I couldn’t help but feel like my work-life balance was completely out of whack. I felt like all of the hours at work were taking away from hours for myself and for my marriage and just day-to-day life responsibilities.
If this is you, and you’re in a similar boat and feel like you’re drowning… allow me to share with you a little secret.
NOTHING is going to change.
You make the decision to change.
And then LEGITIMATELY DO IT.
Yes, I’m virtually shaking you through my computer screen. (I’m sorry)
Please hear me out…
…Because I genuinely care about your health and well-being, and because it’s the SAME advice I take on myself to keep me accountable, I am going to give you some tough love.
If you find yourself repeating the same thing more than THREE TIMES (!!), you MUST make an intentional change.
Not a wimpy change.
Not a change that is slightly uncomfortable.
Not a change that you think; “meh. That’s not too bad. I’ll give it a try.”
You need to make a change that actually gives you ANXIETY.
Wait… what? I thought this entire blog was about living the balanced life and minimizing stress. You want me to induce anxiety?
The change you need to make should be DISTRESSING. It should make you very UNCOMFORTABLE.
THAT, my friend, is real change:
Complete disruption of your status quo.
How To Achieve Work Life Balance and Get Time For Yourself
If you’re curious of the nitty gritty details of the real changes that I made, here’s exactly what I did in all areas of my life.
My schedule at work was definitely ranking #1 on the priority list in my life. Despite a full-time schedule M-F, I was working ~40+ hours (extra) each month.
I love my job, I love my colleagues, and I love the work that I do. However, I was quickly becoming burnt out and exhausted.
So, I put my big girl panties on and decided enough was enough. If I was going to work 40 hours for free, I was going to re-invest those hours back into my life outside of work.
After many (stressful) weeks of negotiation, I ultimately decided to reduce my work schedule down to 3 (10 hour) days a week.
THIS WAS SO HARD.
Can I just take a moment to share the negative thoughts that coursed through my mind during this process?
· What will other people think of me?
· Will they think I’m not a hard worker?
· Will they think I’m being selfish?
· Will they think I’m not a team player?
· Am I lazy?
· Am I a failure for not being able to do-all-the-things?
· Will others think less of me?
My mind kept replaying all of these questions, over and over again. To get them out of my head, I decided to face them head on.
I wrote each question down on a piece of paper and interrogated them individually.
What I began realizing- as I went through the questions- was that these questions were simply reflections of my FEARS. They weren’t my TRUTHS.
What will other people think of me?
Why do I need other people to define who I am? I- and only I- should dictate how I live my life.
Will they think I’m not a hard worker? Will they think I’m being selfish?
Yes, I’m a very hard worker. Yes, I am being selfish, but I am choosing to protect my time, my self-respect, and boundaries so that other areas in my life can succeed.
Will they think I’m not a team player?
Yes, I’m a team player. I can’t be everything, to everyone, all the time. I am responsible for some- not all- of the work, and when I own my share of the work, I am 100% in.
Am I lazy?
No, I am NOT lazy.
Am I a failure for not being able to do-all-the-things?
No, I am not a failure. It is OKAY to accept that I have too much on my plate! My life is too crazy right now and it is negatively affecting my relationships, health, and my overall goals in life. By doing so, I am re-positioning my life toward SUCCESS, not failure.
Will others think less of me?
It doesn’t matter what other people think of me. If they think less of me because I am choosing to prioritize balance and other important things in my life- then they don’t really know who I am or what I believe in. If they don’t really know me, they don’t get to have an opinion of how I run my life!
(BOOM! Mic drop!)
With TWO EXTRA DAYS available during the week (holy cow- it is absolutely AMAZING…!), I finally had time to help pick up some of the house work. I was finally contributing my equal share of the laundry, dishes, cleaning, and food prepping.
I actually had time to make meal plans and had an absolute BLAST finding fun new recipes to experiment with (and share with the FB group!)
From someone who always dreads coming home from work to cook dinner, I changed my attitude about cooking altogether.
Now that the stressful timeline of cooking was removed, I actually enjoyed doing it!
I honed in on making cooking FUN! I set out all of my ingredients out on our island counter, turned the TV on to Bravo and Real Housewives (guilty…), and took my time batch cooking meals.
For me, slow and steady meal prepping does wonders on my cooking anxiety; sip a little coffee, chop up some raw veggies, and laugh at the ridiculous women of Real Housewives of Orange County.
By experimenting with different menu themes, preparation styles, and my Meal Planner template, cooking for the week became easy-peezy!
My relationship with my husband drastically improved. I mean- who doesn’t love coming home to a wife who looks and feels recharged, is passionate about her side projects, has had time to food prep and cook a hot meal, is less stressed, more present, and a more patient listener?
The best part?? My hubby reciprocates in equal fashion on the days I’m back to work during the week. It’s the best! Win-win!
Having more time in the week has given me more opportunities to prioritize fitness.
Sometimes, when you have more time on your hands than you’re used to, you don’t know how to efficiently structure it, and the time can fly by, wasted.
Now that I work 3 (10-12 hour) shifts per week, I give myself permission to take those days off from exercise. Therefore, I make exercise a priority the remaining 4 days of the week. In order to stay committed to this, I physically write down- in my daily journal– the time slot for my workout.
I like giving myself flexibility of what that exercise will be, but I keep tight parameters on when and for how long I am going to work out.
For example, if I’m feeling wiped, I still commit to my scheduled 45-minute workout. However, perhaps that day I do light yoga or simply plug my headphones in, get outside, and call one of my girlfriends while I go for a long walk.
I am always paying attention to how my body feels and what my body needs.
I do this before I start a workout, and journal about my work-out after I’m done.
If I’m feeling extra-energized, I may add in an extra work-out to the end of a work day- especially my last shift for the week. Why not?
When it comes to sleep, here’s an important rule I follow:
Keep a consistent morning wake-up call.
For me, that’s 5:00am. Whether I’m getting up for work or not, I am up and out of bed no later than 5:15am- inclusive of weekdays and weekends!
Wait, weekends too?
By getting up at the same time every.single.day, my body becomes regimented to a schedule. Going back to work is easy, I’m not exhausted, and my body is primed to wake-up. Bonus- I avoid the morning sleep hangover.
It also helps me stick to a consistent night-time routine.
I like to eat dinner around 6pm, finish around 7-7:30, watch TV for an hour or two, and then head up to bed by 9pm. Sometimes I stay up in bed and read a fun e-book on my iPad until my eyes get heavy. Other times I don’t even make it up to bed because I’m passed out under my warm blanket on the couch “watching” Last Week Tonight by John Oliver.
Now, am I perfect 100% of the time?
Of course not.
Some nights I let my hair down and stay up later than normal and let my body sleep in. Life is dynamic!
But for the most part, I maintain consistency and stick to a routine.
On my days off work, nothing springs me out of bed at 5:15am than having a quiet kitchen to myself to get some work done!
And an espresso.
Ok, let’s be honest…
Early mornings are my JAM!
This helps prevent decision fatigue and keeps me disciplined and on track.
My Typical Off-Work Day
Here’s what an outline of my day typically looks like when I’m off work:
· 5 – 6:30 Social media / emails
· 6:30- 10a Online business course / appointments / business development
· 11a Workout / lunch
· 2:30p Errands / cleaning etc.
· 3:45p Dinner / bulk meal prep
· 6:00p Dinner with hubby / phone off
I’ve found that having a concrete outline of my day has not only improved my focus but also my productivity.
I spend less time scrolling social media and more time getting sh*t done! 😉
Some days, I’m in a state of work Flow, and I don’t stick 100% to my schedule. Listen, that’s OKAY too! It’s important not to take life too seriously.
If work creeps into my “workout time,” I keep the Flow going and push off a non-essential errand to another day.
Learning how to prioritize tasks is a crucial skill to stay on track.
How Do I Prioritize My Tasks?
This is how I prioritize my tasks on a day I’m off work:
1) Business development
3) Meal prep
5) Social media, etc.
Yours may look different than mine and that’s perfectly fine! Maybe you have kids, sporting events, date night(s), after-school activities, or a Group workout class that falls at the same time each day of the week. Simply plot those into your planner and then build around it!
FRIENDSHIPS / HOBBIES / TRAVELING
Now more than ever, I finally have free time to catch up with friends and family! Whether that’s in person, booking a flight for an extended weekend trip, or giving them a buzz while I’m out running errands, my relationships are now fresher than ever!
My hobbies are additionally seeing more attention. I’m a huge fan of Podcasts, and can squeeze out 1 hour of podcasts PER DAY with efficient use of my free time.
- Jumping in the shower for 15 minutes?
- Throwing on some makeup and getting ready for the day?
- Doing a few loads of laundry?
- Driving around town, catching up on errands?
Simply connect your phone to Bluetooth speakers or connect it to your car, and you’ll be able to churn out a 45-60 minute Podcast episode in no time!
Benefits Of The Work-Life Balance
All in all… It’s now been 6 weeks since I made the change to establish work-life balance. It has proven to be substantially rewarding in so many ways.
· Organized, disciplined, and focused (with the help of my daily planner)
· A better cook
· More active
· Re-energized and re-engaged when I’m back at work
· Restored from sleep
· More connected to loved ones
· Dedicated to entrepreneurship
· Less stressed, more patient, and more present
When I am at work…
I am present and engaged. I am motivated to work even harder when I am there.
When I’m not at work…
I have the time to exercise, food prep, and cook healthy meals. I get to prioritize my nutrition in a way that propels me closer to my lifelong health goals.
I feel more restored, have more patience, and I am more loving toward my husband because I have given myself permission to selfishly prioritize my needs.
AGAIN, all of this came with making the decision to finally make a change.
It was not easy…!!!
If you are desperate to make a change in your life, and need that loving nudge to do so, join me in the 12 Week Weight Management Program. I will be with you every step of the way to help you FINALLY chase after your lifelong health goals!