Regardless of whether you’re working because you have to or because you want to, we, as mothers, all face similar challenges in establishing a balance between work and home. But Diane Lang has some suggestions and ideas for modern moms seeking ways to ease the stress and relax that push/pull of work and family life while still holding onto a sense of self.
1. Career vs. Job — Do what you love. Imagine you have a job where you work as least 40 hours per week, and then add an hour commute each way; that’s a lot of time to spend doing something you don’t like. If you’re a parent then you have two jobs. Parenting is a 24 hours, 7 days a week, no holidays or vacation time job. So, you’d better like your job outside of the home or it will make a very stressful, unbalanced and unhappy life.
The happiest/balanced people will tell you they have a Career. They enjoy going to work because it’s their passion. The first step you need to take to create a balanced life is find out your passions and strengths. Take a personality test if you need to and ask yourself some questions:
- When you were a child what did you love to do?
- If money wasn’t an option what would you love to do?
- What causes flow in your life? Flow is when time stands still, when you’re so involved in your activity that you don’t even notice what is going on around you.
2. Personal and Professional Growth — To remain balanced, we need a mix of both professional and personal development. The happiest people are always growing and learning in both areas of their lives. If we stop growing both professionally and personally we becomes stale and stagnate which can lead to depression.
3. Are Your Basic Needs Met? You won’t find any balance if you’re not taking care of yourself. This involves taking care of basics such as: sleep, eating healthy, exercise, etc. The other part is self-care. We usually feel unbalanced because we give a 100% to our work and then a 100% at home to our family but what about ourselves?
For me self-care is a necessity; I schedule in “me” time. I schedule in daily activities that will be two-fold. I will be putting myself first and also doing things that cause happiness. This includes: gratitude checks ( morning and night), exercise, reading, etc.
Write a list of activities that you love to do that involve your strengths/passions. Then schedule yourself in your daily calendar. What keeps me motivated to add self-care is my child. A positive parenting tip: kids are visual learners. Telling my daughter she needs to take care of herself is one thing but showing her is even better. When my daughter sees me exercising, reading a book, going out with friends, etc., I’m showing her respect for oneself and how to be happy.
4. Visualize What Your Balanced Life Would Look Like — I have clients come to me and say that their lives are unbalanced. When I ask what would make their lives better and more balanced, they aren’t sure. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the feelings of being overwhelmed, stressed out, and tired that we forget to focus on what we want. What kind of life do you want? Do you need more vacation time? Time with your family? A different job? You can’t make changes until you know what they are.
5. Control — Most of us spend a lot of time on what we CAN’T control, and all that does is take up a lot time and negative energy. We can’t control anyone but ourselves. Write a list of everything you can and can’t control. The list with everything you CAN’T control, rip up. If you can’t control it, let it go. Take the list of everything you can control and ask yourself this question: What can I do about it now? What changes can I make?
6. Be Honest — A lot of times we feel unbalanced but really we aren’t happy in our lives. So, take some time to be honest with yourself. What are you feeling? I have seen clients preoccupy themselves with so much “stuff” that they felt unbalanced and overwhelmed but after a lot of thinking, they realized they were filled up with “filled” activities. They would keep busy but it wasn’t anything important to them. They were avoiding their real feelings.
7. Be Realistic — I haven’t met anyone who has a perfectly balanced, happy life. We will have bad days, days we are rushing and feel stressed out. When this happens, remember: it’s only TEMPORARY. We won’t feel this forever. Odds are you will be over it in a few hours. It’s okay to feel stressed out sometimes. Remember, too, that stress can be good. Good stress motivates you to move forward and be the best you can be. So, don’t always be turned off by stress.
Bio: Diane Lang is an educator and Life Coach. Diane has dedicated her career to helping people turn their lives around and is now on a mission to help them develop a sustainable positive attitude that can actually turn one into an optimist, literally. A therapist and educator of Positive Psychology, she has seen that it can provide a strong foundation for finding great happiness and is gratified that it is becoming a mainstream method of treatment. As an expert in her fields of therapy, Diane has been featured in the Daily Record and Cookie Magazine, seen on NJ 12 TV and the national television program “Fox & Friends”. She has also participated in a reality-based Internet show, Ourprisoner.com, hosted Generation X-tinet and appeared in various educational videos. In addition Lang writes a bi-weekly column “The Balancing Act” at www.thealternativepress.com and sharing her expertise on parenting and living a positive lifestyle on The WTBQ Expat Show.