October 04, 2023
Have you ever heard of the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”? This concept is relatable not just to raising a child but to all things. Including you. To flourish, to live a life full of alignment, it takes help and support.
Navigating work-life balance can be a journey filled with curve balls and things always going pear-shaped. But what if you learnt a few different concepts that can make this journey not only less lonely but also feel more achievable?
In this article, I will debunk some common myths about work-life balance and introduce you to a more practical perspective. We'll particularly focus on the myth that achieving balance is solely an individual effort. The reality is that true balance is a collaborative endeavour, where support networks play a crucial role.
Work-life balance vs work- life integration
The term work-life balance, in my opinion, is bullshit. It alludes to this equilibrium of everything being balanced at one time. That you give the same to work as you do to life and it just fits together neatly and perfectly.
We all know that isn’t the reality. Work and life are complex and uncertain. On any given day, at any given moment, we can be served unexpected curve balls.
So, having this planned approach that everything will work equally makes no sense at all and leaves us constantly feeling like we’re falling short.
However, work-life integration is about putting these together (work and life) like a jigsaw puzzle depending on how the day needs to unfold based on your priorities for the day.
For example, the days I have my son are lighter work days for me. I pick him up from school and we spend time together, which means I finish earlier and make these my days for admin work on lighter tasks. This makes my son the priority and means I am present for our time together.
Then, of course, the days I don’t have him, I work a longer day. However, because I practise work-life integration, it doesn’t mean all I do is work. Just like I work on the days I have my son, on the days I work more, I still prioritise micro-moments to recharge my own batteries.
This could be a weights session at the gym, journaling, a meditation or a walk in nature to break up the day. Without these micro moments my focus and productivity decreases, impacting my ability to create the impact I seek in the world and to show up as the mother I want to be. Work life integration is foundational to recharging my batteries.
Work-life integration gives permission to be flexible with your day based on your priorities. It means showing yourself self-compassion by surrendering to the fact that perfect is unrealistic and things will go a little pear-shaped and that’s ok…it’s not a failing on your part.
A great exercise to free yourself from the shackles of unrealistic expectations when it comes to work life balance is to ask yourself everyday “what does self-compassion look like for me today?”. This supports the idea of flexible work-life integration rather than the elusive exhaustion that comes with chasing work life balance..
So while work-life balance is a term we all use to describe this idealised harmony between our work and our life, there are many myths we have been told about balance, myths that I will dispel in this and future articles.
Three myths we dispelled and turned into new beliefs include:
The next myth I wish to share is here to help you call on the support you need to move through life in a way that feels more energising for you.
Work-Life Balance Myth #5: Balance is Achievable Alone
Myth! Here is the reality.
The belief that balance is solely an individual effort neglects the importance of support networks and the role they play in creating an environment that facilitates balance.
Collaborating with family, friends, and colleagues to define what balance means to you and what you need to realise it can empower you to set expectations with others and put in place healthy and sustainable boundaries.
Work-life balance strategies
Based on this new perspective I invite you to reflect and journal on the following question:
Take a piece of paper and a pen and write it down.
The key points from this article include:
If you’d like to go deeper into dispelling the myths about balance that you can inject more of what makes you feel grounded each day, listen to episode 105 of The Hacking Happy Podcast.
Or, join theBalance Challenge kicking off October 16, 2024. This is a unique opportunity to reframe your relationship with balance and unlock sacred pockets of time that empower you to show up as the woman you long to be.
Think sustainable evidence-based action delivered to you in bite-sized pieces to reduce the overwhelm and unlock a more balanced you.