Our core focus is as a Financial Life Planning firm. But despite all the formalized planning, life can get in the way. Especially as it has in the last few months. There was nothing we could do about it and we all had to find a way to cope as well as we can. So as much as we share advice and mentoring on the financial side, the life side is in many ways more important. If we don’t have that in balance, then the numbers don’t mean anything. Sometimes, in our blog posts, we share information to assist people in trying to find the balance in their lives.
How can people prioritize a work-life balance when things feel out of balance?
These tips may help you take care of yourself so you can continue to take care of your others in your life. Taking care of you and your family is a given during turbulent times, but it’s equally if not more important to start a conversation about how they’re holding up. Between the coronavirus, disrupted routines, and other challenges, we paused to ask “So, how are you doing?”
A common theme emerged: people want more guidance on finding a work-life balance in this strange new world. With many “normal” activities and ways of living shifting or disappearing completely, we’ve all been forced to adjust how we take care of our ourselves and our work. Here’s what’s worked has worked for our people. We hope this advice will work for you.
Start with yourself
When your work life and home life overlap, investing in your own well-being becomes more critical than ever. Why? Much like a car running out of gas or breaking down from lack of oil changes, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to bring your best self to your family, your clients, and your community. In other words, investing in your wellness is the bedrock of being able to be of service to others.
How you make this investment will likely look different from how others do it. In general, though, you should consider the four main pillars of life:
- Physical well-being
- Mental well-being
- Relationship and social well-being
Here, you might think about setting a rule that you will keep no matter what. For example, commit to cooking at least one healthy meal a day or taking a daily 20 minute walk outside. Daily habits are much easier to stick with than those that involve doing something once per week or every other day. Of course, picking something fun may also be far easier to commit to.
Keep it simple
Another key to finding a manageable work-life balance is to get back to basics—those things that sometimes suffer in uncertain times like these.
Get some sleep – Sleep, or the lack thereof, affects our health, mood, and ability to focus. Maybe you’re not getting the eight hours of sleep you’re used to and that’s okay. But you can try to relax and disconnect which means no scrolling through your phone at 2:00 a.m. I even have trouble with this one.
Eat healthy – Although it can be hard to stick to a healthy diet when anxiety is running high, eating nutritious foods has been proven to improve mood and lower stress. Here, it might be useful to take bite-sized steps toward healthier options. Skip the pop and drink plenty of water instead. Try replacing those high sugar snacks with a fruit or veggie plate. Find whatever works for you. Your body and mind will thank you.
Start moving – With many gyms still closed and group exercise classes cancelled, combined with long hours in front of computers, many of us find ourselves being more sedentary than usual. But sitting for long stretches of time can have negative effects on our health, including increased risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. So, why not use this opportunity to get back to nature and soak up some vitamin D? Explore a forest or embark on a long hike. If it is raining or you just don’t have the time, run up and down the stairs in your house, build a makeshift standing desk, or simply get up and stretch every hour.
Reimagine your new normal
Maybe you’re already focusing on the basics and are looking for new ways to maintain a positive balance between your work and home life. Here are just a few tips our staff shared on what’s been working for them.
Create a new commute – Walking from your bed to your laptop not really motivating you to take on the day? One advisor created a new commute while working from home:
- Get dressed and ready to leave the house
- Take a 15-minute walk
- When you return home, go straight to works and start the day
- Schedule lunch and other breaks into your calendar
Limit your news intake – We are all trying to keep abreast of the latest news about the coronavirus, but sometimes it can be overwhelming. To avoid information overload, consider the following:
- Watch a digestible amount of news each day (maybe 30 minutes), choosing sources that are informative rather than alarmist
- If you can, watch the news with someone else
- Talk through what you are feeling and thinking in response to what you’re seeing
- Turn off your cell phone and TV before turning in for the night
Get out of your head – It can be all too easy to ruminate in times like this and to worry over things that we can’t control. One way to avoid going down that rabbit hole is to get out of your own head.
- Think of those less fortunate and what you might do for them. Focusing on how you can take action to make a positive difference will surely get you off the worry wheel.
- Find ways of giving to others (e.g. sewing masks, writing notes of gratitude), as thinking of others is an excellent antidote to thinking about yourself.
Learn from this experience – Start a list of what, if anything, is better in your life right now so you can hold on to lessons learned.
- How do you want to carry these lessons forward into your post-pandemic life?
- Can you schedule five minutes per day to reflect on the joy they bring?
- What lessons have you learned from your family, staff and clients?
Right now, there are a lot of unknowns, and your family, clients, staff may lean on us more than ever. These added pressures, combined with our own worries and a new way of working, can lead to burnout, or what is known as compassion fatigue.
If you find yourself working all hours or fretting over what’s on the news, perhaps it’s time to take a small step back to focus on yourself. With just a few of these suggestions, you can improve your self-care and well-being, which may help you reestablish that work-life balance that is vital in this strange new world. Maintaining the balance is Keeping Life Current.