Written by Carissa Abazia
Work-life balance is something we crave throughout our careers but do we know what that really means? And if so, is it attainable?
We’re all looking for that magical moment there isn’t an unread email or a hamper of dirty clothes left to be washed. It’s that moment in one’s daily life when everything is just so. In Sweden, we call this “lagom” which loosely means “just right.” For many, myself included, the word “lagom” doesn’t exist, and the idea of work-life balance is elusive and nearly impossible.
We all have the same 24 hours to balance all of our personal needs and wants, but we also share our time with others who have needs, wants and requests of their own. So, does our time really belong to us? Are we giving up our valuable time to the right people?
If someone asks you to do something, he or she is taking that out of his or her 24 hours and putting it in yours. Your proverbial plate is suddenly heavier. If we take a moment to recognize that time is just like a balance sheet, we’ll be able to make better decisions as to whom we spend our time with and how much of it we are willing to give away.
And if you’re like me, you realize, as you get older, that you’ve given precious time to the wrong people. This will continue to happen, but in order to lesson the frequency, we need to learn to value ourselves so others will, too.
Chasing the Unicorn
No two working men or women will prioritize their lives, or manage the daily grind the same. Which is all the more reason to recognize that a healthy, balanced work-life looks different for everyone. Everyone has a different idea of what “lagom” means – unless you’re Swedish, of course – but we’re all chasing the same thing: that damn mythical unicorn (or the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow). We want it, but we’ll never have it because it simply doesn’t exist. Let’s face it: There will always be dirty clothes to wash and one more email to read.
Here are some of the tactics I’ve learned to help build my self-worth and value.
Make self-care a priority. Carve out time to practice mindfulness and divulge in self-care, whether that’s therapy or a jog outside.
Do what makes you happy. For me that is writing, reading, being outside, and exercising.
Treat yourself. Do not go on a shopping spree and max out your credit cards, but on the days you need some extra love, go to a spa and pamper yourself a little.
Ask for help. Your family, friends, and colleagues are your resources. And you can be their resource, too. It’s a cycle of give and receive.
Enjoy each and every moment. Go on a walk during your lunch break, and get lost for a moment. Reflect on what you’re grateful for, and breathe in the fresh air. It will do you some good.
So, remember to “stop and smell the roses” and value not just what you do with your time, but also who you become as a result of it.
Thanks for reading!