27 Apr Work-Life Balance in the Age of Coronavirus
I’ve never been super comfortable with the phrase “work-life balance.” It’s not because I don’t think that desiring equilibrium between my personal life and my professional life is a worthwhile goal—it absolutely is. My problem is more with the third word than the first two. I think aiming for a perfect balance sets us up for disappointment. Human life is messier than that. Instead, I find it useful to think about my life as seasons of prioritizing one part of me over another, depending on what needs nourishing at any given time.
In our current age of COVID-19 and social distancing, many of us are working from home, and thus dissolving the physical barriers between our personal and professional spaces. Because of that, understanding which parts of ourselves need nourishment and when is more important than ever. Since those boundaries are so blurred, I’ve been trying to focus on two goals that benefit both my personal and professional selves: staying internally centered and staying externally connected. Here are two ways I try to do those things:
Two Ways to Stay Centered
Find a calming affirmation or prayer. When things get overwhelming or I am feeling anxious, I like to be able to switch off the too-busy part of my brain by defaulting to something I have memorized in order to slow down the rushing thoughts. I am partial to ,this prayer during particularly anxious moments, and I’ve found a lot of value in, this list of affirmations for women in business, too. Staying calm and recognizing my value helps me improve lots of parts of me at once—I’m a better person, employee, and friend.
Sing like no one can hear you; dance like nobody’s watching (or both). Singing and dancing are some of my favorite ways to get my energy out when I’m feeling stressed, because I’m not particularly awesome at either of them, so there’s no pressure. Giving myself the freedom to just be silly and loud often gives me the confidence to tackle whatever task is in front of me during the day, and it’s a great way to get your heart rate up while staying inside. I think you can (and should!) sing and dance to whatever music makes you feel free and happy, but I personally can never go wrong with ,this Martha & the Vandellas classic.
Two Ways to Stay Connected
Let technology work for you, not the other way around. Now that work meetings and happy hours alike are virtual, it can be tough to get a handle on all the different platforms that are required to perform our daily activities, both on and off the clock. Give yourself some grace if the learning curve is steep, and don’t feel guilty if staring at a screen all day at work means you don’t feel like a Zoom check-in with the grandparents at 5 p.m. It’s fine to ask for a break first—to move that check-in to later in the evening or next week. These tools are supposed to make our lives easier, not make us feel obligated to be all things to all people. If you’d like to learn more about some tools our team uses to make our work and home lives easier, check out ,this video.
Know that your struggles aren’t yours alone. Physical separation from friends, family, and coworkers can make it feel like you are the only person in the world, and that you have to deal with your problems all by yourself. That’s why it’s so important to plug into a community of people who share your goals and values. If you’re a woman running a business in this tough time, you’ll definitely want to check out ,EnrichHER Society. We are a community of 1,000 entrepreneurs across a variety of industries. In our community, you can network with like-minded entrepreneurs, attend courses that will give you lots of tips to improve your business, and find lots of ,grants, loans, and other funding opportunities to help your business grow.
Do you have any tips that help you stay in touch with yourself or others during stressful times? Share your own experiences in the comments!
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