12 Practical Ways Women Achieve A Healthy Work-Life Balance
“Darn! it’s morning again,” I sighed heavily with a frown and placed my pillows so tightly over my head.
If there was one thing I wish could vanish forever, it would definitely be my alarm clock. That annoying device just always seemed to remind me, “Wakey, wakey, sleepy head. It’s morning. Welcome to another new day filled with stress, pressure, worry, and woe.” After sleeping at about 1 a.m., I still had to get up and swing into action by 4:30 a.m. It was so painful. So, I felt for some time that all mornings sucked.
Now, I know I’m not the only one who has been in these shoes, even though you may be slow to admit it. As women, with the hustle and bustle in society, gender responsibilities, and so many others looking up to us, it seems we have taken on a million tasks on our hands and all at the same time.
There are chores, cooking, laundry church, friends, your boss, husband, and junior all calling out to you simultaneously. They seem desperate for immediate attention and never take no for an answer. If only you could split yourself into diverse tiny pieces, it would have been a lot better, you think. But, just how possible is that? After being the ‘shero’ to them all, you do not even have time for yourself.
It is so easy to become overwhelmed with everything and feel the world crashing down on your feeble shoulders. Most times, there is hardly anyone to talk to. Even if there is, they do not just seem to understand. You feel you are in a deep hole and that early morning alarm does not quit its annoying job even for a second (guess it’s as busy as you are).
Well, don’t feel hopeless. You’ve got some help here. In this article, I have outlined some nice, easy, and worthwhile ways you can follow to strike a healthy balance between your work, family, relationships, and personal life. I hope this eases your stress.
1. Know your purpose:
Now, this sounds like a very funny and strange way to start this but just follow me. Most times, we spend time taking on so many things all at the same time simply because we are not aware of what exactly we should be taking on. That’s when knowing your purpose comes in. When you know your purpose, it becomes easier to pick the right jobs, activities, hobbies and so many others that are unique to you and not simply what everyone else is doing.
When this happens, you find it easier to manage your time and energy because you are doing only what you are born to do and enjoy doing and you have God’s blessings. It also helps you not to take on more than you can handle but simply live in God’s will for you. It helps you steer clear of anything not meant for you and helps you stay on track.
You can take your cue from the apostles in the book of Acts who exemplified this when they stuck to their purposes and ended up being more productive and achieving more while at the same time not dying of exhaustion (Acts 6:2,7).
2. Have a time management plan:
After discovering your God-given purpose and knowing what exactly you are wired for, it will be of help to take a break from work for some time to think. It could be the early hours of the morning or late at night. During this time, make a review of what has happened during the day; where you were flawed, and where you excelled. Think deeply and ask God for wisdom to know how to fix it up (Jas. 1:5).
Then, create a plan clearly expressing how you would like your day to be. You can go even further by creating this plan a month or week ahead as is convenient for you. Each morning, during your time with God, ask God what He would like you to do for that day and then compare it with what you know you have to do. Make a to-do list and write specific times for each of these activities. Then, commit them to God and begin your day (Ps. 37:5, Prov. 16:3).
Also, be disciplined enough to stick to It (Prov. 13:4). You will notice that you are able to accomplish more. Meanwhile, ensure you leave out some free time to accommodate any problems or emergencies that may arise in the course of your day. It is not always easy at first, but as you remain consistent, you’ll begin witnessing some incredible changes.
3. Set priorities:
As you create your schedule, clearly know and outline your priorities. This will help you know exactly what is more important to you and what should be given more attention in your day. For example, you should know that your first priority is God, then your family, then work. After spending time with God, create some time for your spouse and your child(ren).
Do not get so engrossed in your work that you forget about your family. Take advantage of your breakfast and dinner moments. Concerning your work, it is also important to set priorities, highlighting those tasks needing more immediate attention and those most important to you so as not to spend too much time on the wrong things. Setting priorities and sticking to them will help you a lot.
4. Say ‘No’ to procrastination:
Most times, you really do know you have a lot of work to do but then you spend your time doing other not-so-important things and never do the most important things on time. You just keep postponing your work till later. This won’t help you as when you finally decide to get those things done, it is usually too late or you would be placed under so much pressure. If you want to have the right balance in your life, then you must do things as at the time you should.
Most times, what may serve as a deception is when you have a deadline that you believe is too far away. But a wise person when such a task arises, will take note of the task, plan ahead and if possible, split the task into simpler ones that can be achieved each day or week in a couple of minutes.
This way, when the deadline finally approaches, you are not under pressure and you are not prone to be stressed or irritable. Our Lord Jesus was emphatic about doing His work when it was day, not noon or night (Jn. 9:4). I am sure this is because if He had put it for later, who knows if we would have even had salvation by now?
5. Avoid distractions (Lk. 10:40-42):
When you have created your plan for the day, try your best not to allow distractions get in your way. There will always be that lady in your office or those friends or neighbors who want to say hello or let you in on the latest gossip in town. It is important that you kindly let them in on your schedule and do well to excuse yourself when necessary. Sometimes, some distractions could be emergencies that you have no choice but to attend to.
In this case, you can spare a few of your moments. That is why it is advised that you allow some time in your schedule for other emergencies that may randomly pop up. Social media can also be a very bad distraction. You may be knee-deep in your work online and suddenly a notification pops up that you so badly want to check out. In no time, you would have spent an hour then two of aimless scrolling. Don’t be a victim of this. Keep your eyes on the goal and constantly ask for God’s help to stay focused (Phil. 3;14).
6. Don’t be a people pleaser (Acts 5:29):
This is almost similar to the point above. Most times, we know what we have on our plate, but because we cannot say no to other dishes, we accumulate so much that we find it difficult to chew. It is not impolite to say no to something that you are confident will not be fine by your schedule or will be inconvenient for your mental health. There are dozens of things out there that need your attention but you can’t give them all.
That is why we are human. Simply, ask God for wisdom to choose what is most important and the grace to politely say no to others you cannot handle. Our Lord Jesus who is God Himself could not please everyone all at once so neither can you! So, cut yourself some slack.
Also, you don’t think God will be pleased with you when you don’t study His Word, do your work, or prepare a meal for your family simply because you could not say no to an invite or something, do you? God loves people and everyone out there and so should you, but things should be done in order and at the proper time (Eccl. 3:1).
7. Ask for help:
Sometimes, rather than kill yourself trying to do and be everything, kill your ego by asking for help. Ask your sister to help you out with the kids. If you can afford it, ask for help with your job. Ask your spouse to help with breakfast or organizing the kids or with their homework. Either way, it’s not a sin to ask for help. When Jethro saw Moses trying to do things all by himself, he gave him the golden advice to seek help. Nevertheless, be careful who you seek help from so you do not invite monsters who will steal your home or joy.
8. Make time to nurture relationships:
Every day, week, or month, strive to nurture relationships with your friends and most of all your family. You could go out for a barbecue night or watch a movie with friends or family and just let all the stress out. Try to speak with your partner as often as possible and enjoy his company. Make time for your kids, talk with them, and try to attend events that matter to them. It also helps to relieve stress, strengthen bonds, and keep a smile on your face.
9. Take breaks (Mk. 6:31):
Ensure that you take breaks in between your work. You can go for a walk when you feel your head banging or listen to some good uplifting music or even watch a funny video on social media. Let all these be done with some moderation and ensure to continue work once you have regained some strength. Also, there are times when online breaks are necessary. Going on vacations to let some air out is worth it too. These are not just needed but beneficial.
10. Maintain a healthy lifestyle (Dan. 1:12-21):
I don’t know if you have heard about the ‘6-hour rule’ or not, but it’s a rule that says you have to get at least six hours a day of sleep. It may sound a bit impossible but you can always try. Also, endeavor to compensate for any day you fall short. Eat a balanced diet. If that is not affordable, you can manage fruits and vegetables.
You can have a garden for these. And if these too are unattainable, then I’m sure a glass of water is not. Take some water each day especially in the mornings and in between your breaks. It will keep you hydrated and healthy. Exercise often; not necessarily at a gym, but a couple of jumps could do or you could get a skip rope. Also, practice telling yourself great affirmative words and rewarding yourself when you complete a task. Make a habit of journaling and reviewing each day. It is so much fun and therapeutic too.
11. Stick to being you:
Don’t try to copy the stress management plans for others around you or beat yourself up because you don’t see progress. Rather, know your unique design and stick to being who God has made you to be. Know what works for you and do it. This should not be an excuse for you to keep sticking to what is not helping simply because it’s who you believe you are. Rather, ask for help but always readjust to your design for only in being the original you do you thrive.
12. Find absolute rest in God:
I sincerely believe that God is pleased when we ask for help and I know He will never deny us rest. It is part of His design and what He ordained for us (Gen.1:2-3, Heb. 4:9) Also, He gives rest and sleep as a blessing to those who please Him. So, whenever you feel so tired that you can’t go on, simply ask Him and He will give you strength like an eagle (Neh. 8:10).
Also, seek help from trusted people of God as the Spirit leads you and don’t ever forget to tell God exactly what you feel because He understands (Heb. 4:14-16). Make time every day to spend in His presence, just like Jesus, for therein, there is joy, strength, hope wisdom, and life
Truly, God desires an abundant life for all His children; not the one characterized by pressure, stress or imbalance (Jn. 10:10). He wants to see you thrive and make the most of your days on earth. But you ruin this perfect picture when you do not see things His way and go in the wrong direction. So, what are you still waiting for? Arise and enter into the abundant life!
Cheers to you and please, spare that alarm clock.
God bless you.