By Caleb Anderson
People who hold high-powered positions or are required to work substantial overtime often struggle to find the time to pursue personal goals or devote the attention to their families that they deserve. The stress that comes from trying to provide for your family while still being present is all too real. It can sometimes lead people to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, which can contribute to depression, addiction, or even suicidal ideation. Here are a few tips to get the best of both worlds without venturing into dangerous habits.
Be Mindful About Social and Work-Related Drinking
Some professionals enjoy grabbing a drink with coworkers after a long day at the office, and for many people, it’s a harmless way to blow off steam. Just be conscious of how often you go and how much you drink while you’re out. Limit yourself to a drink or two, and be sure you’re drinking water at the same time. Post-work drinks can be a great way to bond with your colleagues, but too many can lead to some unprofessional antics you might regret later. Plus, the longer and more often you’re out, the less time you have to spend with your family.
You might even discover you prefer to have a soda or iced tea instead of an alcoholic drink. That way, you can still reap the benefits of spending off-hours time with your coworkers without running the risk of overindulging.
Define What Balance Means to You
The truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving harmony between work and home because success looks different to everyone. The first step in working towards greater harmony is to define specifically what that looks like to you. Does it mean attending every baseball game or sitting down for a family meal every evening? Perhaps it means being able to unplug and devote your undivided attention to your family one day each week.
The key to achieving the ideal balance is to know precisely what it means to you. Only then can you set realistic, actionable goals and work towards making your vision a reality.
Make Deliberate Choices
To avoid feeling overworked and overwhelmed, people faced with these circumstances must master the art of making deliberate choices. You may find that it’s sometimes necessary to tell your boss that you’re not able to work overtime so that you can attend your daughter’s dance recital. Or, you might decide to turn down an opportunity that’s likely to take more time away from your family, perhaps requiring you to work out of town during the week. Whatever choices you’re faced with, evaluate the pros and cons carefully and make deliberate decisions in your and your family’s best interests.
If you’re accustomed to coming home and having a glass of wine or a couple of beers as a way to unwind, make the conscious decision to take a few nights off from drinking each week. Instead, switch to a tall glass of water or a nice mug of herbal tea on those nights. Not only do you want to reduce the chances of your nightly ritual escalating, but taking this kind of break from alcohol and switching to a healthier alternative could help your body detox more easily, allowing you to get better sleep and feel more rejuvenated come morning.
Schedule Time for Everything
Some busy professionals swear by a running to-do list, while others find the never-ending nature of such lists overwhelming. Whether you’re a list-maker or a roll-with-the-punches type of person, scheduling can help you stay on task and better balance the demands of work and home.
Scheduling blocks of time for work tasks, meetings, and appointments as well as baseball games, dance recitals, and events at your child’s school will help you avoid overlap and enable you to better manage your time. Lists are great for outlining what you need to do, but schedules will increase the odds that you’ll actually get it done.
Prioritize Taking Care of You
If you tend to sacrifice your own needs to be there for others, you might actually be setting yourself up for failure. While it may seem like you have no choice when there are simply not enough hours in the day, the truth is that prioritizing self-care is the best way to be present and be your best self when you are serving others.
How can you prioritize self-care for a better harmony between work and home? Make sure that you get enough sleep each night, eat a well-balanced, healthy diet, avoid overindulging in alcohol, and take time to exercise regularly. When you’re well-rested and your body is getting the right mix of vital nutrients, you’ll perform better and be more productive at both work and home. Productivity, of course, means that you’ll progress through work tasks with greater ease, reducing the odds that you’ll fall behind and end up missing out on quality family time to catch up.
When you learn how to make deliberate choices, schedule your time effectively, monitor work-related drinking, and take care of your body and mind, you might just find that making the transition back home might be more within reach than you think.