Getting the work-life balance right is no easy feat. As a working mum-of-two, I am always searching for new ways to make my week run smoother. Finding balance helps you reduce stress, feel less tired, increase productivity and be better equipped to make healthy decisions that will benefit you and your family. Here are some things you can implement to help you on your quest.
Timetable your week: Sit down at the beginning of the week and timetable everything – if you don’t put that morning run or yoga session in your diary, chances are you won’t do it. This includes getting into the habit of organising your meals for the week and get the shopping done on a Sunday, too.
Get organised the night before: For working mums the days can start at 5.30am (or earlier), meaning three very busy hours to get through before you even sit down at your desk at 8.30am. Do certain tasks before you go to bed to help your morning run smoother, like packing school bags (including making lunches and filling water bottles) and laying out work clothes and school uniforms (including underpants and socks). Try to get your children into a routine in their early years to lighten your workload in the years to come.
Set a budget: Financial stress is one of the most common triggers for depression and anxiety, but you can live within your means and still achieve a happy balanced life. Go to ASIC Money Smart Budget Planner to get started.
Eat a balanced diet: Enjoying a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups will promote health and wellbeing and reduce the risk of diet-related conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some types of cancers.
Practice self-care: This is the most important, yet the most neglected. In order to be successful and reach your goals you need to look after yourself.
Sleep: Seven to nine hours per night is required for health, renewal, learning and memory. The quality and duration of your sleep directly impacts your mental and physical health including your productivity, creativity, emotional balance, brain and heart health, immunity and even your weight.
Exercise: The Department of Health recommends Australians aged 18 to 65 should be active on most (preferably all) days of the week, for a minimum of 30 minutes moderate-intensity exercise every day.
Stay connected: Stay in touch with family and friends via phone calls, texts and email – you need social support outside of your immediate family and work colleagues.
If, despite your best efforts, you still feel unbalanced and overwhelmed, speak to your local GP. A GP Management Plan can help you access affordable services that might help you reach your goals faster, while a Mental Health Care Plan will help you gain access to subsidised psychology sessions. Work-life balance is achievable but not without hard work and commitment. Look after yourself, prioritise what is most important and keep trying to live your best life every day.