Modern ad women are hustlers. Dreamers. Go-getters and do-ers. We’re mothers, sisters, daughters, partners, coworkers, and friends. We work hard, and, in our fast-paced society, it’s rare for us to take a time out. But maintaining a healthy work/life balance is essential in order to keep things moving. To stay on top of our work without completely losing our sanity, it’s vital we learn how to better prioritize our responsibilities and make a little time for ourselves. It can be tough, but these tips are a good place to start.
1. Find a hobby
Find something you enjoy doing that’s uniquely your own, or that you can share with a few close friends—but not with your coworkers. Maybe it’s reading or drone flying. Maybe it’s something more creative like gardening, painting, or sculpting. Whatever you discover you love to do, run with it and block off time in your schedule every day to indulge in it. You deserve to devote energy to something other than your day job.
2. Get some exercise
Research shows that just 30 minutes of physical exercise every day can vastly improve your physical, mental, and emotional health. And in order to make it through a long, demanding work week, you want to be in peak condition. So why not get after it? You don’t have to be a runner, weight-lifter, or swimmer. Just get up off your feet and walk, jump, or dance your work troubles away. Minneapolis is home to plenty of women-owned fitness centers, including popular destinations like The Firm, Alchemy, Up Yoga, and Haute Barre.
3. Learn to say no (and push back)
This one’s a hard one. As women and as Minnesotans, we live to please. Many of us struggle to say “no” when we’re asked to do something we don’t want to do, or don’t have time for. If you want work/life balance, you have to learn to say “no.” Whenever you’re approached to add more work to your plate, consider whether you truly have time, and whether the task will make you feel happy and accomplished once complete, or if it will make you feel more drained. Don’t worry—saying no gets easier with practice.
4. Delete apps and turn off notifications
This tip has saved me tons of unnecessary headache. Unless, for some reason, you are required to be available and accessible all day, everyday (firefighters, emergency room nurses, and Jimmy Johns delivery people are the common exceptions), turn off your damn email notifications when the clock strikes 5 p.m. Delete apps like Slack or Basecamp from your phone, or disable push notifications so you don’t feel constantly bombarded by work.
This is one of the most tangible ways to separate work from your personal life. You can quite literally delete any work reminders to create a safe place for yourself on your mobile device.
5. Two words: Bubble baths
Bubble baths are a tried-and-true relaxation tactic. Fall is here, and winter is right around the corner, which means you’ll crave the warm temps after a long, ice-cold commute in the dead of winter. Not into baths? Treat yourself to a massage, a pedicure, or a long, hot shower. It doesn’t really matter how you choose to pamper yourself, so long as you do it.
6. Give yourself grace
Forgive yourself, over and over, when you start to feel stressed. Whether it’s due to lack of work/life balance, or the result of one of the other many curveballs life throws us, it’s important we don’t beat ourselves up when we feel unproductive or overworked. We’re human—and sometimes we struggle to take care of ourselves. Keep practicing.
With deadlines to meet, errands to run, and kids to pick up and clean off, devoting any amount of time to self-care can seem impossible—but it’s absolutely necessary if you’re seeking more consistent work/life balance. The saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” What can you do this week to fill yourself up?
/written by Erika Voeller