Let’s talk about work-life balance.
Specifically, how to create one.
If you feel like you’re married to your job, this post is just for you—especially if you’re ready to learn about some ways to create a change in the whole work-life balance area.
Dr. LaJoyce Brookshire does it all. As a published author, SiriusXM host, YouTube streamer, and wellness speaker—work keeps her pretty busy. And that’s not all—over the past year she’s been accomplishing all of it from home.
“My daughter is a dance major, and she spent her first year of college dancing in our living room,” Dr. Brookshire says with a laugh. “So, we had to move our furniture out to make space for her work.”
So, how do you juggle maintaining the separation between work and your life when they run together? Like many of us in the past year, Dr. Brookshire had to reevaluate creating more of a work-life balance. But unlike most people, she’s been working in the wellness field for the last 20 years. As an alternative wellness provider, who specializes in naturopathic medicine, Dr. Brookshire helps patients attain, maintain, and reclaim their overall health.
She shared with us six tips on how to incorporate a work-life balance into a daily routine. Let’s get into them.
Start implementing work-life balance somewhere.
If you’re having trouble kicking off the process of creating a work-life balance, just remember to start somewhere. Even the smallest steps can lead to huge, long-lasting change.
“Maybe stop drinking coffee or drink one more cup of water a day,” Dr. Brookshire suggests. “If you know you need to exercise or take a screen break, walk around the block or to the end of it. But the biggest thing you can do is start.”
A huge motivator, for me especially, is having an accountability partner. This is a great way to keep up with your social life, as well. For instance, if you want to start walking more, grab a friend and commit to taking daily walks together. You’ll get the screen break and exercise you need. Plus, you can keep each other in check.
Create a plan that works.
If you’re struggling with creating a work-life balance, ask yourself whether or not you’re sticking to a plan. If you don’t have one, that might be the thing you’re missing.
Dr. Brookshire says, “Creating balance starts with a plan. If you’re just gonna wing it, you’re doomed.”
Figure out how you want your balance to feel. Maybe you want more time to spend with friends and family. Or perhaps you want to minimize the distractions that keep you from work. Then, come up with ideas of how to accomplish those goals. For instance, I wanted to focus more on work, so I decided to give myself social media limits and worked in a room with no electronics.
There doesn’t need to be a set structure to your plan—just make sure your goals can be met by following through.
If you need help starting, Dr. Brookshire recommends setting aside specific time slots for breaks. For instance, if you want to devote more time to yourself, “Intentionally block-off times where you eat lunch or stop working during the day—where you put the phone down and no longer respond.”
Use boundaries to help with your work-life balance.
Creating boundaries (and sticking to them), is one of the best ways to take back control of your life.
Dr. Brookshire says that it’s tempting to work around the clock just because you’re at home. Employers are saying productivity is up and that may be because people don’t have a work-life balance.
If you’re working from home, how have you viewed your productivity the past year? Personally, I found it really hard to just sign off at 5 p.m. or take my lunch hour. I wanted to fit in that last bit of work. After all, I was at home and I could.
When you make yourself too available for work, other priorities fall to the wayside. And without that control, you can feel frazzled. But you can control your boundaries—that’s why they’re helpful.
To start, look at your schedule and be real. When can you start work? When can you stop? When can you take breaks and when can you engage in your social life?
But setting boundaries is only half of it. You have to stick to them. For me, I block off times in my work calendar. That way, I get reminders and act accordingly. Sometimes, I even set alarms.
Make nutrition a part of your journey.
Why is nutrition on our work-life balance list? Well, what do you have to do during your lunch break? Eat, of course!
Dr. Brookshire is a big believer in meal prepping. She says, “Meal prepping is essential because it stops you from grabbing unhealthy things.”
If you struggle with snacking on unhealthy foods while you work, like chips, try replacing them with healthier options.
Here, meal prepping helps because you can have a quick, healthy alternative to lunch, instead of spending tons of time cooking. But what if you’re not into the idea of repetitive meals? Dr. Brookshire says you shouldn’t be!
She admits that eating the same thing every day is boring, since the human body craves different dietary options. For instance, Dr. Brookshire recommends that vegetable lovers should eat their meals roasted, sauteed, and steamed—just so long as there’s a wide variety.
Always remember to try, try again.
Picture this: after two weeks, you’re doing great with work-life balance. Then, you have an all-day training session that jeopardizes your routine. And now you’re officially off the wagon.
We’ve all been there.
One of the hardest things to do when you start any new routine is keeping it up. Hey, we’re only human. But the thing to remember is that it’s 100% okay if you have to start again. Routines aren’t easy to build, so it may take a few tries before you find something that sticks.
It can be a huge demotivator when you lose some of your progress. This might be a good time to revisit your plan. The steps you came up with may not work for you in practice, but that doesn’t mean you’re not capable.
Your journey can be cost-effective.
“I would say the number one reason why people are hesitant to start a balanced routine is because they’re under the misconception that it costs a lot of money,” Dr. Brookshire says.
We see it all the time with commercials for fancy exercise bikes or notifications for impressive desks. I don’t know about you, but my eyes go directly to the price tag when I see ads like this. Like, how much is work-life balance gonna cost me?
Take a moment to notice that most of the suggestions that Dr. Brookshire recommends are completely free of charge, because it doesn’t take a hefty price tag to start gaining more work-life balance and improving your overall health.
For instance, like we’ve mentioned before, it’s easy to start upping your water intake, having a set bedtime that will give you at least eight hours of rest, and taking walks throughout the day. In most cases, you don’t need fancy equipment to add more work-life balance to your life, just the right mindset.