Do you want to know what I am loving about social media at the moment? People are starting to share real stories about how they ‘really feel’ and what is really happening in their lives! People are talking about how things can be hard, how times can be tough and how life can be beautiful and I think it is fantastic!
A topic that is very prominent in our media channels is work-life balance. Work-life balance is defined as ‘the division of one’s time between working and family or leisure activities.
In this day and age it is sold to us that we can have it all! We can have the career, the family, the dream house, the car, the holidays, the social life – if we want it, it is there for the taking! But my question is at what cost?
From the age of 19 I thought I my career was the be all and end all! By the time I was 24 I wanted to be working in mining and making over $100k a year – check. Then I needed to be a Superintendent by the time I was 26 – check. Then I needed to be happily married and working towards being a Manager by the time I was 28 – check. But where was this balance I was also supposed to have?
Between the age of 20 to 28 I was focused on one thing – my career! I was hard working, relatively good at what I did for a living and willing to give 110%. I thought I had a great work-life balance and did manage to meet my husband to be, get married and have some fantastic holidays!
Unfortunately, what wasn’t coping well in the background was my mental health. Balance does not only encompass spending time with family and having a break for a holiday to Coral Bay. It also entails eating well, taking the time to rest, exercise, mediate, engage with family and friends, making time for your relationships and enjoying life.
At the age of 28 I learnt this the hard way and was diagnosed with Anxiety. I was that focused on my career I wasn’t looking after the things that are important like my own health and well-being. I was working long hours, lacking sleep, stressing/living/breathing work and I didn’t even see it! My health was affected in a major way and it was a huge shock to the system and a massive wake-up call that has changed my life forever (for the better I might add).
Now when I think about work/life balance and introducing a work element into the mix, I now I think of the following:
1) What is it and why is it important?
2) How will this affect my family and I?
3) How will this benefit my family and I?
4) Will taking on this extra task impact what is important to me and is it worth it?
What I identify as important:
· Taking the time to go to a Pilates class, go for a walk, go out for coffee with a friend, have a remedial massage etc;
· My husband and my children (yes, I put me before them because if I don’t function how can I support and be there for them?);
· My extended family and friends;
· My mental stimulation from work and feeling valued outside of the home.
I do believe you can have it all, but I think having it all comes down to what YOU define as ALL and what YOU define as IMPORTANT! So go for it!