Dealing with the Stresses of Balancing
Professional and Familial Obligations - You can make it easier!
We all wish that we had more time. Life is so stressful these days.
Things can be especially difficult if you havenít been able to swing
that alternative work arrangement job that youíve been dreaming of.
If you are spending 50 or so hours away from your home per week you need
to find life balance by finding ways to decrease your stress or at least find
some ways to live with it! And the
motto here is, ďjust do the best that you can!Ē
Here are some tips:
Use Your Commute Time Wisely:
They say that the optimal commute time is 20 minutes.
That is supposedly the amount of time that it takes to unwind and regroup
from a stressful day at work. If
you are commuting longer, try to think of it as a gift.
It may be the only time that you have to yourself all day.
If you think positively about something it wonít be as stressful.
Really use the time to unwind and transition out of your work mode.
Listen to relaxing music or to a book on tape.
If you use the time wisely you should be able to walk into your home
feeling at least semi-refreshed and ready for the next set of challenges.
Set Priorities and Stick to Them:
You only have a set amount of time in each day.
The little stuff can eat away at your whole day before you even notice.
It is, thus, important to have a set of priorities established for each
day. Make a list of the most
important things each morning. Other
things that pop up will have to take a back seat.
If you know ahead of time what the important things are, you can make
split-second decisions about what to take care of and what to put aside.
Youíll have less stress if you can get the most important things done.
And just let the other stuff go. It
will have to wait. Worrying about
it wonít get you any closer to getting it all done.
Get Everyone To Pitch In: This is obviously easier once your children are older, but
even a 3 year old can do a little! Make
meal preparation fun. Turn on some
lively music, dance and sing! Keep
a chore sheet on the refrigerator. Rotate
dishes, laundry, dusting and vacuuming. Older
kids should fix their own lunches and have them ready for the next day.
And if there are two adults in the household and both are sharing the responsibility of bringing in income
for the family, then they both need to share the responsibilities of maintaining
the home ( Of course, both should help out even if only one of you is
working outside of the house Ė thereís just too much to do!).
You have to have a team approach. In other words, if you have a
significant other, make sure that they are doing their share too.
Plan Meals Ahead or Make Quick Meals:
Even carry out or drive-thru meals take time.
It may seem less stressful, but you probably arenít any better off
time-wise if you compare running to get something with making a quick meal.
And making your own meals will save money and can be a lot more healthy
for your family.
If you can, set aside one Saturday morning every 6 weeks or
so to prepare and freeze meals. You
can brown ground beef or turkey, marinate chicken breasts and make meatloaf.
Date it and freeze it all in meal-sized portions.
Youíll have quick meals to defrost and cook.
Or, try using recipes from a cookbook
Meals for Health Conscious People on the Go. Everything is spelled out
in this great cook book and recipes are easy, quick and nutritious.
It is my favorite!
My mother-in-law also just gave me a subscription to Quick Cooking
Magazine. It too has many easy,
quick recipes. You can subscribe to it by visiting the website at http://www.quickcooking.com
Sure that You and Your Significant Other are Still on the Same
Team: When everyone is stressed
it can begin to feel like you are in it all alone.
Try not to get into a competition with your partner over who is more
stressed out or who is doing more. Itís
not a game and neither one of you will win unless you work together. Agree to live under the assumption that you are both
doing as much as you can do. If some things donít get done then thatís just
the way it is. It isnít
anyoneís fault. It will
only add to your stress if you play the blame game.
Of course, making this part work assumes that you have mastered the
ďall pitching inĒ concept.
Check your Budget Ė Can you farm
ANY of the housework
out? Paying to have some chores
done may not be as expensive as you think.
You may be able to find a reliable teenager in the area who can run a few
simple errands for you, shovel the snow, or fold a load of laundry.
Ten or fifteen dollars may go further than you think and it can make a
world of difference. If youíve worked out some quick cooking options to
decrease your use of take out you are saving $$.
Can you spend some of that savings on getting some additional chores
If you spend 10 minutes looking for something every time you go to write a
bill or make a phone call, that is a lot of precious time wasted in a week.
Set aside some time to find a place for everything and then keep
everything in its place. Start a
filing system, get a good calendar, buy some plastic storage bins and get it
done! A book like Organizing
from the Inside Out may help you get started.
QUICK Ė QUICK Stress Reliever!!
You probably arenít going to find the time for a Calgon moment but if
all else fails, at least try this easy stress-reducer.
You can do it anywhere and it just takes a minute.
Itís called the Square Breathing Technique.
~ Take a slow breath in for 5 counts
~ Hold the breath for 5 counts
~ Exhale for 5 counts
~ Hold it for 5 counts
Do this a couple of times and it
will quickly melt at least some of your stress away.
You will be amazed!
Last But Not Least - Smile! These
are the happiest, most rewarding days of your life. You will look back fondly someday....believe it or not!
And now Iím going to go back and read my own article.
Hopefully, I can get better at all of this too !!!!
Kirsten Ross is mother of two sons and is
a Certified Human Resource Professional (SPHR) dedicated to helping women
achieve more life balance and to transforming the design of work.
Visit Womans-Work.com at http://www.womans-work.com
to search our revolutionary flexible work job board featuring more than 35,000
fresh work from home, part time, job share, flex time and telecommuting
opportunities, search for a job share partner or
read valuable career, life balance and family articles. You may also email
her at mailto:KRoss@Womans-Work.com