A work-life balance is often referred to as “feeling in control of how you balance the various aspects of your life to enable a better state of wellbeing”. However, given that the Covid-19 pandemic placed extra pressure on businesses and individuals, that ideal state has become a bit unattainable as working from home has effectively resulted in people working more hours.
This article provides tools that you can apply to your daily routine to create a work-life balance, whilst also dealing with different losses within a pandemic.
Loss is a universal experience and healing is unfortunately not linear. There are three primary types of loss:
Here are symptoms to watch out for when suffering grief or loss:
What keeps us from processing a loss?
The first thing that keeps us from processing it, is not allowing ourselves to feel the loss. The word emotion is derived from the Latin word 'emotere', which means ‘energy in motion’. We need to be allowed to move through the emotion and process it, in our bodies and our minds. When we don't process emotions they don't disappear, instead they just build up until one day we find ourselves exploding.
All emotions have a purpose: sadness helps us release negative energy, anger brings our awareness to discomfort, fear helps alert us of danger. So instead of rejecting your emotions, instead try to understand them and their purpose in your life.
Limiting Decisions (“I will never”)
When people experience loss, they may make unconscious limiting decisions, which stops us from moving forward in our lives. Most of these are made under strong negative emotions and they sound like this in your head:
Try to identify the limiting decisions that you made to yourself after experiencing the loss and make a new decision that will serve you better. For example, think to yourself: “It may be a process, but I can move on from this and I will be happy one day again.”
After loss, it can be difficult to create balance again, especially with all the world has thrown at us over the past year. Here are 3 ways to help you do this:
Set a time you start work and a time that you end, and schedule in regular breaks during the workday. It’s also important to have a “transition time” from your home life to your work life, especially if you’re no longer getting in the car and driving to an office. This could be simply changing out of your pyjamas or going for a short walk in the fresh air before you start your workday.
Look at the habits and rituals that you can create for your family, maybe it’s dinner together each evening, or weekends away every few months? Do the same for other areas like your spirituality and romantic relationships. Once you’ve set up these routines, you then need to set boundaries so that you don’t get distracted or feel overwhelmed – this could be with work colleagues or other people you engage with regularly.
Prioritise all of your tasks (both work and life) according to what is urgent and important, using this principle from the Eisenhower matrix. Divide them into the following areas:
This will help you prioritise and then schedule in realistic deadlines, so you don’t feel that you need to complete everything immediately.
We have support structures all around us, but we don't make use of them, which leaves us feeling overwhelmed, isolated, and out of balance. Look at what you can improve in terms of systems and where you need support to make your life easier – and then reach out and ask for help.
The only way we’ve been able to get through this time is by leaning on each other. Be a support to others and you will get support in return, and together we can emerge from this stronger and more united than we were before.