Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Balancing Act

I am wiped out and it is not a good feeling. I tend to get a burst of motivated energy at the beginning of the year that carries me through completion of the goals I've set for myself. I might have the occasional pull for vacation but its usually right around the time of a planned vacation so I don't feel the burnout too severely. Today, burnout has moved in and I am at least 3 months from a good vacation. I could sit staring listlessly at my computer monitor waiting to feel better or I could actively look for the cause of the burnout and fix it.

The cause isn't hard to find for me. It is a total lack of work-life balance. I read a great article the other day that noted bleed-through is the new normal. Our activities that drain us (work, caretaking, volunteering, blogging) bleed into the activities that replenish us (time with family/friends, rest, prayer/meditation, vacation). There is no way I can totally stop that but I CAN do better at dividing the lines. I don't have to stress at work, spend the commute making a mental list of what I need to do the next day, go home and talk about how overwhelmed I am, have my thoughts racing all night--robbing me of sleep, and get up to do it all over again. Let's not even talk about trying to make time for medical stuff (appointments and treatments), blogging (which includes cooking, craft projects, home DIY, etc.) jewelry making, exercise, playing with the pets and making time for my marriage.

Something's got to give. There's only so much a girl can take.

My goals to help with the bleed-through are:

1. Change into comfy clothes within 10 minutes of getting home. I feel like this will contribute to the relaxation. Even if I have additional work to get done, doing it in my pajamas makes it a little better.

2. Keep the laptop out of the bed. If I have to blog or work on the jewelry site, I will do that in our home office rather than in the bed in front of the TV. I can't commit to leaving electronics out all together. I read on my laptop.

3. Set a cutoff time each day for stopping all work (including checking e-mail on your phone or tablet). I want to try to make this no later than 2 hours after I get home on regular work days and 1 hour on days when I have meetings after work. That time will be reserved for quality time with my husband or some me time if Ash is on location.

4. Make a serious effort to go to sleep earlier. I have struggled with this one for a while. I do get the sleep I need (about 6 hours) most nights but it usually requires me to sleep later than I should, which leads to rushing to get ready and speeding on my commute. Lately, I have been getting in bed earlier hoping it would relax and knock me out. It has worked a few times but I usually get a couple of hours of sleep and wake up at 1:00 am. Then, I can't get back to sleep, which does me no good. I've decided I have to turn the TV off and listen to relaxing sounds (i prefer rain and thunder)....and hope Lola and Ash don't wake me. Storm is usually in her own bed and is so quite that she never wakes me (sneaky cat).

5. Listen to your body and honor its requests.  Nearly dozing off behind the wheel, having major headaches, catching the third cold of the season...these are all signs that the candle is burning at both ends. Blow both out and go to sleep. You body is begging you!

What do you do to balance work and life? When you are off balance how do you feel? How do you deal with it?

Happy Wednesday. Here's to balance!

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