Thinking about what I want to accomplish and setting goals happens at the beginning of each new year. Often my ‘resolutions’ are not as resolute as they should be to impact lasting change, and many trickle off by February and are forgotten. However, one thing that never changes is planning my annual camping trip; the only consistent trip I take during the year. Who can blame me when there are views like this to enjoy?
We stay in a place that is outside most cell phone coverage, which is the best part of my camping trip. It is time completely unplugged from all distractions. I spend my time reading in my favorite hammock, cruising around on my dirt bike, fishing, painting, or just hanging out in the shade with a plate of delicious food chatting with family.
You may be wondering why I have told you all about my favorite trip of the year. Taking an annual trip to the place I love the most is one way I have found to unwind, recharge, and refocus on my priorities. I regain my equilibrium and re-energize to face the stress of life.
So what does this have to do with goals or setting up proper work-life balance? Why is it important to practice work-life balance? Does such a thing actually exist? Below are five things I try to do.
Prioritize and Plan — while this may seem obvious, I have learned that preparation helps alleviate much of the stress of last minute changes. Planning ahead is essential at work because much of what I do depends on or affects my coworkers’ projects. Now for the “life” side of planning ahead. Does it really matter if I plan what day I’m going to do my laundry? For me, it does. I have a schedule for when I will complete certain tasks such as laundry and frozen meal prepping which helps me instantly identify what time I have available for the inevitable emergencies of life. (By the way, my favorite “emergencies” often involve chocolate and a good book!)
De-junk, De-clutter, Delete — this is a new one for me. I have recently discovered the freedom of just simply getting rid of excess— not only is there more physical space in my environment but I have found that the more neat and tidy my space is, the easier it is to maintain my balance and stay centered on what is most important.
The Power of a Positive No — learning how to say “No” is a great way to maintain balance at work. Saying no, or communicating concerns and limitations can help management adequately plan time and set expectations for project completion.
Relaxation, Meditation, and Laughter — As a naturally artistic person, spending time creating something new is my way of relaxing and de-stressing. Journaling, reading, watching movies, cooking, gardening, spending time with friends and families, and even cleaning are all ways of relaxing—you just have to find what works for you. Meditation or mindfulness is also useful for maintaining balance. Just don’t forget to laugh! Laughter releases endorphins that will help you feel better.
Vacation — last on my list, but just as important as the rest is a vacation! Although my camping trip is my favorite vacation during the year, I try to plan ahead to spread my vacation time throughout the whole year. Taking a day off here and there throughout the year can really help to keep a fresh perspective and balance.
Hopefully these tips help you find your center and balance work and life to create an amazing future. I still have a lot to work on but it just takes one step at a time. (Or in my case, one long ride through the mountains!) Good luck!