Finding a Work:Life Balance
Questioning the Culture of the Hustle
Whether you are in college, are working a full time job, part time job, are a full time caretaker, or are something in between; finding the work:life balance is something that you may struggle with or have struggled with in the past. Since the start of the pandemic in March, finding this balance has not become any easier. The places that we work, live, and play have all become one and it is now probably difficult to draw the lines between the three when it all occurs in the same physical place. Where is the harm in doing a few loads of laundry while you are working your job, or checking the work email real quick at the dinner table? If you find yourself doing any of these things, you are not alone. Finding these balances between work and life is incredibly difficult in general, but has been a huge struggle since most of the world has shut down.
Although some of us have adjusted to and accepted this new normal, it is not the time to accept this lack of work:life balance. Lacking balance can contribute to chronic stress, depression, and anxiety. It can wreak havoc on our emotional wellbeing. And it is time to take action.
But where do we begin?
The first place we need to start with is questioning the culture of the hustle. In western society it is common to constantly compete with ourselves and others. We are rewarded for working long hours, missing family events, and burning out. It is deeply ingrained in our society, and it is almost weird to not have work to do or an ongoing to-do list. We must question the culture of the hustle, the culture of work until you burnout, and the culture of work work work. Since when did it become cool to work so hard it takes a toll on our general health and wellbeing?
Interestingly, this is a generational struggle. If I were to ask my parents about the culture of the hustle, they would most likely would have no idea what I’m talking about. Not their fault of course, but if I were to mention this to my friends; they would immediately know what I’m talking about.
If you find yourself struggling with finding a work:life balance and are starting to question the culture of the hustle, check out these tips that can help you learn to say “no” and enjoy a few moments of peace.
Schedule an activity at the end of each day: Plan to end everyday doing something that you enjoy; something that makes you feel good. Whether it is going for a run, doing some yoga, painting, singing, or reading; telling yourself to do this at the end of each day and scheduling a time to do this can help you feel incentivized to take breaks and stop working. It can also help you transition smoothly to your “post-work” life. Instead of feeling exhausted and irritable until you go to bed, you can return to life feeling happy and energized.
Set a time to stop and stick to it: Write it down, set an alarm, and make it known that you are stopping work at a specific time each day. Stick to it, and hold yourself accountable. You won’t regret it.
Make time for your people: The same as scheduling a daily activity, make time for your people. Whether you meet up physically distant, give them a phone call, or meet them in the kitchen; making time for your people can keep you from isolating yourself into a rabbit hole of work. They can support you emotionally, and you will feel good about it. I can guarantee that you will never regret spending quality time with your people.
Questioning the culture of the hustle is hard. Even I find myself accepting it as it is at times! By questioning it though, we can take the first steps to finding a work:life balance. Now it is more important than ever that we find the work:life balance. To share your favorite work:life balance tips, send them to Healthy.UNH@unh.edu!