Let’s face it. Struggling to achieve work-life balance can get pretty unrealistic at times, especially in the context in which our society talks about it. It’s a buzzword in the startup industry, and hearing it all the time makes it harder and harder to move toward achieving.
But, here’s the thing: you don’t have to achieve work-life balance in order to live a stable, fulfilling lifestyle.
How? By being more present.
Stop stressing yourself out fighting to achieve work-life balance and start practicing being present, instead. Here are four tips to help make staying present easier:
1. Celebrate little victories
Stress is imminent with almost every job. Don’t focus on eliminating it completely- there’s always more to do and that’s okay. Instead, celebrate the small things. Look at the direction you’re heading instead of focusing on a moving finish line. Celebrating small wins is a way to track your achievements and own your accomplishments, knowing that the path to achieving goals doesn’t have to be linear.
2. Make mindfulness a practice
The word “mindfulness” is thrown around with ease, but the truth is it’s not always easy. Luckily, as human beings, we all possess mindfulness. The tricky part is finding a way to access it. But practice helps you get there. Make intentional time during your day to practice presence- whether it’s through meditation, yoga, or even coloring in a coloring book. Also, know that there are enjoyable and effective alternatives to meditation. You don’t have to be a spiritual guru in order to practice mindfulness.
3. Take a breath before moving onto something new
It’s easy to leave work with unfinished tasks on your mind. Slow yourself down during transitions. One way to combat this is by fully engaging in one thing at a time. Then, when you switch to another task, you can be fully engaged, without leaving the previous task behind. “Slow yourself down during transitions, which have the tendency to be rushed. Make a point to pause and notice your surroundings after you first step out of your home, office, or car,” says Dawn Gilbert Ippoliti, an art therapist in New York City.
4. Savor your rituals
Your ritual might be something like having a cup of tea every morning or walking your dog after work. But whatever your ritual is, savor it. Think about drinking a cup of tea. When you pay attention to what you’re tasting, you’ll notice more and get more out of what you’re tasting. Jesse of Samovar Tea Lounge says “You pay close attention — the closer the attention, the more you’ll get out of the savoring. You don’t rush to the next thing, but stop and give some space to the activity. You aren’t worried about what you have to do later, you are fully enjoying the present.”
The best way to stay balanced? Forget about work-life balance.
“It’s liberating to give up finding ‘balance,’” says Elisa Steele, CEO of Namely. “In fact, when I was seeking balance all the time, I just felt like a constant failure. There is no perfect balance—it’s just life. It’s dynamic and demanding and fluid and forgiving.”
How do you feel about the work-life balance paradox? Share your thoughts and tweet at @StarterNoise to join our conversation. And don’t forget to keep up with us here at StarterNoise– your go-to for industry news!