Last Thursday, I attended another lunchtime wellness seminar at work. The topic was Work/Life Balance & Self-Care. I don’t make a habit of checking my work email in the evenings. I have a set schedule that doesn’t include evenings or weekends. I’ve been able to get time off of work to take care of family illnesses and crises. In these respects, I have a healthy work/life balance. Still, I attended the session to get myself away from my desk at lunchtime and to meet some new people.
Where I find a lack of balance is time for me. I hate how selfish that sounds but I know I’m not alone. Actually, that’s my complaint – I’m not alone. When I am home, I’m taking care of my husband and son. I’m doing the things they want to do. To read a book, I have to stay up late. To find time to write, I have to . . . well, I’m still working on that.
One of the slides that caught my attention was an infographic analyzing the hours in a week (168, in case you were wondering). The slide charted the typical number of hours devoted to sleep, to work, to essentials like eating, commuting and such. The conclusion was that we have 37.9 hours a week “to pursue your dreams!”
That’s great in theory, but I didn’t see any accounting of caring for children in the image. I don’t think it included cleaning, mowing the grass, buying groceries and such. All of those things take time. That’s why the presenter suggested creating routines and scheduling things – including time for fun and exercise. She gave the example that she schedules walking into her work day. Her coworkers know that she gets her steps in right before lunch. They don’t try to schedule meetings with her. I think working for a wellness center helps her cause.
Not long after the seminar ended, Peter called me. The temp agency had called him in for a job overnight. In the mean time, I had decided to take the next day off since Philip would be out of school. I suddenly had all the time I had been complaining about not having. I could pick what TV shows to watch! I could read a book all evening!
Of course, Philip still relied on me to be an adult. But once I had him fed and settled into his entertainment of choice, I was tempted to browse the internet to catch up on my blog reading, dive into a new book, or binge-watch Jessica Jones.
That’s when I realized that I couldn’t claim that “I have no time to exercise!” or “I have no time to write.” It’s all about time management. So I began to write this blog post instead. I tried a new online workout video. I did laundry, making extra trips up and down the stairs to get in more steps. I stretched and did some deep breathing as I read a book.
It’s important to balance work and life, but life is a big category. For me, I need to find more balance in the time I don’t get paid for. I need to spend those minutes nourishing my mind and body, keeping myself in shape, my home tidy, taking care of my family and taking care of myself.
It’s a balancing act indeed.