Keep a positive mindset to create more flexibility between work and home.
Throughout my 35-year career as an in-house psychologist at a global corporation, a psychologist in private practice on Wall Street and a corporate-retained coach to CEOs and senior executives, I have counseled and coached thousands of professional men and women. Through the years, I have helped many of these senior executives manage their stress, and the impact of juggling work and a full personal life. I have found there are a few common threads that can help people in all walks of life.
We all know that work and home life can sometimes be at odds. Talented professionals often try to be superhuman working up the ladder to advance their careers, caring for family, all while trying to maintain a stress-free life. At times, even the most capable people feel imbalanced. Luckily, it is possible to be more potent, powerful and successful if you manage your responsibilities and desires wisely.
First, it is important to identify the factors that can cause imbalance in work and home life. The most common factors are the impact of our current 24/7 work life.
Regardless of temperament or skill, external factors can make it nearly impossible to maintain an adaptable lifestyle. Sometimes internal factors cause disparity as well. Some people are perfectionists and do not delegate effectively, or do not set limits on non-productive people or activities. The choices that you make and the way you choose to spend your time can have a large impact on your life and overall resilience.
So what does a flexible work and home life look like? Professionals with flexible lifestyles tend to effectively manage their time and practice healthy decision-making skills regularly. A balanced life happens when you can prioritize your health, along with work and home life.
There are two parts in maintaining a flexible, balanced lifestyle: the mental and the physical. You can have exceptional abilities at work and at home, but to maintain your balance and performance for the long term, you have to get off the symbolic treadmill. You need to respect your mind’s limits and your body’s ability to rebound in order to maintain any kind of resilience.
The second aspect of maintaining a more balanced lifestyle is physical. Many studies show that exercise is a great way to help reduce stress. High-intensity exercise can help relieve excess frustration while low-intensity training can help restore the body. Taking time to work on your physical self is a way to help you perform better across the board.
The most important thing to keep in mind is there is not one recipe for work-home balance for all people. John might do great with meditation, but Janet is better off running on the treadmill and Gregg prefers going to see the newest action movie with his spouse. More than anything, steps toward your mental and physical well-being must fit into your life, not become just one more burden.
I often tell clients that it is important to have a positive mindset. If you realize that maintaining stamina, health and power in all spheres of your life is important, then long-term balance becomes easier to find.
Marilyn Puder-York is a psychologist, executive coach and author of The Office Survival Guide.