Real Talk · Uncategorized

15 Self-Care Strategies for Better Work/Life Balance.

Previously, I wrote a post about how to find balance when you’re busy and then another post after that about how my life was incredibly unbalanced and my journey to figuring out why. After publishing both of those, I realized how important it was to talk about balance. It goes back to one of the basic reasons I share my life on this blog and that’s because if I’m going through it, that means some of you probably are too.

I still feel like the word “balance” is kind of unicorn word. Like, is it actually a real thing to have work-life balance? The short answer is I believe there are ways to avoid feeling like we’re sacrificing everything for work and to make taking care of ourselves a priority. It’s just a little more involved than we want it to be. It truly takes conscious thought and effort.

Now, I’m 100% not an expert at having work-life balance or self-care, but I do feel like I had a breakthrough in these areas over the last year. They helped me see some of the things I can do on a daily basis to maintain my sanity and, most importantly, avoid burnout. It’s going to be different for everyone, but I hope these strategies provide some guidance on how you can have your own breakthrough!

pink wall.jpg

Start small.

If you’re in desperate need of a better work-life balance, the number one trick is to start small. If you start out with this giant goal of having more balance in your life, that’s great, but what small steps are you going to take to get there? Don’t be afraid to really break things down and get super specific with it.

Prioritize.

You know I could talk forever about prioritizing. It’s become a huge passion of mine as I’ve gone through this journey of finding balance. Learning to prioritize is a great tool to have in your belt when it comes to self-care and creating a work-life balance because it helps you determine what’s actually important. If you’re sitting there like, “Great advice Becca, but everything feels important!” Start with this post and then move on to this one. I don’t want to say they’ll change your life because that’s a pretty crazy thing to say, but they kinda will.

Create a schedule and stick to it.

One big lesson I’ve learned in the last year is the importance of sticking to a schedule or to a routine. I don’t necessarily mean that in the way of productivity, though. More like, if I say my workday ends at 5 pm, my workday absolutely should end at 5 pm. Does that mean I need to make sure I’m productive and manage my time well throughout the day, YES, but it’s also about me keeping the commitment I made to myself, which I’ve learned is pretty dang important.

I used to (and sometimes still do, to be honest) tell myself, “I’m just going to work for 1 more hour.” Then all the sudden it’d be 10 pm and I bailed on spending time with friends or family. That’s no way to live, friends, trust me. End your day when you say you’re going to and spend some more time indulging in these self-love solutions.

Know what gives you joy and what doesn’t.

In the spirit of Marie Kondo teaching the world what material objects spark joy, why shouldn’t we also learn what sparks joy in other areas of our life? Obviously, not every single task or project at work is going to give you tons of joy, but try to pay really close attention to what you like about your job. Then do the same thing with your personal life. You’ll probably be surprised at what you notice really isn’t serving you at all. Once you learn what isn’t, move forward only with the things that do.

Only spend time on things that go towards your goals.

I challenge you to sit down some night this week or this weekend and write down your ultimate goals in life. Like, what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? The sky is the limit! Whatever it is, think about what you need to do to achieve it. Next, think about your list priorities. Is there anything on that list that doesn’t work toward your goal? Eliminate it!

I’ve been seeing this quote all over Pinterest and it has really stuck with me – “Decide what kind of life you want. Then say no to everything that isn’t that.”

Be choosy about who you spend your personal time with.

Finding work-life balance isn’t just about managing your work schedule or shaving down the number of hours you spend at the office. You have to refine your personal stuff too otherwise you’ll still find yourself being pulled in a million directions.

As hard as it can be sometimes, prioritizing (there’s that word again!) who we spend our personal time with does matter in the grand scheme of things. Think of it this way, eliminating the people who don’t really make you feel great about yourself will only make more time for those that make you feel like you’re at your best when you’re with them. Now doesn’t that sound amazing?!

Create boundaries.

Boundaries have been huge for me this year. I try to be an open book as much as possible with you, but for me personally, I know I’m better off when I keep some things just for myself.

For you, this could mean not bringing home work from the office or not sharing about your personal life with your co-workers. Whatever boundaries you need to create to make sure you’re putting yourself first will definitely help in adding a little balance to your life.

Have dedicated “you time”.

Schedule time for yourself. Part of having self-care strategies for work-life balance is making sure you’re showing yourself some love. Self-love and self-care are more than just bubble baths, though. Although, bubble baths are pretty great in my opinion.

Automate and delegate.

One of the best things about life right now is all the technology we have. USE IT! Groceries? I have recently become a big fan of ordering my groceries online and having them brought to my car as soon as I pull into the parking lot. Emails? Set up rules and filters so they go exactly where you need them to be to save time. Spending too much time on things you don’t enjoy or aren’t good at? Delegate! Budget to have someone clean your house once a month. Take advantage of the eager interns at your job who want to help you out. There are a million small things you can do that add up to making a big difference in your daily life. And let me tell you, for your sanity’s sake, do these things!

Spend time with people who value the same things as you.

When you surround yourself with people who have similar values to you, life is just bound to be much easier. Work with people who understand that your family has to come first. Have friends who build you up and encourage. What’s that saying about we are who we spend our time with? Keep that top of mind!

Don’t take on more than you can handle.

I know this isn’t something that’s done intentionally, but whenever you’re filling your schedule, do it with a little more consciousness. Trust me when I say I know what it’s like to feel like you’re capable of doing it all. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. There is NO SHAME in being done with your workday by 5 pm or having time to binge a Netflix show on the weekend.

Check in with yourself frequently.

If checking in with yourself isn’t part of your current self-care plan, add it on there ASAP. It gives you a moment to reflect and find out what’s working for you and what’s not. I try to work this into my evening quiet time at least once a week, which works great for me because I love evenings and am not a morning person. If you’re more of an early riser, do it before getting out of bed and maybe do a little journaling while you’re at it. You never know what thoughts will start pouring out of you!

Stay organized.

I like to organize basically everything. From my fridge to my closet to my wallet or my kitchen pantry, I thrive when things are in their place and have order. These things help me feel like I have my life together. If your life and your surroundings are organized, I promise you’ll feel so much better!

Disconnect often.

I’ve talked a lot about digital detoxes a few times now and that’s because I’ve learned how magical they are! I used to feel anxious about being unplugged from my phone but now, I legit look forward to it. It’s kind of become second nature to the point where I’ll be so present in what I’m doing that even though I mean to post, I don’t. And I freaking love it! Taking a break from social media and technology, in general, is so good for your soul whether it’s part of your job or not, so I highly recommend it.

Let go of perfectionism.

I’ve struggled with being a perfectionist my entire life, but am happy to report that you CAN move past it. While I’m not completely there, I feel like I’m so much more relaxed and easy going than a couple years ago, which has done wonders for my mental health. I share all my best tips for overcoming the need to be perfect in this post.

The point to all of this is take care of yourself, k? Stop obsessing over the idea of having work-life balance and instead just do things every day to work towards it! Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.

Real Talk · Uncategorized

4 Secrets to a successful social media detox.

Hi friends!

Now that Christmas is over and we find ourselves in that weird in-between space, waiting for New Years, I wanted to talk more about social media detoxes. Why? Because well, I just can’t get enough and really, what are you doing for the next few days? You might notice I’ve been going a little silent on social more and more lately and it feels really good.

I think the WHY of subjects is so important, but without the tools to get through it, what’s the point? I’ll get right to it – here are 5 *secrets* I’ve used to do social media detoxes from time to time.

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Prep a little bit.

I mentioned previously that social media detoxes can sometimes give me a bit of anxiety and I think that is normal. Basically, not looking at social or posting (aka doing my job) makes me feel really behind. I find Mondays are a little bit tougher to get through when on a detox because I know I’ve been offline for a couple days over the weekend. But I’ve learned that a little prep makes all the difference. Whether that’s getting some graphics ready that I really want to share and using a posting app to do it for me, or feeling like I’ve done enough sharing that week – it’s nice knowing that I can take a break without it stressing me out.

If your job revolves around social, that’s what I’d suggest. If it doesn’t, you probably don’t need this tip but maybe it’s still helpful?

Get distracted.

My first experience with a true social detox was over a weekend where I was at the cottage and distracted in the best way. We had such a fun weekend doing outdoorsy things and just living life that social media (and my phone) wasn’t on my mind. Not to mention this was a little easier because there was no cell service so I couldn’t get online even if I wanted to.

If it pains you to put away social media (no judgements!), try being distracted for a weekend. Maybe choose your first detox during a busy weekend or on a trip away. The holidays are the PERFECT time to do detoxes and just enjoy the downtime with family and friends. I promise New Years Eve is still special without sharing it with your followers or feeling like you need to follow along everyone else’s day.

Last year, we went to Mexico over Christmas with my boyfriend and we decided not to purchase the WiFi at the resort and spend an entire week without the outside world. It was amazing!! Although I will say, I found it very overwhelming when we got home and turned it back on to find hundreds of emails, text messages, Instagram notifications, Snaps, Facebook notifications etc.

Let your phone die.

Personally, when I know I need a social media detox, I usually need a break from my phone entirely. From texts, emails, everything. And the easiest way to take a break from it all – and to ensure you’re not tempted to check Instagram REAL QUICK, just for a second – is turning off your phone or letting it die.

I’ll usually put away my chargers or not bring them with me and literally just let it die. I won’t lie, this is kind of painful the first few times, but it gets more comfortable. After a few times, it’s SO FREAKING RELIEVING! Airplane Mode would work too, but I personally am an all or nothing type of girl and give it to temptations.

Wait until you’re ready.

I’ve learned that I can’t do something unless I’m ready – even though I know it’s good for me. I can’t workout until I’m truly ready. I can’t do a wellness routine unless it really feels good, even though the rest of the world might like it. And I can’t take a social media break unless I’m personally ready for it!

Take inventory of your state of mind and burnout and wait until you’re actually ready. Don’t take a break just because I am or because I say it’s good for you – wait until you really need it. It’ll make the process much easier and successful!

Switch those phones off for a few days, we’ll catch up in 2019.

Don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.

Real Talk · Uncategorized

How to prioritize when everything is important.

Let’s talk priorities. Because (obviously) they’re really important. But specifically, I want to talk about an #adulting skill that nobody ever really teaches you but that you’re expected to do: prioritize. Even more specifically, I want to talk about how to prioritize your never-ending to-do list of important things that must get done. How do you know where to start? This is a topic that I have really struggled with in the past and it effected both my personal life and my career until I was able to get it all in check. Not everything is a top priority.

I personally love making lists. They calm my brain and my nerves because there is something about putting everything down on paper just makes the world feel a little less intimidating; writing it all down also somehow makes me feel a little more capable, too. Something about putting words to all the things swimming around in my brain gives me confidence and motivation to accomplish them. You know?

So the question then becomes: how do I distinguish the differing importance between two important things?

But seriously though, I can usually identify what’s important but how do I know what’s most important? How do I put those things in order?

How to prioritize when everything feels important.

So many successful people talk about the importance of prioritizing and how it’s such a necessary skill in being able to get things done. But I’m over here, nodding my head, like yes yes yes. Okay totally. I agree, but the question is: HOW? How do I actually prioritize when literally everything feels (and seems) super important? I clearly can’t do it all at once. Even though I still struggle with this, I’ve learned a lot along the way. So here is exactly what I do when I need to figure out how to prioritize my overwhelming list of things to do, step-by-step.

Take a deep breath.

First things first, let’s chill out a second, okay? It’s all going to be okay. We’ll get through this, I promise. I know that is easier said than done but take that first deep breath, it is a starting point.

I know the feeling of having a list of 3,687 things that NEED to be done like yesterday (and they’re all important) so please, if you haven’t taken that deep breath yet do it NOW. I feel overwhelmed by my to-do list and ideas on the regular but stopping to remind myself that it’ll be OK always helps. Always. Talk to yourself if you need to. But don’t underestimate the power in taking a long, deep, intentional breath; it can do more for you (your brain and body!) than you realize.

I get that not feeling overwhelmed is easier said than done (I should know), but if you don’t take a second to get yourself out of there, you’ll likely end up paralyzed by your to-do list to the point where you won’t get anything done. Know what I mean? So just stop for a second, take a deep breath and remember it’ll all be OK. You’ve got this.

Brain dump: put all your thoughts on paper.

One of my favorite things to do when I’m feeling overwhelmed is to do a good ‘ole brain dump .You have heard me talk about this time and time again. Because I’m addicted and do them all the time.

If you don’t know what a brain dump is, it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like – it’s taking pen to paper and getting all of your thoughts OUT of your brain. It’s a release and it’s also you facing facts. It’s taking everything you’re worrying about, questioning, feeling and needing to do, and putting it somewhere that you can actually look at them.

Get your journal (it’s better to write than type), cozy up on the couch and get ALL THE THINGS out of your brain and onto the page. In the next step I’ll tell you what to do with it but for now, just write write write. Don’t censor yourself or write down what you wish you were thinking. Just be honest with yourself, write down anything that pops up and don’t judge yourself for any of it.

If you’ve never tried one before, I promise you’ll be hooked after the first one (there’s something so therapeutic about getting everything out of your head). I break down how to do a brain dump in detail in this post .

Categorize the brain dump.

Once you’ve got everything out of your brain and onto paper, the next step is to categorize your tasks. This will help you figure out what needs to be done immediately, what needs to be scheduled, what can be delegated and what can be flat out deleted.

What you want to do is look over all the things you’ve written down and either use a different colored highlighter for each category or rewrite your list into the four groups so you can see things clearly. And deleting as much as you possibly can is ALWAYS a good productivity tip, so don’t be afraid to cross off things that won’t help move you closer to your goals (and sometimes you just have to be ruthless).

Prioritize the important.

This is the hardest part – figuring out what to do when you’ve got A LOT in the “not urgent but still important” category. As I was saying before, knowing how to distinguish different levels of importance can be challenging and no one’s really telling us how to prioritize it. What I share below is my process for figuring out what’s most important.

Th area that I tend to spend the most time in are the tasks that are not urgent but important. They’re the ones that help you achieve your most important goals and have to do with relationships, planning, and self-improvement. Basically, they’re all the things you want to be doing in your life but haven’t got around to yet (because they’ve never been urgent!).

Here are some examples of activities that fall into that section, dependent on your lifestyle:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Going for a morning walk
  • Working on your side hustle
  • Spending time with family and friends
  • Spending time alone/reflecting
  • Listening to a podcast
  • Reading
  • Planning
  • Getting your life organized

Assess value.

So the question remains – how to figure out which of these things to do first? Again, take a deep breath and then have a look over your list and start assessing the value of each task. Let’s be real – everything on your list isn’t going to get you the same result. There are some things on that list that will make a huuuge difference in your life and some that will only change it a little bit. For example, making sure you get enough sleep each night is going to have a much bigger impact on your life than listening to a podcast (even though I love podcasts ) because if you’re not looking after your health then everything else suffers.

Looking at the value of each task is super important (because what’s the point of doing stuff if it doesn’t get you to your goals??) so what I suggest is go through your list and give each item a 1 if it’s just a nice-to-have all the way up to a 10 if it would be completely life-changing (if you can’t tell yet, we’re basically just refining that first list you wrote again and again and again until it’s not overwhelming). And if you think everything on your list would be life-changing, remind yourself that it’s better to focus on a couple of things rather than attempting all of them at once. Try not to give two or more things the same rating if you can avoid it.

When you’re figuring out how to prioritize the important stuff, it’s also good to consider how long things will take, whether you have other people depending on you, deadlines etc. I recommend going back over your list again (ha!) and make sure that the items you scored as a 10 are the ones that are the most impactful AND make the most sense when you consider the time and effort involved as well as other people (but having said that… it’s important you’re not just living your life to please others).

Put tasks in order.

I don’t recommend working from your messy, color-coded brain dump; that’s NOT going to help with the overwhelming feelings. In order to prioritize the list, we’ve got to sort through it a bit, reorder some things, assign different weights to others, and so on. The key to figuring out how to prioritize your forever-long brain dump is to write a new, fresh list. Stay with me, friends.

Once you’ve got everything in order, write a new list of the things you’re going to do based on the ratings you gave each. Be sure to keep your list short and make sure each of the tasks you want to do is specific (this helps with planning).

If there are any unimportant tasks that landed onto your lists, cross them off ASAP. We can tend to those later. Challenge yourself to focus on just the important items.

Run over your list and make sure you feel good and confident (about the importance of) everything that’s on there. Easier said than done, but it’s best to do this before you’ve started any of the work, not after. Go through each item and be honest with the reason why it is on the list and ask yourself what makes it important and why. Make sure that none of the tasks you’re doing are coming from a place of fear or a desire to people-please.

Strive for progress over perfection.

To-do lists are a place where perfectionism can flare up (in a BIG way) and you might feel like you need to have everything perfectly prioritized before you can get started. Or that you need to do everything for it to be worth it.

But I know for sure that it’s better to be doing something imperfectly than to not being doing it at all. Strive for progress, not perfection. And remember that none of us have our lives perfectly organized – I wish!

Related: How to overcome the pressure to be perfect.

What about you?

How do you figure out what’s most important?

Let’s chat.

Don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.