Creating more work-life balance
How can we better structure our lives to support a healthier work-life balance? Let’s take a look at what’s different from our pre-COVID routine.
A few years ago, we had a morning routine that consisted of at least showering, dressing in “work clothes,” and likely commuting some distance to our jobs. We had a lunch break, where we might have enjoyed time with our coworkers, checked out a new restaurant, or gone for a nice walk. And our commute home gave us time to change gears before we arrived home. Perhaps we listened to our favorite music or podcast.
Since COVID, many of us are working where we live. Maybe we put on a nice shirt before our first Zoom call and save the shower for later in the day. We grab a quick cup of coffee and breakfast, and 15 minutes after getting out of bed, we’re “at work.” The evening ritual often looks like a slow, gradual winding down of emails and Zoom calls, without a clear boundary between work and home. We might start dinner while we’re finishing up work, and we continue “keeping up” on emails throughout the evening.
Our work and our personal lives have blended together to the point that there is no separation. What we’re missing are the little rituals that signaled the beginning and end of our workday. So many of my clients have been expressing heightened anxiety and a general sense of languishing since COVID, and by designing these little rituals, they’ve been able to build a better work-life balance and experience a greater sense of ease at the end of the day.
Rituals for better work-life balance
The idea here is to create small rituals that signal to your body and mind that you are moving from one mindset to another. We may no longer have a change in physical location, but there are so many wonderful ways to create that shift. Here are some ideas:
- At the end of your workday, or at lunch, go for a walk. It doesn’t have to be long, even 10 minutes around the block is enough.
- Change your clothes! There is a sense of discipline in putting on nice work clothes every morning, and while you won’t be wearing comfy sweats all day, you’ll enjoy them that much more when you put them on at the end of your workday.
- Do something to get into a flow state for a few minutes. You might meditate, play a musical instrument, or journal. Close your eyes, put on your favorite song, and dance around your living room!
- A few minutes of yoga, stretching, or body-weight exercises won’t replace time at the gym, but it will give you a nice transition from one mindset to the next. I’m a big fan of 10 minutes of yoga in the morning and 10 minutes of meditation in the evening.
- Connect with family! Bring your partner on that walk around the block, walk your dog, or check in with your kids.
These are just a few ideas, so feel free to experiment and add your own. The trick is consistency and routine. So pick a couple of things to try for a week and see how you feel.
Matt McLaughlin, PCC, is the Inner MBA Coach and Community Manager. In addition to his work for the Inner MBA program, Matt is also a conscious leadership coach at Elustra Consulting. He helps business leaders, solopreneurs, and inspired individuals to optimize their impact on people, the planet, and prosperity. By shining a light on unconscious patterns, he helps his clients establish new ways of being that bring self-awareness, emotional intelligence, confidence, and better relationships.