What is Work / Life balance? And what is working for you?

Do you ever notice that work/life balance is sometimes talked about as if it’s a thing you can achieve? Like it’s a moment of equilibrium in which your life has been finely calibrated and you’ve got it figured out?

I would love to know what that actually looks like. There is no “there” to get to.

Our lives are in constant flux, and things can change on a dime, particularly right now with this pandemic.

There’s a particularly burden right now on working mothers and parents, and oh-so much unpredictability.

The moment a positive Covid case at school happens: boom, your plans you’ve so thoughtfully set up for work go into disarray.

Your childcare provider calls out sick: there goes your ideas for the day, much less any potential time to yourself.

It’s so hard to plan for the future right now, right? And it’s fatiguing how long we’ve been holding this uncertainty. Particularly for those without the resources and support they need, this has been so hard.

For those of you going through a fertility journey, there may have been an impact on fertility treatments at times. Perhaps you've had to delay treatment or miss optimal windows because of other  factors.

Women returning to work after maternity leave have been impacted as well.  I've seen several people having to delay their return times, or start and then have to adjust afterwards.  It's a lot to hold during such a vulnerable time.

Especially when you’re living from crisis to crisis, this is really tough. What might you need more of or less of?

Instead of work life balance,

I like to think of it more like work/life integration. Tuning into yourself with each crisis and situation, noticing the ripple effects into your life, and what the impact means.

It may not feel balanced, but by paying attention to your mental health and wellbeing, you may notice how the latest change impacts you, and how you might adjust to it accordingly, if possible.

Are you exhausted by this latest round of school closures, for example? Can you chuck some stuff off your to-do list, and focus on sleep instead in the short term? Or, if the latest lockdown has you feeling really isolated, when can you schedule your next meet up?

New parents in particular, you may be so exhausted making plans and then having them change. You may be feeling intense fatigue or anger at the result of it all.

This is hard, period. We’re all doing our best and there is no pass or fail.