You cannot pour into yourself or others if your cup is empty
By Contributing Writer Caitlin Hall
Returning from break means wearing real pants consistently, waking up early to be somewhere on time and the usual stressors of a full workday. The time for relaxation is over; and that means time to find a way to balance your work and home life.
Both work and home require a balance to live a healthy life. You cannot pour into yourself or others if your cup is empty. Below are three great ways to balance your work and home life so your cup is full.
I cannot stress scheduling your day out enough. This could be setting reminders on your phone, using the schedule tab on Google Calendar with alarms or using a paper calendar. Use whatever fits your personality.
Scheduling your day provides balance by ensuring the items you have to get done are getting done with enough time to do items you want to get done.
For example, I know my contractual workday starts at 7:45 a.m and ends at 3:15 p.m. I also know I have classes I have to teach, IEP meetings to facilitate and other work-related meetings during this contractual period. I also have assignments to grade and lesson planning to do. It is not possible to get all the items I have to do completed in this contractual period. This means I need to time manage wisely.
For me, this means staying after school for an additional thirty minutes or an hour. For others, that means coming to school thirty minutes to an hour earlier.
After my scheduled time for work is over, I make a list of what I need to do the following day, and then close my computer for the evening. This is so important. Ensuring your work stays at work frees not only your time for personal and family activities but your soul. You are saying to yourself you are important and worthy of spending time on what feeds your soul and fills up your cup.
When you feel good about yourself, you can balance all areas of your life more efficiently.
For some, after school responsibilities can be just as time-consuming. The same method applies as those responsibilities under the “have to do” category. If you find yourself spending too much time in one area over another, evaluate what that activity is bringing to your life.
At the end of the day do you feel fulfilled by that activity? Does it make you a better person? Or do you come home feeling exhausted and in a bad mood? Listen to your words and your emotions as you enter your door after fulfilling those responsibilities. If it does not bring you joy or personal development think about releasing that from your to-do list.
The most important area on your calendar or schedule should be a daily activity that feeds your physical body and your soul. They are not mutually exclusive. This could be a thirty-minute family walk around your neighborhood before or after dinner, making time for a yoga class or whatever else you enjoy doing to train your body physically.
Feeling good about yourself translates into your relationships. When you feel good about yourself, you can balance all areas of your life more efficiently.
Choose an after work ritual
If you find yourself unable to shake off the workday, consider performing an after-work ritual to symbolize that part of your day is over. This ritual, just like your intentional scheduling, can look like or be anything you choose. Choose something symbolic and meaningful to you that you can do consistently.
For me, my after-work ritual starts with putting my keys on the hook by the door and my backpack on its hook in the office. This symbolizes hanging up my work for the evening. Both items are placed out of eyesight in their designated areas. This way, I do not have that constant reminder of what I have to do the following day.
I follow this by picking up my frame drum and mallet and banging the stress of the day away on its skin. To me, there is nothing more satisfying than using the rhythmic motion and sound to symbolically release all emotions, stress and mental fatigue of the day.
I do not set a specific time frame for this soul healing, day releasing ritual. This is a time for my soul and me to reconnect and recharge so I am ready to dedicate time to what makes me truly happy, my family.
Your ritual might look entirely different. It is only important that you find a ritual meaningful to you that you can be consistent with. The key is to do this act of releasing work every single day. If you have trouble remembering, schedule it in. Make this time a “have to do” action.
Finally, be intentional. Finding balance is an action, not a desire. Life is unpredictable and ever-changing. Stress is always going to be part of your life fighting for your attention. You cannot be a successful person in all areas of your life if you do not insist on being intentional about having modalities in place to balance your work and home life.
So, go. Find what makes your heart sing and reduces your stress. Intentionally schedule a time to do whatever it is that refills your cup. It is worth it!