Work-Life Balance: Is This a Thing?
By Miranda O'Krane, CLAC Health and Wellness Coordinator
I have been working since I was 14. Since then, I have always heard that I needed to keep my work and life balanced or I could burn out and loathe work.
Now, there were parts of my jobs that I loathed, like changing the lard in the deep fryer at KFC or having to clean a hearing aid for a hard of hearing student. And also things that I loved, like laughing with coworkers or completing a project that I was proud of. The work and the life was never balanced, as the jobs turned into schooling, careers, and life experience—and I became to realize that it’s all about work and life.
I have removed the word “balance” because work and life have become intertwined—especially since the pandemic. As offices closed over the country, I have brought my work into my home and now work in my “pretty room” life space. This was the space that I used only for sitting, reading, and chatting—after work. The pretty room has become my home office with a desk and all the things an office needs. I have recognized that I need to enjoy my work and my personal life, and sometimes together in the same space. I have taught myself how to turn the computer off, move the desk over a bit, and use the pretty chairs with the songbird patterned fabric for my coffee breaks or for reading time with my daughter. Not many people can turn off work completely, nor can they turn off life at work. This pandemic has definitely shaken up the way many of us work and the way we view it.
The term work-life balance implies that work is bad and life is good. We can lose ourselves in work but find ourselves in life. We have been taught to balance the heaviness of work and the refreshing lightness of life outside of work. But life is seldom black and white. I challenge you to find the good in your work and enjoy the good in your life.
We can’t always love what we do, but we can try to find something we love about it. One thing that keeps me positive is starting a gratitude journal. Every day, I write down three things I’m grateful for—at work and in my personal life. It reminds me to truly embrace each day as it comes.