FOR THE LOVE OF RELATIONSHIPS – Flourishing in work/life balance

I recently returned from an amazing family vacation. I am rested, relaxed, recharged, and ready to go. Getting back to the office, I am slammed. I have work from the week I was gone plus my regular duties. I had all these tasks to accomplish prior to leaving and now I am paying the price. Is a vacation worth it? Thinking about this and the drumbeat of work-life balance, I am perplexed. 

What is work-life balance? Is it flex time, working from home, time to do yoga, or have professional development time. Should work be called work, and life be called life. Describing work vs life makes it sound that work is something we must do, and life is something we want to do.  The assumption is that work is something we must prioritize to be successful and the personal part of our lives can be placed on the back burner.

This was common among families in my generation. Dad was making a living and mom was making a life. Dad would come home bone tired, and mom would sigh and be grateful that dad was the provider, meanwhile she was burning the candle at both ends. Thankfully, this is no longer the case. Moms and dads are both working, and they need to figure out how to make a living and a life together.  

To do this well, we must reframe the conversation. Instead of utilizing the phrase, work-life balance, let’s change the language to work-life integration. How can we create a space that our life is integrated into our work?

Let’s rethink this in another way. At work we have certain responsibilities. At home we also have tasks that we are responsible for, making the bed, paying the bills, doing the laundry, vacuuming etc. These responsibilities feel like work. What we must attach to each one of these tasks (whether at work or at home) is a sense of meaning and purpose. This puts the joy back in both places. Once our duties are complete, we can have time to play, which is full of whimsy and delight, increasing joy. This creates is a system for human flourishing. Not only do we have a job to do, we live and work for noble, worthy and meaningful purposes to grow and thrive. 

One must ask the right questions to find this integration. What am I working for? What is my passion and purpose? Am I in my giftedness? Am I making a difference? What lights me up at work and at home? 

Think about what you want out of your life? Do you have joy and energy? Are you flourishing and thriving in your work, family, and community? If not, you might need to take a vacation from the mundane and make the changes necessary to find the integration and joy you seek. It is worth it!  For more information contact joneen@myrelationshipcenter.org