C/O Elena Mozhvilo
While the value of a work-life balance may be well known, its individuality is of supreme importance
By: Ardena Bašić, Contributor
Students and professionals alike are often encouraged to find a work-life balance to avoid burnout and maintain motivation in the long run. However, while we typically think of a stereotypical scenario of this balance being achieved, for example working diligently during the week and relaxing for the weekend, approaches are unique to every individual.
It is important to reconcile this concept of individuality in our approach to a sustainable lifestyle to avoid feeling like an outlier and remain confident in how we spend our days.
For most people, striking a balance between our responsibilities and our hobbies and passions often comes with general recommendations. Taking breaks from sitting at our desks, making sure to exercise and making time for social activities are only a few such suggestions.
However, in looking to apply such recommendations to our lives, we may find them difficult and unsuitable for our particular lifestyles. For example, students may have days completely full of class; on such days, they truly do not have time for more leisurely activities.
Moreover, busy professionals or parents with children may have to lean more towards work than life — or vice versa — depending on what the day brings. Adhering to such standard suggestions may be doing more harm than good, in that not being able to live up to them can be disheartening and deleterious to our confidence levels.
A more suitable approach to finding balance in our lives should involve reflection on our priorities at a given moment in time. Each individual will likely have varying primary concerns at each stage in life.
For students, achieving success in school and related endeavours may mean that their idea of “balance” is more focused on work at the moment. For example, one could find solace in running every day, whereas another person could consider that more of a “work” item in their version of balance.
One must also understand the dynamic nature of their life in considering work-life balance. Although one could easily balance work and leisure on a given day, the same is not promised for the following day.
We need to let go of such perfectionist expectations and instead approach each day with a flexible mentality — one that is adaptable and takes into account both a person’s happiness and goals.
Letting go of such expectations and the need to fit into societal expectations of the perfect work-life balance is the only way to truly foster individuality and maintain motivation to work for what makes one feel most alive.
There cannot be a uniform approach to such a concept that is deeply personal to our lives.
Similar to how we all have different approaches to our education, health and professional life, our unique balance should be perceived in a similar, distinct fashion.