It’s usually difficult for business owners, no matter what generation, than non-business owners to achieve life-balance and work-life integration, which are dependent on effective time and stress management skills, as well as great communication with employees and with family and friends. Adding in the caregiver component can be cause for a personal tipping point into the realms of anger or suppressed feelings often leading to depression.
Therefore, it’s important for caregivers who are also business owners to be especially mindful of time constraints and communications with office workers and family members, not allowing frustrations often caused by caregiving affect work or home relationships and productivity.
Integrating work and life works efficiently with fast paced technology, especially for millennials who are adapting well to this reality. The phrase “work-life integration” is blending what you do professionally and personally in order to make both happen. The trending shift (away from work life flexibility and balance) has happened as fast as the development and speed of technology. Some may be finding it difficult to step away from the work-life balance they have worked so hard to attain.
There are several reasons why mastering work-life integration is so essential right now, as well as maintaining personal balance- the kind where you can stand on one foot and not fall down! The balance need not be equal pieces of “the wheel of life” .
Compromises can be made without sabotaging wellbeing, happy family life and relationships. Keeping a flexible calendar and writing in exercise-gym time, family time etc. can be helpful in the juggling and maintaining balance. Taking meaningful time away from work, whether it be a few hours a day, a weekend or a few days and more vacation can be wonderfully recharging. Below are a few reasons work-life integration or a variation of it is necessary:
- A recent study by the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) found that more than 50% of workers say that work conflicts with life responsibilities at least two or three times per week. Due to this, about 40% of women have delayed having children. Many have separate phones for business
- Working remotely is easier than ever! However, this can make it more difficult to separate work and life, creating a natural integration.
It’s important to honor your own bio-rhythms so that you do work when you believe you can perform the best and do personal activities to break up your day. This is one way you can integrate work and life so that you remain sane and are able to accomplish (almost) everything you want to do from a personal and professional perspective. Taking “joy” and exercise-stretch breaks throughout the day clears your mind, stretches muscles and ups the endorphins (feeling good hormones) and creativity factor.
Keeping a flexible calendar and scheduling things like going to the gym, writing articles, reading, meetings, research at around the same time each day can be helpful to get into habits and have more control over what you’re doing and when.
Whether the problem is too much focus on work or too little, when your work life and your personal life – including caregiving and maybe sandwich generation caregiving – feel out of balance, often times stress, along with its harmful effects, is the result. The good news is that most can take control of stress levels by giving yourself the time to do the things that are most important to you. When life literally is beginning to feel “out of control” or “lopsided” and you feel off kilter, give yourself the gift of time to restore balance. Consider disconnecting as much as necessary for stress reduction and the restoration of balance in addition to tips below:
Get plenty of rest. Try to get the requisite eight hours every night. If you’re short on sleep because your caregiver duties require you to be up and down during the night, take naps the following day when your loved one is sleeping –if possible- or spend shorter periods in meditation.
Exercise regularly. Regular exercise will give you more energy, reduce your stress, and elevate your mood. Aim for 30-60 minutes of exercise four to six times a week; even a walk around the block will help clear your mind and keep you more fit. If you can work in some strength training twice a week, that will help keep your bones firm and your muscles strong
Relax. Do relaxation exercises–such as deep breathing or meditating–to reduce caregiver and business stress. If possible, set aside a few minutes at the beginning and end of your day to practice these techniques.
Consciously relaxing in this way will help you enter the day more calmly, and make it easier for you to sleep at night. You can also do deep breathing now and then throughout the day to help keep your stress under control.
- Take time for yourself! Stop being a caregiver once or twice a week for a day – or part of a day – and take some time for yourself. If you do, you’ll be happier and better able to care for your loved one(s), and be more productive and focused at work!
When you are living with a spouse or partner, keep in mind that when a couple makes special efforts to care for each other, caregiving doesn’t have to be as much of a burden–and may even make your relationship stronger!
Support, understanding and inspiration received from a spouse and others close to you while caring for an aging parent can help cope with both the pressures and demands of caregiving and household chores and duties. In business and at home, delegate when possible, and always remember to
say “Thank you!” and Be Grateful!