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Work-Life Balance: Spring Break Balancing Act - Executive Leadership Articles

Work-Life Balance: Spring Break Balancing Act

Executive Leadership Articles

Work-Life Balance: Spring Break Balancing Act

“I need a vacation after that vacation!” How many times have you uttered this sentiment, or heard it from colleagues returning from time off? We very often work so hard at relaxing, that when we get back to the office, we realize we managed to have a great time and recharge parts of our lives that needed it most, but we haven’t recharged in certain ways that make us better able to do our work.

And there’s nothing wrong with this. Sure, you’re drained and you may not be at full capacity at work until Wednesday, but you feel that rare fulfillment from the things that really matter: family, friends, adventure, curiosity, spirit, or whatever defines you away from your career. Still, sometimes you feel as if you worked too hard at having fun, or sometimes it seems like you didn’t make the best use of your time. With spring break hitting many of our homes this month, it’s not a bad idea to take a look at our attitudes about a week away from work, spent with kids and loved ones instead of associates and partners.

Parenting is an endless series of sacrifices. They are usually rewarding sacrifices—we take joy in seeing our kids having fun, or we know we’re creating lifelong memories for the whole family. But if you’re taking a week off to be with the children, there’s nothing wrong with building a little bit of me-time into the calendar, or adding something to the itinerary that you really want to see for yourself. One of the keys to real work-life balance is being aware of your needs and working with your personal team (not only your work team!) to see that everyone’s needs are being taken care of, including yours.

For the real go-getter, type A, recharge by getting things done personality, this may simply be a matter of planning diligently, executing the plan, and seeing that everyone has a great time. This version of balance comes with the peace of directing our energies toward the things that matter most to us, using our gifts the way we long to, rather than the way that pays the bills. You already know what the red-alert zones are: the stress we feel when things don’t go the way we plan, or the unexpected complications that we have little control over, leading to the sense of having failed to deliver what we’ve promised. Too many of these, and returning to work is our vacation from our vacation.

Others of us really need downtime, a concept that can be antithetical to a family vacation. If you’re taking time off from work simply to work at being a family, you’re not getting this downtime, and you come back to work resentful and unsatisfied. Our kids are baffled by how satisfied we are to sit on the beach and merely watch as they splash around in the water. We find peace in a shady spot where we “watch the things,” while our kids dash from line to line in the amusement park, stopping by to drop off their latest prize and tell us (or lie about) the crazy things they just did. Here the problem is that we get so used to stealing these moments that we don’t plan for them, and if we leave things up to chance, we may not get them. We return from our trips feeling slightly resentful, and then feeling guilty about that resentment.

In a Working Mother magazine article, we are reminded to “take the time to shift the focus every once in a while as need be, and don’t feel guilty or like you have failed if the scales don’t ever perfectly match-up.” Naturally, a perfect vacation where everyone’s needs, including your own, are fully satisfied is the ideal we may never completely achieve, but shifting our focus and giving it our best try are sometimes the best we can hope for, knowing that we and our loved ones are all works in progress, getting better at being ourselves the more we try to spend quality time with one another.

Reference link:
Working Mother http://www.workingmother.com/thee-all-important-work-life-balance

 

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Work-Life Balance: Spring Break Balancing Act - Executive Leadership Articles

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