Working to Maintain a Work-Life Balance
By: Trudy Jacobs
If you are anything like me, this past year has been a hard year for you. Made even harder by the fact that most of us had to work from home very abruptly. Many of us are STILL working from home with no clear date to return to the office. And then some of us will now be permanently working from home. With all this, how can we maintain a work-life balance in these conditions?
To get a better grasp on some tips and best practices, I reached out to the UT Employee Assistance Program Office and asked them this question: What are your top 3 ways to maintain your personal work-life balance? I had only requested to get responses from a few people, but we ended up getting responses from nearly everyone in the office! Continue reading to see what the “experts” are doing in their own personal lives to help maintain a balance.
MONICA GUIDRY (Executive Director of EAP)
- Kayaking - when the weather is warm
- Cuddles with my granddaughter as well as long car trips with my daughter
- Tennis and scuba diving with friends
SHARLENE JOHNSON (Sr. Assessment & Referral Specialist)
- Regular Zoom meetings with family and close friends
- Playing the piano
ROBIN DICKEY (Sr. Faculty Assistance Specialist)
- I maintain a daily yoga and meditation practice. I do not assign a specific amount of time for these activities and I give myself compassion if I am unable to make it happen EVERY day.
- When I work remotely, at the end of my day I close the laptop and go outside so that I can walk back into the house as if I am “coming home” from work to ensure I am able to officially end my work day and transition into the evening at home.
- I really enjoy cooking, so I meal prep on Sundays to ensure I have healthy smoothies for breakfast during the week and I make 2-3 “fun” dinners each week. This gives me a healthy energetic start to my work days and helps me save time and energy in the evenings during a busy work week.
JULIE VAN ORDEN (Sr. Program Manager, Wellness)
- I’m a “God girl” so I read scripture every morning and usually listen to something inspirational like a podcast while I get ready for my work day.
- Sit at the dinner table with my husband as a pivot or transition from my work day.
- Run or play golf when the weather is good.? They are both good for my mental focus.
CRYSTAL MOORE (Sr. EAP Account Representative)
- Swimming, yoga, biking
- Trying to stay in the present and breathing
- Dreaming about my next outdoor adventure in nature
DELPHI MEDINA (Sr. EAP Account Representative)
- Gym – Weights and Pilates
- Run/Walk, walking in neighborhood, Peloton, biking outside when weather gets warm
- Sitting on my patio in good weather or by firepit & heaters when cold
CHRIS BETTERS (EAP Account Representative)
- Walking dogs
- Bible study with my ladies group
DOW HUDLOW (Manager, EAP Business Operations)
- Spending time with children and grandchildren
- Exercising/walking the dog
JACOB THOMAS (Web Developer II)
- Talk with therapist and assess stress levels to determine if work is harming my mental health. If so, come up with plan to address or minimize the pain points.
- Periodically make plans after work with friends or family to ensure I'm not working too late and burning myself out.
- Use an organizing software (Asana) to make a work task list. This helps me stay on task and accomplish my goals within the workday and avoid taking work home. This also helps reduce anxiety about forgetting tasks as unfinished jobs roll over to the next day.
ERIN GUTIERREZ (Assessment & Referral Specialist)
- Taking dogs to the dog park; laugh at the zany pups running and jumping everywhere.? Engage in upbeat conversations with other owners about our pets.? It helps shift my focus from the tough work and life stuff to something easy and joyful to talk about.
- Find and complete unique Paint-by-Numbers; gift them to someone when finished (currently working on RBG project).? The focus it takes to paint allows me to “get out of my head” for a little bit and the idea of creating it for someone just feels good.
- Getting on the floor with my 1 year old to play.? Smiling and laughing together as he knocks over my block castle for the 4thtime helps improve my mood.? Also, looking at him gives me perspective on what is really important to me and what I need to let go.
Our hope is that some of these tips are helpful for you! Here’s to having balance in our lives as we continue to navigate life in a pandemic.