Tips for Building a Healthy Work-Life Balance and How Daycare in Ottawa Can Help
Striking a work-life balance is a challenge for anyone, but it is especially challenging for working parents. Between time spent at work, commuting, and rushing around, there’s usually not much left to spend with family. And a stressful day could mean distractions during your family time.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out because of work, it can seep into your home life and compromise the quality time you have with your family. And if you don’t make any time for yourself to unwind and recharge, you will definitely feel overstretched sooner than later.
But there are ways you can improve your work-life balance so both you and your family will benefit. Setting boundaries at home and work, and getting support, such as from family and sending your children to a quality daycare in Ottawa, will help you save time, alleviate stress, and be well on your way to finding the best work-life balance for you and your family.
What Exactly is a Work-Life Balance?
A work-life balance is how much time and effort you devote to work and the important things in your life. Each person and family has their own unique needs, so a work-life balance looks different for everyone. And as life happens, changes to your work, family, and responsibilities will alter this balance and how you make time for responsibilities.
Here are some of the important responsibilities that are usually part of a working parent’s work-life balance:
- Household chores;
- Leisure activities; and,
- Other commitments, such as volunteering, classes, groups, and hobbies.
The Benefits of a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Although rushing around, feeling stressed out, and not having any down time may seem like a normal part of parenthood, it doesn’t have to be. Striking a work-life balance can help you:
- Feel less stressed and tired;
- Have greater control of your time;
- Improve your decision making;
- Follow through with commitments; and,
- Improve your overall health.
With a work-life balance, you can have more quality time with your family, giving your kids and partner the undivided loving attention they need. The more time and energy you have to spend with your family, the stronger your relationships will be and the less likely you’ll burnout from work.
How to Fall Off Balance
If your work is taking too much time and energy from you—i.e. from working late or bringing work home—and seeping into the time you should be spending with your family, then your work-life balance is likely off balance.
The best way to gauge your work-life balance is to ask yourself: “Do I have enough time to do everything I want to?” If you answered, “Yes,” then you have figured out a healthy work-life balance. But if not, don’t worry. Once you’ve tried out some of these tips, you may find some things that work for you.
Make New Arrangements & Ask for Help
Find out if your employer has family-friendly work arrangements so you can work your schedule around your other responsibilities, such as daycare and school drop-offs and pick-ups. These arrangements could include:
- Flexible work hours—starting work earlier or later, so you can finish earlier or later;
- Working less hours; and,
- Working from home.
It’s also important to find a trustworthy daycare in Ottawa so you can get your work done during the day without worrying about your kids. Do some research, read reviews, and visit daycares to help you choose a quality daycare you feel comfortable sending you kids to.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends if you need it. This support is important for those times when you can’t meet all of your responsibilities. So if you do have to work a bit later, or you have an appointment, ask someone else to pick up your kids.
Change Work Habits
Consider making the following changes to help prevent work from spilling over into your personal life:
- Start with the most challenging tasks at the beginning of your workday so you won’t feel too stressed and rushed at the end of the day, and possibly be unable to complete everything;
- If you have a bit of work left at the end of the day, stay a bit later to finish it if you can instead of bringing work home;
- Set boundaries with work, especially when at home, such as how much work you’ll do at home and times when you can’t be reached by phone or e-mail. These boundaries also apply to family. While you should make clear that your family is a priority, they also need to respect your set work time and space if you work from home.
Switching to Home Life
For you to truly enjoy your life out of work, you must switch off your workday so you can devote your time, energy, and focus on your family and other responsibilities. Here are some things you can do to make the switch from work mode to home life every day.
When on your way home:
- Think about your family;
- Listen to music, podcasts, or the radio;
- Read or exercise;
- Take a moment for yourself; and,
- Ask your kid’s daycare about how your kid’s day went so you can address any issues or concerns with your kid and be better able to help them.
Once you’re home:
- Get into comfy clothes, or follow another ritual to mark the end of the workday;
- Talk to your family about your day and theirs, and be honest if you’ve had a stressful day to help them understand your challenges;
- Make the most of your time with family away from devices, work, and other distractions—think of fun activities to enjoy at home or outdoors;
- Take some time for yourself—even if it’s just a few moments after work, once the kids are in bed, and in the morning while you get ready for work, everyone needs some time alone to recharge and have more energy and attention to give to others throughout the day.
It may take some time to find the right balance for you and your family. Don’t give up! It is possible if you’re mindful of your needs and responsibilities. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and ask for help when needed. And remember, your situation may change over time. Make a point to find a healthy work-life balance. Send your kids to a trustworthy daycare in Ottawa. And make the most of your time outside of work! By doing this, both you and your family will benefit from your extra quality time together.