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The relationship between your work and personal life is critical to your well-being. This is often referred to as “work/life balance” or “work/life integration.” These two terms essentially mean the same thing. They define how to balance a life that includes time for work, family, self-care, the unexpected, joy, play, and all of the things that make life worth living.

Reflecting on how to effectively balance all these competing priorities can be overwhelming. There are too many priorities and not enough time. Sound familiar? Creating a visual diagram may help you determine how well the different aspects of your life are integrated. Imagine you are the center and there are numerous forces competing for your time, attention, and energy.

  1. What would those main competing forces be? Label each circle with one of these competing forces
  2. How much time and energy do those aspects of your life take from you, and how satisfying are they?
  3. What would balance or integration among these forces look like?
  4. What can you do to make changes?
  5. Which areas give you the most joy? Which areas contribute to good health? How might they contribute even more?

Work-Life Integration: Tips and Resources by J. Adam Rindfleisch

Once you have your visual diagram completed, you can work on sorting out any tension between all these various priorities in your life.

  • Examine your expectations and/or the expectations others have for you (boss, colleagues, family, friends, community leaders, etc.). Are these reasonable for you? Do they fit with your needs at this time?
  • Identify your priorities, then determine what you can reasonably achieve during the period of time you have. A few things to consider might be: Are there any boundaries that need to be set? What areas of your life are non-negotiable?
  • If guilt, perfectionism, or any other feelings come up, take the time to validate what you are experiencing and feeling. Remind yourself that you are striving to achieve a full and well-balanced life.
  • Practice self-compassion and patience. Finding our balance is a continual process.

Dolly Parton summarizes this, saying, “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”

Alison Curtis, MS, LPC provides individual, couple, and family therapy in our Sterling, VA office and virtually to those located in the State of Virginia. Call or email today to set up your first appointment or a complimentary consultation with Alison!