Millennial Perspective: Walking the Tightrope of Life
Do you ever feel like you are teetering too close to one side when trying to balance your life? For many millennials, this may include work, family, social life, and school. It can be a lot to handle sometimes. So, what can we do to help ourselves get balanced? Well, there are a lot of things to consider and to try. The process of finding balance may include a lot of trial and error. However, when you find the right match, it will have been worth it.
Planning the activities in your life may be the most common way to balance life. When it is all on paper, or on a virtual calendar, you can see the balance more clearly. Let’s say you have to work from 8 am – 5 pm every Monday through Friday. Pencil that in your calendar, long term. Now you can work around it and add family time, social time, or school, whatever is relevant to you. Remember, just because you have empty spaces around that set block, does not mean it has to be filled with something. Prioritize your time in a way that allows you to get through your to-do list and makes you happy and comfortable. Be sure to leave yourself some down time too because we all need to take a breather occasionally. Don’t forget that life has a tendency to take an unexpected turn. In this case, you may need to move things around, but this way you can look at your calendar and make time for everything in advance with a little less stress.
Boundaries can also be helpful when trying to balance life. It can be rather difficult for some people to “unplug” these days, especially with the growing number of work-from-home jobs. When you are working at home it feels strange to take a day off or even just clock out at closing time. Some people even have this struggle in a traditional office setting. This is where your boundaries come into play. You must draw that line of when you stop working and pick up the next part of the day, which for many is family time. This can also be flipped. Many people may run into their family life interfering with your work life. For example, when I was a little girl, I would walk home from school, and I would often call my mom as soon as I walked in the door. I would tell her that I made it home okay, but being the chatty person I am, I would usually carry on a conversation for several minutes. This is where I crossed the boundary into my mom’s work life and brought her family time to her job. My mom is a very kind woman and, of course, never told me to stop calling. However, as an adult that now works full time, I understand how that could have been frustrating at times.
It is okay to tell people “No” sometimes. You cannot make everyone happy. Learning to say no gives you the power to manage your life in a way that works best for you. If you are planning to work on schoolwork, but your friends asked you to go out for the night, say no. You can meet up with them at a time that is better for you. If you are in the middle of something and a co-worker asks you a small favor, say no. Even if feels uncomfortable to say at times, it is okay. Once you give “no” a chance, it will feel more natural over time, and it can be key for reducing stress and balancing life. It also means that when you say “yes,” it will hold more power!
Remember that there will always be something to do as long as life goes on. So, next time you feel yourself getting off-balance, try some of these methods. We, fortunately, get to dictate our own lives, so why not make it a little easier on ourselves? No matter what strategy works for you, finding that balance can lead to less stress and a better quality of life.