I know the problem isn’t that you’re not trying hard enough! In addition to the pandemic, the problem is a work-first culture that causes work-life conflict. A culture that necessitates trade-offs — either/or instead of yes, and.
Two popular myths — the ideal worker and the perfect parent — cause a lot of stress and guilt. Pre-pandemic, the ideal worker was the first to arrive, last to leave, and available on vacation. Now, you can add email or Slack responsiveness and time spent online to the definition.
You’re not alone if you feel like you’re falling short. If you feel you’re not doing enough or being enough.
Release Stress & Guilt
Maybe it would help to pause for a moment to try a few simple ways to release the stress and guilt. How would your work feel different if it fit into life and not the other way around? If you could work and spend quality time with your family — guilt-free?
Let’s start with a mindset shift. Guilt can be useful by helping you set your priorities and realign your actions. “Guilt gets a bad rap,” says Brené Brown in Rising Strong, because the emotional discomfort it causes can be a powerful motivator for change. How could your guilt motivate some change for you?
Next, consider experimenting with one or more of these simple ways to release guilt:
- Remember done is better than perfect.
- Develop a mantra focused on process. (I’m doing the best that I can. This too shall pass.)
- Breathe (inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7, and exhale for 8. Repeat twice.)
- You do YOU (not what others post on social media).
- Set boundaries and minimize distractions so that you can focus on the task at hand (whether it’s work or family).
- Laugh. A lot.
- Don’t over-commit. You’re only one person.
- Set yourself up for success by clearly managing others’ expectations (and your own).
- Take the long view (will this matter in 5 minutes? A month? A year?).
- Express gratitude for something in your crazy, busy life with all its imperfections.
Bonus: Take the quiz What Is Your Work-Life Power Level? and get must-have skills to increase your power at work + home.