As a single woman, daughter, mother, friend, small business owner, new nonprofit executive and career minded creative heart, the delicate balance of expertly co-mingling many of the hats within a single week, if not, day can be interesting.
I wanted to highlight some of the challenges and successes I have experienced in building a life I want to live.
For as long as I can remember, I have been motivated. From a young age, I can remember the same feelings of being laser-focused on any given project. From writing to music, acting and letting my imagination chase visions and dreams, I have been in a hot pursuit of something. Then, when I was 20, during my sophomore year in college, I become a mom. A very young mom. That was my first real taste of navigating what some might perceive as balancing work and life.
After graduating from college and pursuing other avenues of education, I opened a small business and began to plug away at a life that I was trying to manage.
Notice how I chose the word “manage” and not “balance” because it is an important piece of work-life balance that often is overlooked and under sold.
In my younger years, I struggled like many women do because trying to provide for a family and feel as though you are living parts of your core person is, well, hard.
Looking on back on this part of my life, I realized, I was just surviving. Living day in and day out, trying to manage a lifestyle with little balance until I figured out, it was not the physical balance that I needed but the respect to emotional-physical balance I deserved.
Even though it has taken several years to get savvy with emotional balance, it is a huge part of my now work-life balance that is the backbone to being able to sustain having a laser-focused creative heart while being a woman, mother, daughter and friend.
Here are some tips:
1. When I give myself dedicated working hours and can set reminders to move from project or project, my day is much more organized. And as someone with a creative heart, it’s, again, a delicate balance. I am an emotional worker, and I need time to emotionally connect and disconnect from a project. Physical working time is necessary, but honoring the emotional and mental capacity is crucial to avoid burnout.
2. When careers change, so does responsibility. Whether it is a new job or transitioning out of the workforce, I am someone who wants to stay connected with my support system through transitions and scheduling lunch dates seems to be a fantastic way to meet those needs. Meaningful relationships are developed over common interests and thought sharing. Share space with people. Do it with intention wherever that might be.
3. Feeling like you need some peace? Make time for yourself. Take yourself on a date. However that looks, be intentional with it and let your brain take a break. Mental and brain health are our foundation, and we need to keep this a priority.
4. Take inventory on what you are reading and listening to. Is it healthy, edifying and life giving?
5. Ask for help when you need it. Prioritize your strengthens and sometimes, say no.
6. Carve out time for your intimate relationships (without children). Schedule those dates. Lunch dates. Dinner dates. Romantic dates. Don’t shy away from scheduling dates. It might not sound as romantic as it seems, but better to present and prepared than frazzled and emotionally distracted.
7. Revamp your skincare routine and revisit your makeup. Don’t be ashamed of investing in your professional image. As a career woman, first impressions are invaluable. Do not ever underestimate the power of a crisp outfit, happy hair, comfortable skin, a bit of Botox (shameless plug) and updated makeup. If you are not investing in yourself, who is?
8. Find people to fill your bubble. I noted how I enjoy staying connected to my support system. These are people you would identify as your family and friends who want to see you succeed. Those are your people. They exist in our core family unites, work groups, social circles, etc. Find them and love them. Learn from them.
9. Finally, share your thoughts. There is nothing I love more than a solid group of women who work together, to build a life together and a life they want to be living.
10. I salute you, beautiful women, with those dynamic hearts, who wear many hats and wear them well.
Britni Farber is a Dubuque-based makeup artist and executive director of NAMI Dubuque.