Let’s be honest: life can get stressful. Attempting to balance your career, getting ahead at work, your living situation, finances, a significant other (or lack thereof), family, and squeezing in a social life can be overwhelming at best, or impossible at worst.

Yet we all know that person who manages to walk into work seemingly on cloud nine with an after-workout glow to die for, hair freshly done, a to-do list completed and halfway executed, and dinner plans with their friends to discuss an upcoming trip to Bermuda in December. Your boss walks by to congratulate them on their latest project. You overhear them discussing people you only see in society magazines on a first name basis because they  just attended an incredible event that you either weren’t invited to or completely missed while you were binge watching Portlandia.

“How do they do it?” you ask to yourself as you stare at that app that’s supposed to remind you to care about things like fitness, calling your parents, or keeping track with job assignments. Your eyes glaze over as you stare at the pile of work you wish could complete itself…

While I’m certainly no expert on work-life balance, here are some great tips I’ve gleaned from a bit of research from websites like My Morning Routine, the EALS team, and the totally-has-their-shit-together person I discussed earlier first-hand:

  1. Start Your Morning with Intent and Serenity – Almost every great person you can research starts their morning off with meditation, prayer, or quiet reflection. While it’s tempting to turn off the alarm on your phone and instantly start scrolling through Facebook and CNN, take a moment to just breathe in silence and the new day. Recently, I’ve been waking up right at sunrise and I remind myself to simply say “thank you.”
  2. Set real goals for the day – Those to-do list are actually helpful if you make them right. Start first with the thing you dreaded doing yesterday and don’t even want to begin today. Follow that by picking the thing that if it didn’t get done today, you would be disappointed in yourself or would hold something up in the process. Make sure that both of those things get done by 11am or by lunch at the latest.  Also add a low hanging fruit to the mix. One EALS member’s brother adds “brush teeth” to his daily to-do list so he starts off feeling accomplished even though it’s a given that brushing his teeth will happen (we hope). 
  3. Make room for quality time with loved ones daily – Everyday, make sure you have at least one real, genuine conversation with someone you love. It will help keep you grounded and give you a much-needed break mid-day or after work. Just hearing that person’s voice can have an extremely calming effect. I often call my father after work and purposely walk to the next Metro stop so we can talk a little longer. It keeps me healthy (and a few daughter brownie points never hurt a soul).
  4. Create the vision of your future – Attempting to get to somewhere when you have zero idea of the destination or even an idea of where you would like to go will be the most futile effort of your life. Sometimes when we get bogged down with the dailyness of life, we forget why we’re doing what we’re doing in the first place. Take time out weekly to analyze your life goals and see how much progress you’ve made towards them. This will help you stay balanced and feel accomplished even when you have minor setbacks.
  5. Remember work is not your life (even if it is) –  While I will refrain from going too Deepak Chopra on you all, we are clearly here to fulfill some life work and mission on this Earth, and hopefully your current work is a reflection of that (if it’s not, we’ll be writing a blog about how to get out of it shortly). No matter how dedicated you are to your job, that’s not all there is to life. You’re also here to live life to the fullest extent, laugh with friends, call your grandmother, fall in love, and marvel at the stars. We are all only here to share this one moment together in an infinity of moments, so let’s make this one count.

If you need some help unwinding, networking, or just want something to do after work, be sure to get your ticket to DC + ART this Friday!

Zenia Simpson