Maintaining that Work-Life Balance

At any given time I have a lot going on. Work, school, friends, family – and it takes it’s toll. It’s hard to tell you a weekend when we have no plans. One weekend I had evening plans without James on both Friday and Saturday. Add in my evening classes and my husband’s fairly regular late evenings at work + trainings that are days to weeks longs, and well, we rarely see each other, or so it feels like.

Maintaining work life balance | More than a military spouse
On a recent easy hiking trip. Photo courtesy Jessica Hall

So what’s a girl to do? I want to be able to do all of these things, but I must have time for my husband, and me. As a friend told me the other day “self-care is really important.” So I try to set times that are off-limits. This is easier said then done but here are my attempts:

1. No work after 6 pm or on weekends. This excludes homework, especially during finals, but when it comes to paid work, daytime hours only. If it is a busy week and I really need to get something done I will break this rule. And I have had work events on weekends, especially when I was a reporter, but even now it happens every few months, and there is no avoiding that. But when I can, work is done during work hours on weekdays, that means ignoring emails. Sometimes I read them, sure, I do have a smart phone and I can be OCD about clearing my notifications, but no replies unless it’s an emergency. Most things can wait until the morning or Monday.

2. Setting aside a night for just us. This could be going to a movie or just out to dinner. Sometimes we watch a movie on Netflix and also instigate a no-cell phone or laptop rule. This ensures that we are not only paying attention to the movie or show but also that we can snuggle or have a real conversation about what we’re watching afterwards, and just in general spending time with each other and not our favorite Facebook pages.

3. Taking impromptu trips. I will admit that this is a new one for us. We recently took an impromptu weekend vacation to the Olympic Peninsula (blog post coming soon – I promise). It was 100% needed. It was shortly after James’ week in the field and we had been stressed with work. We didn’t really plan it – it was impromptu and we had a blast. It was just what we needed – a few days away from it all. And we both came back refreshed and ready to work again.

4. Have friend time. Yes spending time with James is super important but nothing beats girl time. And guy time for him. We both need that time apart to refresh, vent, etc. He likes really rigorous hikes, me not so much, but with his friends it’s way more relaxing. For me I need some good wine and food night with the girls or mani/pedi. It’s great to keep those relationships going too.

5. Listen to yourself/your body. Sometimes my body is oh so tired. And I need to not do anything. Don’t push yourself. Don’t say yes to everything. It’s hard and I’ve talked about saying no before but it’s really necessary when you are living a balancing act. If you’re getting sick – take some Emergen-C or Airborne but also sleep. Do what you need to do for you to feel sane or be healthy. One of my friends works out regularly to relieve her stress, and stay in shape, but it’s what’s right for her. For me it’s probably watching Project Runway. And sleep. Or read.

It’s easy to get caught up in doing everything. Be it military stuff, work, friends, etc. Life can be crazy busy, and I am the first to admit that I have a hard time to saying no to everything happening in life. But these 5 things have helped me stay a bit more sane over these last few crazy months.

What do you to relax and keep sane? Any tips for maintaining your work-life balance? 

P.S. I am going on vacation after a crazy summer of work and school and life so if I’m a bit more quiet that’s why! I will try to schedule some posts to go out over vacation but no promises – I’ve got a final to write and work to get done before unplugging for vacation. As usual, if there is anything you’re curious about when it comes to military life, Washington, food, etc. let me know.

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