“I don’t have a life!” This was from a client earlier this summer and not an uncommon theme with the women I work with, but it wasn’t just a declaration; it was an enormous struggle for her.
This was affecting her spiritually, and she had no connection to anything internally or externally to guide her. It was affecting her mentally as her entire identity was wrapped up in work, and because she was struggling there, it was affecting her everywhere. Finally, it affected her emotionally because the struggle in her mind was never-ending, and she couldn’t see her way out of it.
Not all women struggle to this degree with work taking over and feeling out of control with their lives, but it’s a prevalent theme.
- It may show up as routinely allowing calls and emails to creep in after dinner, or “I just have to get a couple more things done so I’m ready for the morning,” and that happens every night.
- You may notice that you have no hobbies to speak of or friends that you enjoy sharing these hobbies with.
- It may just be the feeling that a job has stolen the joy, and you miss having fun or genuinely enjoying your life inside and outside of work.
When you allow your job to define you and take over your life, the price can be steep to pay because it can affect you physically too. Your world can become narrow; always thinking about your job and its challenges create more stress. Relationships can strain, sleep can suffer, and if you have children, guilt can become overwhelming. And that’s just the surface of it. In addition, living this way long-term can expose you to serious health issues like depression, heart disease, constant anxiety, and more.
So as a working woman with responsibilities inside and outside the home, what can you do? Plenty is the answer, and here’s where I’d like you to start.
3 Tips for Having a Life Outside of Work
1. Figure out what specifically changed.
If the answer is, “I just work too much,” keep digging. List out everything that has changed that you can think of. Is it that you now “leave work” at six instead of 5:30? Maybe it’s committing to early morning meetings because it’s more convenient for everyone else, so you’ve got no time to exercise, pack a healthy lunch, or have some quiet time. List out all of the things that are derailing you from having a wife outside of work. Get it all out, quantity over quality! Because only until you become aware of it can you do anything about it.
2. Ask yourself, “What do you want instead?”
You may not know, and that’s ok, but let’s start finding out. So many women in business who find themselves in this place struggle with knowing what they want. They know they are unhappy or feeling stuck and frustrated, but they don’t know what anything else looks like. They are so mired in what has become a funk that they don’t know how to get out of it.
To get yourself pointed in the right direction, let’s do an exercise. Grab a piece of paper and put the six areas of life, Career, Family, Spirituality, Relationships, Health & Fitness, and Personal Development, in a column on a piece of paper, one under the other. Now, prioritize them 1 through 6 according to the most important area of life down to 6, which is the least important area of life at this time. What comes out on top? What are the two highest priorities? That’s where you start. How would you like these areas of life to look like, ideally? If the world was your oyster and you could make an ask of The Universe for anything you want, how would you like these top two areas of life to be? That’s where your answers are. Keep exploring this to get more Clarity on what you really want.
3. Find your joy.
There is a story about a woman carrying so many burdens, and she goes to a wise old woman for guidance. She sits at the feet of the old woman and pours her heart out, telling the woman her worries about the world, the struggle with her son and his choices, and the pressure she feels in life. And, the old woman responds, “And, what brings you joy?”
This sounds simplistic, but it’s not. I’ve repeatedly seen clients that they walk away from or put the things that give them joy on the back burner. When this happens, we say we don’t matter, that we don’t deserve joy, that other people or things are more important than us. Oh my!
Something as simple as incorporating music you enjoy as you walk or drive instead of the audiobook you feel you “have to” listen to to get ahead at work.
It could be carving out 10 or 15 minutes to take a walk in the woods and just BE with nature.
Maybe you take an hour on the weekend to paint because you haven’t done it in so long—just one hour out of 168 total hours in the week to do something that lights you up.
Don’t you deserve that? I’d love for you to share what brings you joy and comment below. Help another woman get ideas of what she can add back, and start building her life outside of work again.
Ready to claim more success with less sacrifice?
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In case you’ve forgotten, you’re amazing! So here’s wishing you the Clarity you deserve and the life outside of work you desire!