I’m wondering if constantly striving for balance is causing us more harm than good. We hear it all the time – ‘work-life balance’ like our life is a pair of scales that we are constantly monitoring and moving weights from one side to the other. Perhaps it does feel like that sometimes, but in this article, I am urging you to find some different language which helps you to think about the various elements of your life and how you use your energy day by day/week by week.
Introducing the Wellbeing Wheel – the tool which acknowledges that our lives are much richer and more complex than just ‘work and life’ – The ‘life’ bit for me is HUGE, comprised of my mental and physical health, my marriage, motherhood, friendships, financial health, hobbies etc. Career is one aspect of many important aspects and when I took it off the pedestal it had firmly been on for so long, it was liberating for me. I felt like I could breathe. Here’s hoping it helps you too! Here you can download a template of the Wellbeing Wheel.
This tool is designed to break down how we live into what feels most important to us – so you can personalise this using language that is meaningful to you. Feel free to add more life areas or even take some away if it feels like too many.
Once you have your wellbeing wheel, you can use this in a number of ways:
- Check in with where you’re at right now – look at each segment and decide how content/happy/pleased you are – put a mark as to how much of the segment is full.
- Use it at the start of each week – think about what’s coming up and where you will be spending your energy. It’s very likely that some segments won’t be focused on (because we’re human and only have so much time/energy) so this allows us to think about how we might put some energy into these segments at a different time.
- Just look at it every now and then and remind yourself that your life is full, rich and complex, and that no one area is bigger than any other – you might just need to put more energy into one for a period of time and that’s ok.
- Use it as a starting point in a coaching relationship. A coach can work with you to explore what’s important to you and how you use your energy in different parts of your life.
*Please note this exercise is not about striving to have all of the wheels completely full – it’s about acknowledging that we do not have unlimited time and energy and therefore some areas will take a back seat at times. It allows us to see what’s important to us and perhaps how to make some changes if we want to.
Anna Mathur, psychotherapist and mum, explains that “Every day that we wake up, we are new. We have a different set of resources. We might not have had enough sleep, or maybe we argued with a loved one. We might be tired, hungry or hormonal. To expect yourself to function at the same speed, to the same standard, with the same energy every day is detrimental to your life balance.”
This article was written by Deanne Logan, a maternity and wellbeing coach, advocate for mental health, and L&D consultant. You can get in touch with Deanne at www.careeringintomotherhood.com.
May 1, 2023