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There's a common misconception that you can excel at work or at family life – not both. We tend to think of those people who seem to have it all together as some rare breed of a magical unicorn.

We can’t possibly hold ourselves to those standards, can we?

It’s an interesting question because it holds both the problem and solution: Standards.

Things like standards and expectations are exactly the types of things that will steal your happiness. And without happiness, you cannot succeed in anything.

In order to balance your work and family responsibilities, you’ll need to shift your mindset and put your own happiness first. It seems completely counterintuitive, but with a little practice, you’ll see why it works.

two people balancing on train tracks

Practice these 8 self-care tips to help achieve a better work-life balance.

1. Acknowledge and avoid comparisons

Sometimes, we don’t even realize we’re comparing our lives to the lives of other people. We do it subconsciously, and then we feel bad and aren’t sure why.

But it’s important to remember that we rarely see anyone’s behind-the-scenes struggles. Someone may be putting themselves into serious debt to travel the world and get Insta-worthy photos. Or they may have everything you want, but they’re comparing themselves to someone else who has more.

You will never win when you compare yourself to others.

Even if you're at a low point in your life, it's important to appreciate where you are. There's probably someone out there who would be happy to have your problems instead of theirs. If you can learn to appreciate life's imperfect nature, you can always find happiness in work and in life.

2. Reinvent your morning routine

If your morning routine is a struggle, it’s time to reinvent it. This is a crucial time where we set our intentions for the day, whether you like it or not.

Start your day in a frenzy, and things are likely to remain that way. Begin with a calm mind, and you'll find it easier to tackle the day's challenges.

Try waking up early to do something that’s good for your body, mind or soul.

This may include eating or drinking something nutritious, meditating or exercising. Or maybe you think about how you want your day to go and put your intentions on paper.

man sitting in meditation pose in work clothes

3. Carve out time for rest

When you’re trying to achieve goals at work and at home, it’s easy to spread yourself too thin. Try to set some time to relax. This does not mean vegging out in front of the television. Instead, try taking a warm bath or reading a book. Maybe it’s only a 10- or 20-minute break every day, but make sure you get one.

4. Practice mindfulness daily

Mindfulness is a simple concept that’s difficult to master. If you can carve out some time in the morning or evening to meditate, that’s perfect. You can learn how to meditate with short 5-minute sessions. If possible, work your way up until you reach 30 minutes.

On days when you can’t manage meditation, don’t stress it. You can practice mindfulness anywhere. Try to spend more time focusing and being present in the moment.

5. Find your support system

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to have a good support system. This may be one great friend or many. Just be sure that you have someone to vent to when things get difficult. If you don’t currently have someone like this in your life, consider professional counseling. We all need someone to turn to.

6. Set realistic goals

If you want to get things done, goals are important. But it’s equally important to be realistic. When you set realistic goals, you are more likely to achieve them, and this will help improve your sense of accomplishment. Try not to be a superhero in any area of your life. Be real about your time management and what is possible.

paper on beach

7. Set firm boundaries

If you’re a people-pleaser, this tip is important. In order to maintain a healthy work-life balance, you must learn when to say no. Most people have trouble saying no to work requests, but this comes at the expense of family time. Seriously consider what you’ll gain versus what you’ll lose by staying late or working overtime.

8. Redefine success

For some people, success is driving a Mercedes Benz. And while that’s great for them, it’s not for everyone. If you have to work so hard to get that Mercedes that you aren’t around to watch your kids grow up, is that really a success? Think about what success means to you, and don’t waste valuable head space yearning for anything else.

When you take care of yourself, set clear goals and redefine success, you may realize that you’re already more successful than you thought.


rachelAbout Rachel O’Conner 
Rachel is a freelance content writer located in San Diego, California. Over the course of her career, she has written a variety of health, parenting, and fitness articles. In her free time, she enjoys running along the beach with her two puppies and practicing yoga.