I’m pretty sure that a perfect balance between work and home life is about as real as my desire to wear an underwire bra ever again. If you’re a working mom, you know that when one aspect of your life is excelling, another aspect inevitably suffers.
I want to share with you a little trick..how to use visualization for better balance between your work life and your home life.
How is it possible to feel like we’re not neglecting one area of our lives while devoting ourselves to another? For me, it’s even more an issue of not being fully present at any given moment. I’m very frequently thinking about what ELSE I need to be doing. When I’m at work, I worry about my kids and wish I was home with them. When I’m with my kids, I think about what happened at work yesterday or what else I should be accomplishing right then.
This makes for a situation where I struggle to get anything done because my mind and body aren’t occupying the same space.
In the field of nursing, there are all kinds of techniques to “leave the day behind.” Yes, as a nurse I don’t have to “work” from home. (Unless my husband has the man flu, then it’s double-time…) But as anyone who works with the public knows, people can get under your skin. In addition, working in medicine provides plenty of opportunities to see/hear/smell things that you’d rather not remember. So instead of resorting to substances to blur memories of work related trauma, (which many in my field do), I’ve been trying visualization.
Before you tune out because this sounds silly, let me tell you how I do it.
On my drive home from work, I think of all of the things that were stressful, uncomfortable, or just plain annoying. Then I imagine putting all of those experiences into a big, ugly suitcase, closing the lid, and locking it shut.
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But that’s not quite enough, because then I imagine throwing the suitcase out the window and into the river that passes under the freeway. Don’t get me wrong, I actually do love what I do, but I’m telling you, this lets me be free from milling over issues from work when I get home. I greet my family with a clean slate and a present mind.
If I happen to forget to throw the stress of the day from a moving vehicle on my way home, I can also use the shower as a time to imagine washing the day away. (And as a nurse, I’m literally washing the day away, too!)
On the opposing end of the day, I also have a little visualization trick when I leave the house. As much as I appreciate the opportunity to get out and make money and interact with adults, I really do have a hard time leaving my kids. I love being at home with them. If that’s you, try this trick when you leave.
I imagine a big huge bubble over our house, and in it are my sweet babies, their grandma, the lunches I made for them, their PJ’s and their favorite toys, and our dinner for that night in the crockpot.
Yes, you could say our house is an actual “bubble,” but somehow this image in my mind reminds me that my kids are safe and well cared for while I’m not there. It provides a different frame of mind on my way to work, where I can spend my time focusing on the task at hand and not worry (quite as much) about my family while I’m away.
Visualization isn’t going to solve issues of time constraints, money, babysitters, etc. But it is something you can apply to your own circumstance to achieve better balance mentally. Find something that works for you. I’d love to hear what you’ve come up with!