I stumbled over the toys strewn across the living room floor before sneaking into my daughter’s dark room to kiss her goodnight. I had looked forward to this night “off” all week, but now that it was over, I found myself coveting missed bedtime cuddles.
I crept back out to the living room and collapsed on the couch next to a pile of wrinkling laundry. While I relished the challenge of my evening graduate classes, I was exhausted. The house was a wreck, and our family was surviving on takeout and Amazon Prime. I couldn’t keep up with the demands of my many roles — teacher, student, wife, mother — and none of them was a responsibility I could sideline. I was tired of giving less than my full effort in every facet of my life. “I can’t do this anymore,” I thought. “There has to be another way.”
There was a better way. Over the course of the next year, I sought to shift my perspective by reprioritizing my life. None of the externals changed. Instead, I changed the way I approached them. It wasn’t about doing more; adding to the “to do” list would only have exacerbated my feelings of anxiety and insufficiency. Instead, I learned to draw on the richness of my formation in Catholic spirituality to imbue my tasks with deeper meaning. The juggling of these many roles, once so overwhelmingly burdensome to me, became my path to peace and joy.
Do you find yourself facing a similar struggle to find work/life balance? Are you always playing catch up? Do you thrive on the challenges of a demanding career but wish the grueling pace didn’t leave you so drained? Do you daydream about living a simpler life at a slower pace? Here are five practices to cultivate balance in the midst of a demanding season of life.
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