Busy women share their stories of juggling work and life- and what helps them navigate the chaos.
"I went back to work when my kids were six months old and two. I was commuting for an hour and 20 minutes, five days a week. It was all work and all family, and I wasn't looking after myself. From that experience, I realised how important it is to take care of myself; by prioritising yoga, hitting the gym or just going for a 15-minute walk, I operate at my best at home and at work." Parvinder Gill is corporate marketing manager for LG Australia.
"Returning to work after mat leave, I wasn't in a good headspace- I hated that rush home from work: 'What am I going to cook the toddler for dinner? He won't eat it anyway. The house will be a mess. I'm exhausted.' I realised my own narrative about my life was negative: I'm too busy, this is too hard, I'm too tired.' So I changed that narrative. I stopped using the words 'busy' and 'tired' when responding to 'how are you?' I started writing three things I was grateful for at the end of each day (cheesy, but it works). Now I'm actually thrilled with my completely jam-packed life- that's exactly how I like it." Alice Ellis is deputy editor of Women's Health and mum to a six-year-old.
"Before starting my clinic, I had no idea how much work was involved in running a business. I was completely overwhelmed, and had a constant feeling of panic. Something had to change- I started to say 'no'. When life gets chaotic, commit to your anchors: the non-negotiable activities that help you cope when life is unbalanced. For me, it's about book-ending my day with exercise and sleep." Teresa Boyce is a Sydney nutritionist (thehealthwhisperer.com.au).
"On a typical Tuesday afternoon, I was trying to participate in an important phone conference, take notes and get my daughter fed, dressed and dropped off to dancing. Not to mention get dinner in the oven. What a disaster. In that moment, I realised work-life balance isn't totally possible. My advice? Ask for help. When I do, I've found the pressure is instantly released. My husband and I use a diary app on our phones- it helps us work out where the gaps are while one of us is travelling or working." Jess Yates is a Fox Sports presenter and hosts shows including Inside Supercars.
"Every night I have a running list that I add to with what needs to be done the next day, week, month. While my kids are at school and I'm distraction-free, I go through the list and focus on my work. Once I'm with the kids, they- not my phone- have my attention until bedtime." Jayta Szpitalak is a psychologist, health coach and founder of health food brand Fermentanicals.
"I've always been open to new opportunities, but I've also learnt the importance of saying 'no', which has helped me achieve more balance. I also love setting goals throughout the year to help give me clear direction. I'm a very visual person and still like to plan my week in a hard-copy diary." Saasha Burns is creative director of BEAR and its range of Essential Daily Vitamins.