6 Real-Life Women Share Their Top Tips For Achieving Work Life Balance

by | Jan 4, 2018

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. 

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Women Fleeing Domestic Violence Can Now Receive A One-Off Support Payment

It’s been labelled the shadow pandemic and the fact remains that for many women across Australia, domestic violence is a lived reality that doesn’t discriminate by age, occupation, or socio-economic status. Researchers have found that during Covid-19 lockdowns, there was a surge in family and domestic violence, with agencies experiencing a surge in demand as nearly half their clients reported an increase in controlling behaviours. 

As many who have lived through such turmoil and trauma can attest, the roadmap to fleeing such situations at home can be fraught with challenges and extremely difficult to navigate, particularly when such bureaucracy makes it even harder. Now, it’s been announced that women fleeing a violent relationship will be given a one-off $5,000 payment as part of a federal government trial scheme. 

Known as the “escaping violence payment scheme,” the government has set aside $144.5 million over the next two years to give women $1,500 cash, with the remainder to pay for goods and services, bond, school fees and other necessaries to establish a new safe home. UnitingCare Network will be tasked with delivering the payments while helping link women and their children with relevant community services. 

As the Daily Telegraph reports, “An analysis of domestic violence data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that while it is more common for women from poorer areas, women from high socio-economic areas are not immune from experiencing partner violence.”

As Women’s Safety Minister Anne Ruston explained, the trial has been introduced with the aim to help women overcome the financial barriers that might deter them from leaving a violent relationship. “We know that financial hardship as well as economic abuse - which may involve interfering with work or controlling or withholding money - reduces women’s ability to acquire and use money and makes it difficult to leave violent relationships,” she said. 

“The payments will assist people who need financial support to leave. We know the size of the house a woman is fleeing doesn’t matter. Often she bundles the kids into the car, maybe the dog too and they leave with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.”

To be eligible for a payment, women must be facing financial stress and have some evidence of domestic violence such as a referral from a family and domestic violence service provider with a risk assessment and safety plan, or an AVO, court order or police report. As UnitingCare Australia National Director Claerwen Little said, “We believe that all people, especially women and their children, have the right to live freely and without fear, and this payment is an important step forward to ending violence against women and children.”

If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.

If you’d like to speak to someone about domestic violence, please call the 1800 

Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online. 

Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.