If you missed my guest blog over on Teach Speech two weeks ago, here is my post!
I haven’t blogged in a really long time. Not because I don’t want to, but because the truth is… time just gets away from me. My life has become much busier over the past few months, while it is all for the better, some days it is just hard to “do it all.”
So, while I was trying to decide what to blog about, I decided that the most obvious choice was staring me in the face.
One of the hardest things that we face as busy SLPs is trying to find the balance between our work lives and our personal lives. I know I struggle with this.
I have worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist for 11 years. When I first started, I used to bring work home with me–from IEPs to evaluations to progress reports to lesson plans. It just seemed like there were never enough hours in the day to get it all done. As I got older (and maybe a little wiser), I realized that I didn’t want to take work home with me. In addition, it was hard to take work home from my “real job” (note: school district), when I went straight to seeing private clients for 3-4 hours each night.
About four years ago, I became very stressed at work. I was put in some precarious positions, I felt undervalued, and overworked. I wasn’t spending enough time with my husband, bringing work home without actually doing it, and my overall well-being was taking a toll.
I decided I needed a change. I approached my boss about making changes for the following year. My schedule changed, I started doing some things I loved (namely diagnostics), I stopped bringing work home, and started spending more time with my husband and family.
Sounds easy, right?
Well, yes and no. I came to the realization that I needed a balance. That if I worked a million hours a week and made lots of money, that was great. But, if I was unhappy doing it, then it wasn’t worth a single cent. So, I started off by telling myself–no bringing work home. Even if I felt like I needed to, it didn’t matter. Work would get done, but not on “my” time. It just made me work harder and smarter during the day, so I could manage my time after.
Four years later, I’m still learning how to balance. I still do not take work home. This is the first year, I’ve cut back on some of my private clients. I take time for myself to do the things I love.
I make sure we schedule several vacations throughout the year. We used to only take one as soon as school was out for the summer. But, that also led to burn out.
So, here’s a few tips for finding your work/life balance:
- Leave work at work
- Make time for yourself- mani/pedi, massages, gym time, reading a good book
- Make time for your family- husbands/wives, children, parents
- Take more vacations or staycations- make it work for your budget (but, DO IT–trust me!)
- Sleep more
- Stress less