Let’s face it, the world is a busy place and we are the bees. From, Monday to Friday many women find themselves caught up in the buzz. In fact, women account for over 45% of the work-force in Canada. From 1976, this is nearly a 30% increase. Meaning, that more women are actively working part-time or full-time jobs. According to research, Canadian women are most likely to be employed in low-wage sectors. Most commonly in, retail, hospitality & leisure, and administration. As you can imagine, these can be quite stressful jobs. Meaning that now more than ever, women are losing control of their work life balance.
What’s in a week?
In order to understand the problem, let’s look at the average weeks of two working women.
Caroline (40) Nurse
Hours – 40 per week incl. weekends (shift work)
Kids – 2 aged 5 and 11 both in school, both enjoy after-school activities twice a week
Partner – Yes
Hobbies – None
Weekly Activities – Housework, shopping, occasional coffee or wine with friends, and minding the children
Expenses – Mortgage, household bills, car, after school activities, shopping
Holidays – 1x a year
Sophie (40) Office Administrator
Hours – 40 per week (Mon-Fri) frequently works overtime around 5.5 hours per week
Kids – 0
Partner – Yes
Hobbies – Gym, yoga, shopping
Weekly activities – Fitness, shopping, going out
Expenses – Mortgage, car, household bills, gym, miscellaneous
Holidays – 2x a year (excl. public holidays)
As you can see both Sophie and Caroline are busy women. Both of the circumstances are pretty typical for most Canadian woman. In particular, for Caroline who mainly does shift-work which has been linked to lack of sleep and other health problems. On top of her work, Caroline also has two children both of whom are still dependent on her. This means that Caroline has even less time to focus on herself. Even with help from her partner, it is likely she has less than 3 hours a week to partake in other activities. Without being an expert, one can guess that Caroline’s life-work balance is out of sync.
Looking at Sophie, it is also fair to say her work-life balance isn’t perfect. This is down to the fact that like many office workers, Sophie often works overtime. However, for office workers ‘overtime’ is not quite the same as with Caroline (nurse). For Caroline, any overtime is monitored and reimbursed accordingly. This is called ‘visible overtime’. Unfortunately, for many office workers most overtime is classed as ‘invisible overtime’. Meaning, that it cannot be seen and therefore recognised as well. For Sophie, this means extra work, with no extra pay or rewards. Leading to a reduction in the amount of time, she can spend on her herself, hobbies, and with her partner.
How to maintain a good work/life balance?
1. Use Your Holidays
Now, this may seem obvious but there are many people who do not use their holidays. Holidays/days-off are designed to give workers a break. Sadly, many people in Canada and the world choose to forgo these days. Failure to take time off can lead to stress, work-addiction, and even anxiety. Whereas taking holidays can lead to a reduction in stress and other issues. How you choose to spend your days off is up to you. The important thing is you give yourself time to rest and relax.
2. Find new entertainment
Bored of Pilates, cooking classes, and book clubs? Why not find yourself a new form of entertainment? One form of entertainment picking up in Canada is live casino gaming. There’s a few reasons for this. Firstly, it’s fun, what’s better than getting a small adrenalin rush mid-week? Live casino gaming takes the best of Las Vegas casinos and puts them online. Meaning, there’s no need to get glammed up if you don’t want to. Secondly, it’s sociable. Live Casino gaming allows players to chat and interact with the dealer and other players.
3. Go out during the week
Going out during the week has almost become a taboo. Which is pretty funny, because Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday are juts days. Besides having work there is nothing special about them. Also it gives meaning to the phrase ‘living for the weekend’. This way of thinking is usually linked to excessive consumption of alcohol. Instead of saving yourself for Friday and Saturday, why not go out during the week? Not only is it good to blow off some steam it can also help you meet new people.
4. Indulge yourself
After a long day or week at work, there is nothing better than a little indulgence. Despite negative opinions taking personal time is not ‘selfish or vain’. Harbouring or fostering these opinions only reinforces personal stress. There are plenty of ways to indulge yourself with simple beauty treatments or Netflix nights. For some people it might even be starting that book you’ve been longing to read. However, you chose to indulge, it is important that you chose to indulge yourself.
5. Go offline once in a while
For most of us going offline is pretty unthinkable. From work to socialising many of us live through and on our cell phones. This can make switching off pretty difficult and for some people quite scary. However, in order to really relax post-work, it is important to cut down on ‘screen-time’. This means being a little more creative with entertainment. Going out, gym, and reading are all good ways to unplug and put down the cell phones.