Have you ever tried to be a road warrior and maintain mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health at home? Typically, it’s challenging because you usually give all you have at the client site and rarely have anything left to give once you arrive home. So, what can be done to maintain a healthy ‘you’ while meeting the needs of family/friends, your firm and the client? Many people try to get their ‘me’ time in on the weekends while at home, but there is only so much you can do with 48 hours (for some 72). Saturdays seem to fly by and Sunday greets you with the bittersweet awareness that you wanted to sleep in, however, you forgot to pack last night. Hopefully these tips will support help you to achieve some resemblance of consulting/life balance.
Take a look at some helpful suggestions below:
- Bring home with you on the road! For as much as we live in an age of technology, we sometimes forget to actually ‘use’ the technology in our hands to stay connected with family and friends. A scheduled 10 to 15 minute video call can do wonders for you and those who love you. It will keep you up-to-date with what is going on in their lives and maintains that much needed connection. This can greatly support your emotional and mental health. If you have a spiritual practice, you don’t have to wait for the week to end. Practice what makes sense during your work week, whether that’s reading, meditation, music, etc.
Speaking of bringing home with you, if you are an avid reader, bring your book(s). Do you knit, crochet, etc.? Bring it with you! Play a lot of online games? Many games can be played using your smart phone or other electronic device (not your work laptop please!). Bring whatever makes the most sense with you on the road. You can decompress while on the road – you do not have to wait until you get home.
- Don’t lose sight of the things you enjoy. While on the road, make sure you don’t leave your passion and fun behind you (at home)! Many areas have similar activities you would engage in at home, right in their own backyard. I’ve experienced some pretty enjoyable painting, fitness, bowling, spa, and other fun activities while traveling. Working out (not in the hotel) has kept me focused and motivated on many assignments!
- Interested in volunteering? There are many local and not too distant programs and charity locations in most towns or cities. Working long hours at the client site can sometimes be inevitable, but scheduling time for fun, relaxation, or volunteering can help in decreasing your stress level, sense of isolation, and lack of fulfillment.
- Get chores done before the weekend. Don’t be hesitant to find a local dry cleaner, nail spa, hair salon or other self-care establishment in the town or city of your client. This can decrease the amount of time you (or your family members) have to spend on those weekend errands. You’ll have more time to do those really precious things you can’t do on the road, including absolutely nothing!
Consultant/life balance is achievable, but it requires flexibility, openness and a few moments to decide where you want to engage in your other activities. You’ll be ready to live more and give more to yourself and those around you once at home, all while meeting or exceeding the expectations of your client and firm. Everyone wins with work and life balance!
Melissa L Roberts, Culbert Consultant and Life Coach