Today, we are looking at the topic of balance and employment. Work-life balance and staying sane in graduate school are topics that I write about frequently here at PhD Talk, so I was glad when Ashley Jones pitched me for a guest post on combining work and life. While this post is tailored to women, I think the ideas in here are valid for all of us – regardless of our gender
As women move through their live, the approach to finding a balance between work and life is becoming an important issue in contemporary life. Women are rightfully taking on many of the most demanding occupations that society can offer and as a result are increasingly responsible for a majority of the most difficult jobs in the country.
Among this subset of skilled workers, women with doctoral degrees are particularly accustomed to work schedules that leave little time for personal space and reflection. Accordingly, it may be of benefit to list just some of the ways that successful women are striking balances between their careers and their personal lives.
Long an activity that stood at the forefront of Eastern philosophies, meditation is now recognized by many health professionals as an engaging way to promote self-care. By reducing rumination and other forms of anxious thinking, meditation is a particularly apt way for successful women to direct the watercraft of their days into calmer waters. Numerous practitioners of meditation find that the activity becomes an anchor of calm in their busy lives and leads to a greater sense of focus and overall health. Whether done by oneself or with the help of experts, meditation is only likely to gain more followers in the future.
2. Creative Work
Even when free-time can seem limited, finding a few minutes a day to do creative work can be a major way to promote a work-life balance. For example, writing fiction or personal essays can provide an outlet for experience that can feel immensely rewarding; even finding an hour a day to write can bring numerous benefits. Other forms of creative work such as painting and sculpture can also provide relief from the stresses of work and create a sense of happiness and satisfaction both on and off the job.
3. Life-long Learning
Learning about new ideas in life doesn’t have to stop once a doctoral thesis is finished. Finding area colleges that offer evening or weekend classes are great ways to keep the mind sharp and skills current. By choosing a subject that’s unfamiliar but interesting, successful women can often find that while knowledge is always changing, learning is a life-long process. As a means for socializing, taking classes can also introduce non-traditional students to new friends and even mentors. For many people, a love of learning can become a daily practice even after they’re experts in a field.
4. Love of Travel
Sometimes learning to take time for oneself is among the most important lessons anyone can gain in life. For example, taking a period of time to examine another country will often teach a person more about different cultures than anything else, and travel can often act as a sort of deep breath from our careers. As a field of interest, travel has become one of the most popular ways to understand ourselves and others, and its proponents often wouldn’t trade the experiences they’ve gained in foreign countries for the world.
Ashley Jones is the author of many articles with resources for professional women. Her recent work is on the Best Online Master of Science in Education (MSEd) Degree Programs for women who want to work while learning