Restore Mental Well-Being Work-Life Balance
Returning to work after breast cancer treatment and trying to balance all of your responsibilities along with recovery can seem like a daunting task. Since you most likely will have to report to work during your treatment process, or at some point after your breast cancer treatment ends, you will constantly have to juggle caring for yourself with the demands of work, home and other aspects of your personal life.
As you recover from treatment, it becomes more important than ever for you to pay attention to your work-life balance. Work-life balance refers to your ability to balance the commitments, responsibilities and goals relating to your paid work (e.g. working hours, expected outputs of the job, career advancement), with personal commitments, responsibilities and desires (e.g. recovery, parenting, recreational activities, community commitments, further education).
In general, women who maintain a healthy balance between work and their personal lives not only achieve a sense of well-being and feel that they have control over their working life, able to determine when and how much they work, they also lead rich and fulfilling personal lives.
Finding a healthy work-life balance isn't a one-time thing. It is a continuous process, especially as you and your interests, family and work life change.
The Cleveland Clinic has ideas to help you find the work-life balance that's best for you:
- Track your time. Track everything you do for one week, including work-related and personal activities. Decide what's necessary and what satisfies you the most. Cut or delegate activities that you don't enjoy or can't handle -- or share your concerns and possible solutions with your employer or others.
- Take advantage of your options. Ask your employer about flexible hours, a compressed work week, job sharing, telecommuting or other scheduling flexibility. The more control you have over your hours, the less stressed you're likely to be.
- Learn to say no. Whether it's a co-worker asking you to spearhead an extra project or your child's teacher asking you to manage the class play, remember that it's OK to respectfully say no. When you quit doing the things you do only out of guilt or an unnecessary sense of obligation, you'll make more room in your life for the activities that are meaningful and bring you joy.
- Leave work at work. With the technology to connect to anyone at any time from virtually anywhere, there may be no boundary between work and home -- unless you create it. Make a conscious decision to separate work time from personal time. When you're with your family, for instance, turn off your cell phone and put away your laptop computer.
- Manage your time. Organize household tasks efficiently, such as running errands in batches or doing a load of laundry every day, rather than saving it all for your day off. Put family events on a weekly calendar and keep a daily to-do list. Do what needs to be done, and let the rest go. Limit time-consuming misunderstandings by communicating clearly and listening carefully. Take notes, if necessary.
- Bolster your support system. At work, join forces with co-workers who can cover for you --and vice versa -- when family conflicts arise. At home, enlist trusted friends and loved ones to pitch in with childcare or household responsibilities when you need to work overtime or travel.
- Nurture yourself. Eat healthy foods, include physical activity in your daily routine and get enough sleep. Set aside time each day for an activity that you enjoy, such as practicing yoga or reading. Better yet, discover activities you can do with your partner, family or friends -- such as hiking, dancing or taking cooking classes.
Here are some resources that might help you better understand how to enhance your work-life balance after breast cancer:
Balancing survivorship and raising a child
Breast Cancer and Balance
5 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance
Refine Your Work Life Balance by Setting Healthy Boundaries
Work-life balance: Tips to reclaim control
Work Life Balance Centre
For more information on work-life balance, go to Breast Cancer Partner’s Resources. You can also share your knowledge and success with other survivors in our Partner Forum or at Survivor Tips.