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Balance in Life

Leeanne October 24, 2021

Decultter: The Art of Prioritizing

Not sure how to prioritize your to-dos? Try these different strategies to find your ideal approach. By prioritizing your to-dos in life, you make space to say “no” when you do not have enough time. Be sure to FIRST prioritize yourself. Then try out these methods for prioritizing the to-dos for your household, family, and social life.

ABCDE Method

Write down all tasks and categorize them in the following way.

  • A Tasks are those with major consequences if you do not complete them. DO THESE FIRST.
  • B Tasks are those with minor consequences if do not finish them. Don’t start these until you finish your A Tasks
  • C Tasks are tasks with no consequences if you fail to do them. Do not start until you complete your B tasks. 
  • D Tasks are tasks you can delegate.
  • E Tasks are those you can eliminate.

The Eisenhower Decision Matrix Method

Separate tasks based on whether they are important, urgent, both, or neither.

  • Do important and urgent tasks first.
  • Schedule important, but not urgent tasks next.
  • Delegate urgent but unimportant tasks like e-mails, and phone calls, if possible. 
  • Eliminate tasks that are neither urgent nor important.

Eat the Frog Method

Mark Twain once said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Tackle the most formidable tasks first.

Organize: Lightening the mental load.

Women are:

  • 2.5 times more likely to be responsible for managing the laundry
  • 2.1 times more likely to be responsible for planning meals
  • 2 times more likely to manage the house-cleaning process
  • 0.8 times more likely to manage the household finances
Boston Consulting Group (BCG) surveyed more than 6,500 employees across different industries in 14 countries and found that even though one-third of couples in two-career households said both parties contribute to household chores, women are more likely to carry the mental load of organizing and managing what needs to be done at home.

 

That increased mental load can hinder women who are working to climb the corporate ranks, as they have less mental energy to focus on the tasks that come with a leadership role. As a result, companies must help ease the load if they want to ensure that women are represented in the C-suite, BCG says. Here’s how you can start to organize yourself to lighten your mental burden:

  • Explore flexible work arrangements. Can you work remotely, use videoconferencing, or set your own hours to better handle personal tasks. 
  • Get inspired by couples who are truly balancing the load. Find  examples of male friends, colleagues, or even celebrities managing household duties and shouldering a fair share of the mental load—talk to the men in your life about how they can do the same.
  • Assess what your company, professional associations, or networking groups offer to support your home life. Does your job offer on-site day care, elder-care support, and babysitting referral services? Are there collectives in your community that offer these services? Can you get discounts or subsidies to outsource this work? 
  • Don’t have resources to spend on a babysitter, how can you and your parent friends rotate care so that everyone gets an occasional “day off” from duties in your home. Is hiring someone to clean your home not feasible? What if you and your friends organize “clean up days” where you gather and help one another with a cleaning or organization project in one another’s homes.
  • Are you a parent of caregiver? Find a group of like-minded individuals through an affinity group or support group. Join a parents’ or caregivers’ network at work, your place of worship, or in your community. Having a support system can help lighten the mental load.

Remember: Companies are now starting to realize that it serves them well to help women lessen their burdens at home. Take a look at any programs or services offered by your job. Organize a resource list that you can refer to when you need extra support.

Now that you have identified some of these support systems. Take the time to organize yourself in order to best utilize these services. Take out your calendar and schedule services, taking note of times of particular stress or workload for yourself. Remember, this support is not just so that you can “do your work.” Get a babysitter so that you can visit friends or go get that new outfit for an upcoming event. Set time each month for your own personal self-care. 

Wellness: Mind

Wellness: Body

Self-Care and Self Check

It is normal to experience bad days triggered by stress. Perhaps you have a deadline at work and you’re not eating or sleeping well. Your stress is a response to something external or overwhelming, says clinical psychologist Dr. LaToya Gaines. “Once you meet that deadline, the stress goes away.” What’s not normal, she says, s two or more weeks of missing work, not engaging in hobbies you enjoy, or using a sleeping aid because your mind is racing at night.

Understand what things make you feel overwhelmed and learn to match coping skills with your states of being, advices Dr. Gaines. “Check your energy levels throughout the day. 

Energy Thermometer
What's your energy level?

Think of a thermometer on a scale of 10, with four to six being the ideal range–you’re feeling content, you have a healthy energy level, you can function well. One to three is when you have a low energy, you don’t want to get out of bed, you don’t want to do the activities you usually do. The high range, seven to ten, is a period of high energy, intense anxiety, extreme insomnia, impulsive behaviors, you’re easily distracted or annoyed.” If you’re in the high range, says Dr. Gaines, do things to calm down like going for a walk, listening to music, taking deep breaths, or meditating. If you’re in the low range, it’s important to move. Do strenuous exercises, go for a run, or dance around the house. Use aroma therapy to engage your senses.

Mental Health and Wellness Resources

Diverse group of women meditating together

Hydration Tips - Drink Up!

Water isn’t just something we need; it’s a part of us. Water makes up approximately 50 to 70 persent of our body weight, according to the Mayo Clinic. The water you take in each day:

  • promotes the elimination of toxins through sweat, urine, and bowel movements
  • keeps joins lubricated
  • regulates body temperature
  • helps to digest food
  • helps to deliver oxygen throughout the body

With all that riding on your water intake, how much exactly do you need? If you adhere to the commonly touted advice of eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day, you may not be getting enough. 

According to the Institute of Medicine of the National academies, women need, on average, 91 ounces, significantly more than the 64 ounces in eight glasses of water. If you get a lot of exercise or live in a hot climate, you may need even more to compensate for the water that leave your body through sweat. 

However, Megan Schimpf, MD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michgan Von Voigtlander WOmen’s HOspital, wrote that some people may need less water than what is recommended so the best advice is to let your thirst and body be your guide.

If the idea of chugging down five to six 16.9-ounce bottles of water leaves your eyes glazed over, the good news is you don’t have to get all of your water intake through water itself. About 20 percent of the water your body takes in comes from the foods you eat. For the other 80 percent, you can get the water you need by drinking other beverages such as herbal tea, juice, milk, and even caffeinated beverages like coffee and soda (in moderation and without sugar.) 

Water is your healthiest option, but vegtable juice can also count toward your vegitable servicens durin gthe day, and green tea is believed to help lower cholesterol according to the Mayo Clinic. 

Increase your water intake if you notice any o fhte following signs of dehydration: 

  • Extreme thirst
  • Urine that is dar colored rather than clear
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Less frequent urge to urinate

Something else to keep in mind: Whle beverage companies have made it easier to grab a plastic bottle of water off the shelf, that plastic can leavh into our seware systemm and waterways. Buy a colorful, BPA-free reusable water bottle, fill it form your tap (yes, in most of the country tap water is safe) and go!

Yoga - Combing Mind and Body Wellness

You don’t need to be flexible, thin, or young to  do yoga. It’s one of the best things that we, as women, can do for our mental, emotional, and physical health.

by Kelle Walsh

It used to be that yoga was consered the provenance of movie stars and alternative health practitioners. Now, yoga is decidely mainstream. More than 36 million Americans do yoga, according to an industry study, and three-quarters of them are women. Of yoga practitioners today, regardless of geneder, three-quareters have been practicing for five year sor less. And yoga isn’t just for twentysomethings. Almost 40 percent of these yoginis are 50 or older.

You may have wondered, Should I try it? An perhaps just as quickly you decided (check all that apply):

  • I’m not flexible
  • I’d make a fool of myself
  • I don’t wear yoga pants in public (most of the time)
  • People who do yoga don’t look like me.

If any of these thoughts have kept you from trying yoga, you’re missing out on a powerful opportunity to be good to yourself, says Dianne Bondy, author of Yoga for Everyone: 50 Poses for Every Type of Body.

ACCEPT YOURSELF:
Yoga instructor, author, and fierce advocate Jessamyn Stanley is a reluctant role model for the "body liberation" movement

In 2018, Jessamyn Stanley and a cofounder launched a subscription-based streaming yoga instruction and wellness app, The Underbelly. Stanley, a yoga teacher, advocate for what she calls the body liberation movement, and Instagram influencer, wanted to create a forum and yoga instruction site to welcome women of all shapes, sizes, and colors who feel “overlooked and underserved by the wellness industry” and to help them be comfortable in their bodies.

“My cofounder, Mary Carr, and I wanted to celebrate the pieces of ourselves that are hidden away,” says Stanley from her home in the Raleigh-Durham region of North Carolina. “The underbelly is the soft skin you don’t want to show anybody out of fear of being vulnerable. But yoga is all about reckoning with the hard stuff, so the name seemed to fit.

“I think it is important for everyone to take up space no matter how you look or identify,” Stanley says. “We are here to shine bright and take up space. Mainstream fitness is all about making yourself small to fit in a predetermined box. I fundamentally disagree with that. The universe had asked me to experience life fully through being Black, fat, queer, and Baha’i. What I noticed through connecting with people on social media is that I may sound unique–but I am not unusual at all. I am representable of the mainstream in many ways, the only difference being I am comfortable embracing who I am.

 

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