Work-life Balance: “Struggles of a Working Woman.”
In today’s day and age one of the greatest struggles for working women is maintaining a work-life balance. It’s a constant weight we all carry, and for most of the time, we find ourselves messing up one or the other. So, what is work-life balance? It refers to an individual’s ability to balance the commitments, responsibilities and goals relating to their paid work along with personal commitments, responsibilities and desires. Being able to strike this magic balance not only allows one to live a rich and fulfilling personal life but also to achieve a sense of well-being and control over their working life.
For women, some factors that make a key impact on their working life, which in turn affects their personal life, are:
- Flexibility and number of working hours.
- Sick and holiday leave provisions
- Availability of support structures within the workplace such as childcare and breastfeeding facilities.
For women who are also involved in non-work commitments such as community organizations, voluntary work or studies find themselves facing an even harder time juggling everything. Furthermore, the few resilient ones amongst us who continue to work through their pregnancies and breastfeeding days face a separate set of hurdles. Married women under 30 years tend to face a greater work-family conflict. By far, working mothers seem to be the most affected by work-life balance. Playing multiple roles has shown to have a negative impact on the physical and mental well-being of women. A study showed women with children in the 6 to 10 years bracket seem to face a greater problem with maintaining work-life balance.
There are many benefits of maintaining a proper work-life balance such as better overall mental and physical health, decreased stress, better relations with spouse and family, fewer conflicts, and use of less prescription drugs. Women maintaining a healthy balance are less likely to face depression and anxiety or other health related issues such as lack of appetite, insomnia and muscle and back pain.
Now to answer the most important question of how one can maintain a healthy work life balance? Well, work-life balance consists of 6 main components and striking the right equilibrium between these according to an individual’s requirements is essential to maintain a healthy balance between personal and work commitments. The six components include:
- Self-Management: Get proper sleep, nutrition and exercise.
- Time Management: Make the most of your day with the resources available to you. Prioritize, distinguish between urgent and important and what is both urgent and important. You will be able to keep pace when your challenges match your resources.
- Stress Management: Focus on one thing at a time. This will increase productivity while simultaneously reducing stress related to multi-tasking.
- Change Management: Learn to adapt to both changes at work and at home. Make active and periodic efforts to adopt new methods and re-adapt others for a successful work and untroubled home life.
- Technology Management: Keep yourself updated with the latest tech. Effectively manage technology so it serves you and makes your life easier. In today’s fast paced world, the proper use of technology is truly a blessing.
- Leisure Management: The most overlooked aspect of work-life balance, the importance of rest and relaxation cannot be stressed enough. It is vital for one to take time off and recharge.
As for working female doctors whose jobs might be more demanding and make it harder to strike a work-life balance, working fewer hours or doing part-time should be an option to consider. Furthermore, adjusting ones on-call time, scheduling breaks between patient appointments, focusing on the work at hand; whether in the hospital or at home, outsourcing administrative work to a subordinate are all ways one can keep a better work-life balance. A notable introduction could be tele-medicine appointments which would cut down office hours and save up time for family and friends. This is a particularly useful option in our setup where social ties prevent women from pursuing a career.
Lastly learn to say No in the right ways, at the right times and in the right amounts. Learn to put yourself first and focus on things that truly matter.
Syeda Asfia Hussain
Dow Medical College ‘19