By Tashi McQueen,
AFRO Political Writer,
The pace of life is only picking up in today’s society, with technological advancements and increased productivity expectations. Many are finding that they need balance in their lives.
“Gone are the days, for most people, where you have a nine-to-five job. You went to work, came back home, then carried on
[with your life
],” Raffi Bilek, director of the Baltimore Therapy Center, told the AFRO. “It’s now so easy to – always be working, on call, reachable.”
According to the 2023 Work In America Survey, 77 percent of workers experienced work-related stress. About 57 percent of workers said they experienced negative impacts from workplace stress, such as emotional exhaustion, a desire to quit and decreased productivity.
“Paying attention to work-life balance – enjoying your life outside of work – is important,” said Bilek. “Despite all the amenities, comforts and conveniences we have these days – people aren’t happy and are not taking care of themselves.”
For those wanting to have a more balanced life, Bilek suggests making sure you are in a working environment that suits you and being conscious of how you spend your time.
“Sit down with a piece of paper or in front of a computer, and write out, ‘what are my goals and my values?’” said Bilek. “Just being aware of where your time is going and then comparing that to where you want your time to go – is a great place to start rebalancing that schedule into something you want.”
Baltimore City Councilwoman Phylicia Porter (D-District 10) and Joshua Harris, vice president of the NAACP Baltimore Branch, shared what helps them balance work and life.
“Some of the challenges with work-life balance as a city council person is making sure that you are opening all your emails in a timely manner and balancing all of the issues that come across your desk on a minute-by-minute basis,” said Porter. “Council members represent more than 41,000 people within each of our legislative districts. Having our staff and learning how to delegate is really important.”
“I’ve been able to use coping mechanisms and meditation techniques, to ensure that I’ve balanced
[work and life
],” continued Porter. “I have a good self-care routine, which includes seeing my therapist once a week. I have set hours on my weekends so that I’m able to spend it with my family and friends. I also do a 15-20 minute meditation every morning.”
Harris said exercise is crucial for his work-life balance.
“For me, consistently making time for exercise is key. Also, making sure that family time is blocked off,” said Harris. “There’s always going to be more work to do and the work will continue if you have to take a few hours away from it.”
Bilek says it is important not to feel ashamed about slow progress on the journey to a more balanced life.
“Life is not about being perfect or where you want to be now. It’s about moving in the right direction,” said Bilek. “Do one small thing at a time.”