Finding work-life balance and implementing self-care techniques for managing work and life at midlife is challenging. However, it’s doable and key to rock your midlife. It entails finding and implementing self-care techniques that manage stress and boost health and happiness.

You are not alone

Before I dive into midlife self-care techniques, know that if you’re struggling with self-care and finding balance you’re not alone. Most midlife women I work with find it difficult. In our hustle culture where 60-hour weeks are the norm, it can feel like pursing a successful career must come at the expense of work-life balance. However, striking a balance between your personal and professional life and pursing both work and play is key to improving wellbeing and avoiding burnout.

Take my client Susan. When she first contacted me, she was exhausted and heading towards burnout.  A busy corporate executive at a huge high-tech company, she was working long days and dealing with long-covid. Stress and constant zoom meetings were her reality, self-care was a luxury, and finding work-life balance a pipe dream. To make matters worse, Susan worked from home, and while she didn’t miss the commute, she never felt like she could escape the grind.

I’m happy to say that after only a few weeks of working together, Susan found and started using an array of midlife self-care techniques for managing stress and finding work-life balance.

Three steps to rock your midlife self-care

Here are the three steps that I used with Susan. Try them and you’ll find better work-life balance too.  

Self-care technique 1: Diagnose your “Immunity to Change”

Before you can build your midlife self-care tool kit and find balance, you must diagnose your “Immunity to Change.” “Immunity to Change” is a concept develop by two Harvard psychologist that refers to the psychological resistance or hidden barriers that people face when they attempt to change, even when the changes are desirable and lead to positive outcomes. Typically, subconscious these barriers show up as deeply ingrained beliefs, assumptions, and behaviors that are there to protect us, yet keep us from making the changes we want to make.

In my work with Susan and other midlife women, the biggest barrier to self-care isn’t time and money. It’s fear and guilt. Many busy working women believe that if they prioritize themselves, take time off, work less and play more, skip meetings, or even take a lunch break they may lose their jobs. When they start to employee midlife self-care techniques, they feel guilty, so they stop giving themselves what they need to manage stress and find work-life balance.

Here’s the thing, you’re not going to get fired for taking me time. In fact, you just might get promoted because taking time out increases creativity and productivity. You’ll get more done in less time and are likely to come up with solutions to your company’s challenges. And the guilt… forget about it. Guilt is not a productive emotion unless you are doing something wrong and need to change your behavior. Since there’s nothing wrong with practicing self-care let the guilt go.

Self-care technique 2: Create your midlife balance tool kit

This step is easy and fun. Take out a piece of paper. Divide it into the following five categories: body, mind, heart, spirit, and relationships. Then write out how you already do or would like to practice self-care in each of the categories. For example, under body you may list practice mindful eating, pack healthy meals and snacks. Under mind you may put journal or get therapy. Beneath heart you may write read or listen to music, For spirit you may put meditate or practice yoga, and under relationships you may list call a good friend or set boundaries. Keep adding to your list as you think of things.

Don’t censor yourself. List everything and anything that feels like midlife self-care to you. Remember, you can’t do it wrong, and remind yourself, you need and deserve self-care.

Next highlight items according to how long they take and or where you want to do them. For example, highlight quick self-care techniques that you can do at work anytime to manage stress (i.e. stretch or do some deep breathing) in yellow and longer self-care techniques (i.e. going to the gym or taking a yoga class) that you need to schedule in blue. Self-care strategies that take longer like going on a retreat or traveling can be a different color.

For help creating your tool kit sign up for my Midlife Self-care Workshop HERE!

Self-care step 3: Schedule your midlife self-care

Pull out your list and schedule in the self-care techniques that take time like the weekly massage or yoga class, the coaching or therapy session, or lunch with your best friend.

To make work-life balance a reality define and set clear boundaries between work and personal life. For example, instead of leaving work open-ended, unplug at 5 or 6 pm and on weekends. Let your team and colleagues know so they understand why you aren’t available at 3 pm on a Saturday!

“When you have balance in your life, work becomes an entirely different experience. There is a passion that moves you to a whole new level of fulfillment and gratitude, and that’s when you can do your best, for yourself and for others.”

—Cara Delevingne

Bonus, you’ll lead by example. When you change your behavior and demonstrate a healthy work-life balance to your team, you encourage and cultivate a culture of work-life balance in your company.

To make room for that 1 pm workout, delegate responsibilities to trusted team members and prioritize your own workload. Bonus, to keep your appointment with yourself build in accountability by hiring a trainer or working out with a friend. To prioritize your wellbeing, stop saying yes to all the work requests you get and start saying no thank you.

Finally, redefine success. Challenge the traditional notion that success is only tied to work achievements. Embrace a more holistic view of success that includes personal fulfillment, happiness, and confidence and you’ll be well on your way to rocking your midlife.

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