10 Tips to Navigate Work-Life Harmony During the Holidays: A Guide for Perinatal Professionals as 2023 Comes to an End

As we approach the end of the year, the demands on perinatal health professionals, including doulas, midwives, and lactation consultants, remain as critical as ever.

Balancing the needs of birthing and postpartum individuals with your own well-being and family life can be a challenging task, but achieving a harmonious work-life balance is essential for sustained success and personal fulfillment. Here are 10 tips to help you navigate the delicate balance between your professional and personal life as the year draws to a close:

  1. Define Clear Business Hours: Establishing clear business hours not only helps you manage client expectations but also allows you to set boundaries for your work. Communicate these hours to your clients and stick to them as closely as possible. This helps create a sense of structure and predictability for both you and your clients.

Practical Tip: Turn on your out-of-office messaging on emails, post your office hours on social media,  website, and front office, and set up holiday messaging on voicemail and website to inform clients how quickly (or slowly) they can expect to get a response from you.

  1. Prioritize Self-Care: In the midst of caring for others, it's crucial to prioritize your own well-being. Schedule regular breaks, invest time in activities that rejuvenate you, and make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine. A well-rested and nourished professional is better equipped to provide quality care.

Practical Tip: Choose days to be away from work that will allow you to prepare for your holiday or end-of-the-year responsibilities or special days. If possible, consider hiring assistants to help you with tasks like cleaning, cooking, photographing, or planning gatherings. 

  1. Embrace Technology Mindfully: While technology facilitates remote work and communication, it can also blur the lines between professional and personal life. Set specific times for checking work-related messages and emails. Create digital boundaries to ensure that you are mentally and emotionally present during your designated personal time.

Practical Tip: Put your phone down! In fact, turn it off. 

  1. Delegate and Collaborate: Insider building a support network or team to share the workload. Collaborate with other perinatal professionals, delegate tasks when possible, and create a system of mutual assistance. This not only eases your burden but fosters a sense of community within your organization.

Practical Tip: Get a backup service provider.  Share on-call time so everyone can also have some off-call time.  Even if you don’t normally partner with peers, this is a great time to do so temporarily.

  1. Schedule Family Time: Designate specific times for family activities and adhere to them diligently. Whether it's a weekly family meal, movie night, or outing, having dedicated family time helps you stay connected with your loved ones and creates a healthy work-life balance.

Practical Tip: Put family time on your calendar, so work duties cannot overtake it.  Protect it.  This is when you will make lifelong memories with your family.  It’s precious.

  1. Set Realistic Expectations: Be realistic about what you can achieve within a given timeframe. Avoid overcommitting and be transparent with clients about your availability. Setting realistic expectations prevents burnout and ensures that you can consistently deliver high-quality care.

Practical Tip: Things always take longer than you think they will.  Instead of working to squeeze everyone in, spread everyone out.  Where possible reduce slots of availability in order to ensure you can increase slots for rest, fun, family, and friends.  It’s just a 4-week slowdown. You can ramp back up in January.

  1. Create a Dedicated Workspace: Separate your work and home environments by creating a dedicated workspace. This helps mentally transition between professional and personal life, fostering a sense of balance. When you're in your workspace, focus on work, and when you leave, mentally switch to personal matters.

Practical Tip: If you have a home office, set an alarm for when work is supposed to end.  When it goes off, push away from your desk and close your computer.  Honor the different roles you play.

  1. Time Blocking for Efficiency: Implement time-blocking techniques to maximize efficiency. Assign specific blocks of time to different tasks, including work, self-care, and family time. This method can enhance productivity and prevent work from bleeding into personal time.

Practical Tip: A visual guide like colored post-it notes (physical or using the Post-It Note app) on a calendar can help you achieve a sense of satisfaction and clarity about all the things on your plate. Blocked-off time for each role you play can help you, your team, and your family actually SEE the work you are doing and all get on board with respecting the boundaries and cut-off times.

  1. Plan for the Future: As the year concludes, take some time to reflect on your professional journey and set goals for the upcoming year. Consider what changes or adjustments you can make to enhance your work-life balance and overall job satisfaction. Planning for the future helps you stay proactive and focused.

Practical Tip: Create a Vision Board Party at work or at home with your family.  Make it fun and really let your imagination soar around the possibilities of a brighter future.

  1. Invest in Professional Development: Allocate time for considering future professional development. This investment not only keeps your skills sharp but also demonstrates a commitment to your career.

Practical Tip: Look at the 2024 calendar and plan to attend workshops, webinars, or conferences to stay abreast of industry trends and best practices. Go ahead and register for the events, block the time off on your calendar, and budget your money.  These continuing education opportunities can recharge your passion while also giving you a short getaway.

Remember, achieving a work-life-business owner balance is an ongoing process that requires adaptability and self-awareness. By implementing these tips, you can create a more sustainable and fulfilling professional life while continuing to provide valuable support to birthing and postpartum individuals. As the year concludes, may you find harmony in both your professional and personal endeavors.

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