Work Life Balance- Dispelling Myths We Tell Ourselves

1. You won’t have time for anything outside of work.

Believe it or not, I think I did more fun things and had more time to relax than any other time in my life during this 1st semester of law school. Only having to focus on school for once in my life was a blessing for me. But, I know a lot of my colleagues struggled with balancing the demands of being a 1L and life outside of the law quad. My advice for anyone reading this, whether you’re in law school, a young professional starting a new high time consuming job, or just flat out a busy person is really one word: RELAX. Sit down one day of the week and plan out your week. Caveat: it will NOT go as planned, but at least you see an outer scope of what to expect from your weekly activities. Make sure to include things you need and want to engage in. For example, if you’re dating or have fam/close friends (because those people need attention too lol) mark off some spots as “study breaks” or time away from the job to enjoy the people who love you. Obviously, you can’t please everyone or be available at every moment, but at least you can show your loved ones when their time is for your full attention. Thursday’s were my main days for that because I knew the next day I only had one class, plus it was the weekend, so I had wiggle room to catch up if need be. Something to note! Not every week will be the same “weekly schedule.” There were times where life just exploded all over my plan. You may have a big project due or your kid may be sick…sometimes one part of your life may take over and screw over the element of “balance.” That’s out of your control! Still- RELAX and be gentle with yourself. Baby steps. Moving forward is moving forward no matter the pace, and saying “no” here and there to protect your peace is self-care nirvana. Then, this is the most important factor to actually feel great about your life in and out of the job- SCHEDULE TIME FOR YOU! Whether that’s a power nap between study sessions, an actual real lunch break, or a last minute flight to go visit your sisters (Hi, Jas and Ash 😘). One thing I looked forward to every week was taking the entire Sunday off from studying. I had never done this in my life and wish I had started doing it sooner!! By planning my week accordingly, God allowed me to actually enjoy my Sabbath by going to church, getting brunch with friends, sleeping in, ect. This allowed me to gear up for another bomb week of SLAYING MY GOALS. Of course, this required sacrificing other things during the week, but my mental health is def worth it. 👍🏽 Reward yourself for working hard, but be careful of thinking doing more is always better. Sometimes, you could be hurting yourself for the long run. Final point here: I realized I had the same 24 hours I did earlier in my life- I just now had more power to do what I wanted, when I wanted. You have that power too 😉 A little TLC won’t hurt.

2. Working full time is always stressful. I need a less demanding craft.

Coming in as a first year law student, it’s new and very different. You don’t know what the hell you’re doing, and it’s easy to panic. However, I found myself reminding my inner Dani over and over that I’ve been through many high intense “pressure type” situations. Just because it’s new and uncomfortable, doesn’t mean it is not conquerable. What is your inner self reminder?

TIP: When you dream big, don’t let the hype overwhelm you. I know it’s easier said than done, but practice trusting what got you to the position you fought so hard for. And of course, IF YOU CAN WORRY ABOUT IT, YOU CAN PRAY ABOUT IT.

Also, find some healthy outlets you enjoy doing. I joined a flag football team because that’s how I’ve always managed my stress- playing sports, working out- being active! I don’t have to think out there about all of the work waiting for me when I get home because for that little hour of my life, I’m just playing and letting my mind take a much needed break from my daily routine.

3. “Here’s how you do this to be successful.”

We’re all human. We strive to be the best at our craft, but there isn’t a handbook on how to be great. This may be counterintuitive, since you’re reading my blog ha ha but anyways take what you need from me and leave behind what you aren’t feeling. I’ll survive. Anyways, my dad use to always tell me, “You can coach skill, but you can’t coach heart.” That has always stuck with me! Especially when trying to tackle my first semester of law school, it was easy to slip into the comparing game of the “how tos” of 1L year (she’s doing that, he’s doing this, she’s pulling her hair out…should I be pulling my hair out!?) At SMU, we are fortunate to have a ton of mentors and seminars on how to succeed in law school. However, I understood that not every strategy works for me and I may take a little bit of what was advised and then throw some Dani on it 🤷🏽‍♀️

Also, I’ve learned through sports and 22 years of breathing that even if you do EVERYTHING right, follow EVERY rule, you may still end up S.O.L. It’s life, but a heart of passion for your craft will take you a longggg way in pursuing your dream. Farther than being a freaking robot (nobody likes robots). Millionaires don’t become millionaires over night. Trial and error is personalized for YOUR JOURNEY. Utilize the resources given to you to match your way of thinking in whatever your craft may be. I remember eating double cheeseburgers before running personal bests in my 800 meters because I wanted to feel good and full of energy 😂 That doesn’t work for everyone, but it worked for me! KEY: DO YOU BOO!

4. I have made the worst decision ever working here. I’m unhappy.

Your “working here” could be many different things. “Going to school here”, “mentoring here”, “volunteering here”, ect. But, I challenge you guys to have gratitude. Think about all of the people who wished God entrusted them with what He entrusted you with at this time in your life. Whenever I was in my study room at school grinding, sometimes I’d be like, “Wow…over 1000 people applied to SMU, and only like 200 of us made it. I’m blessed.” Don’t take your blessings for granted. The struggle is not your ending point. ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER for HIS GLORY. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. I constantly have to tell myself this like daily…your circumstances are not your conclusion. There is purpose behind your pain. I know God placed me at SMU Law to one day graduate and change the world, so I won’t complain. In what ways can you influence people in and outside of the current job, school, or vocational experience you’re in right now?

I wanted to have a 5th myth, but I think 4 did the job about work life balance! What do you guys think?

Stay tuned for part two after the spring…maybe I’ll have more to add.

Xoxo

Dani 😘

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