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Guest opinion: Achieving a balanced lifestyle without joining the burnout club


By Natalie Mahoney | Public affairs coordinator, PolicyWorks

“Rise and grind” is a fairly common phrase for people to use when they want to start their responsibilities early and feel productive throughout the course of the day. While I am all about getting things done and gathering the energy to tackle a long Monday, I see far too many women entering burnout mode and ultimately stretching their own boundaries to make sure they are feeling accomplished in a day. Because of this, their health is often compromised and many are left feeling stressed, drained and overwhelmed. Welcome to the burnout club.

To be honest, I have been guilty of joining this club many times in my life. With my iced coffee in my hand, I am ready to go and knock things off my to-do list. It’s an instant high when I am moving on to the next big task. However, as this behavior becomes a recurring streak, I slowly feel the exhaustion creep into my veins. Even when I feel accomplished, I still am anxiously thinking, “I need to finish this other thing. I need to reach out to this friend. I need to follow up on that email. I need to see my family more. Do I have time to make it to the gym? I need to do laundry.”

These thoughts never stop rolling in my head. Unfortunately, it’s my Type A personality that continuously strives to do something, but even my brain knows accomplishing all those tasks in one day is unachievable. Recently I began to realize that life is truly about balance. But the main question is, how does one actually achieve that balance?  

I recently attended a local Women’s Conference. The opening keynote, Randi Zuckerberg, talked about her time at Facebook and discussed her You Pick 3 philosophy. According to Zuckerberg, between work, sleep, fitness, family and friends, a person can only handle three of these categories daily. The key is to manage all categories in the long run, just not every day.

Zuckerberg’s words resonated with me and assured me that I am not completely failing at life if I can’t achieve all aspects daily. Innately, I want to balance as much as possible, but taking a look at my own health, cramming everything in a day and relying on iced coffee as my lunch maybe isn’t the best idea.

That being said, it is truly about prioritization and maximizing the time with three of these categories. As much as we want to do everything in a day, it’s not physically achievable. Instead, take a deep breath, put your feet up and understand that something can always wait until tomorrow.

Natalie Mahoneyis the public affairs coordinator for PolicyWorks Iowa, assisting clients with public affairs, public relations and grassroots advocacy. She is a board member for the nonprofit organization Iowans for Adoption, a 2019 Iowa Innovation Group graduate and a proud Les Mills BODYPUMP group fitness instructor. She lives in Johnston with her engineer husband, Ben, and enjoys walks with her rescue dog, Ivy. Contact her via email.

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