Use May Day to Create Work/Life Balance

May Day is a holiday that has multiple meanings. Rural pagan societies tied observances to agriculture as their newly-sown fields began to sprout. Children danced around a maypole, gathered wildflowers and crowned a May Queen to mark the midpoint of spring.

As the labor movement began to makes strides in protecting workers’ rights in the late 1800s, May Day became known as International Workers’ Day, commemorating the 1886 Haymarket Riot in Chicago that erupted when police clashed with striking factory workers.

Too busy to enjoy the spring weather? This May Day — if you feel stressed or like you’re stuck in a rut — take matters into your own hands by creating better work/life balance for yourself.

Good work/life balance allows people to “partition” their professional and personal lives better. That means you’ll be able to complete the demands of your job each week and still have the time and energy to enjoy leisure-time activities and family.

“Good work-life balance can also help support one’s emotional, mental and physical well-being by providing the opportunity to take part in activities that bring joy, reduce stress and promote healthy habits, including setting aside time for family or doing self-care,” Forbes says.

Creating balance is more of a process than a one-time fix. You can start by defining a your work schedule to establish a routine, says Verywell Mind. Also define “offline” hours when you won’t be answering work calls and emails. If you’re having difficulty finding time for your favorite leisure-time activities, make time in the schedule for them — even if it’s something as simple as decompressing for an hour with a favorite TV show.

If you’re stressed about work even when you’re supposed to be thinking about anything else, you may be headed for burnout. Burnout is a state in which you find it difficult to cope with work and other daily activities, and it can manifest as physical ailments such as headaches, high blood pressure and depression.

Good work/life balance can empower you to be more effective in work and everything else. This May Day, seek out ways to be your own personal labor union — find ways to #organize your life and schedule to accomplish those tasks that yo do for a living while still taking time to enjoy life.

The Christmas Countdown Begins

At the time of this posting, there are just 27 days — less than a month — until #Christmas. If you celebrate #Kwanzaa, you get an extra day to prepare, but those celebrating #Hanukkah will need to be ready just nine days.

You may view the #holidays as the most wonderful time of the year, but with that wonder comes a lot of additional expectations and stress. You need to get gifts for the family, go to the office party, plan a big family feast, send cards, bake cookies — and time is running out!

Take a moment to collect yourself. “You can only do so much,” says The Mayo Clinic. “Be realistic with how much you can handle this season. Forget about perfection, and relax and enjoy the company surrounding you.”

Start with a plan. Get the calendar out and write down the most important events and deadlines. Assign days to complete specific tasks such as shopping, baking, cleaning and decorating, but be flexible — things can and will get delayed.

One set of important dates to remember is the shipping deadline for holiday gifts. For merchandise shipped via standard ground services with FedEx, the deadline is Dec. 15, and at UPS and USPS, it’s Dec. 16. Two-day shipping should get the goods to you in time if ordered by Dec. 20.

Keep up on healthy habits, too, so you don’t sacrifice yourself in service to the season. “If you already have a training or exercise routine, don’t let the holiday season throw you off,” says “Exercise and physical activity can help clear your mind.”

Set expectations that are manageable, and be clear about them with family members and guests. Don’t set yourself up to make a big sit-down feast if you don’t have the bandwidth, for example — you can have a potluck or something even more casual.

Say no when you need to do so, and take time for your own relax-and-recharge sessions, whatever form they may take. Whatever you can manage during the season should be good enough. The clock may be ticking, but it’s your holiday, too.

Have a safe, happy and stress-free season!