Work-Life Balance or Rhythms of Life?

February 18th, 2009

As someone who used to give advice on achieving work-life balance, I was mystified when I read somewhere that “balance” was a myth. What we should aim for is “rhythm”. It got me to thinking: “Have I been wrong this whole time?”

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Stay at home – are you ready for the loneliness?

May 22nd, 2008

stay at home loneliness by tom@hk on flickr

Photo by Tom@HK

Loneliness is a common experience for stay at home individuals. Even an introvert like me needs human interaction to stay sane and happy. And I mean interaction beyond one’s spouse or partner and children, especially if, like me, you spend the entire day with a semi-verbal toddler who always needs to be cleaned or fed.

Having spent 14 years in my last job, I made lifelong friends of my co-workers. No wonder I miss them terribly now even though I’m living my dream of becoming a stay at home Mom – especially after the little one is napping and I’m the only one stirring in the house.

It doesn’t help that I moved across the globe to become a stay at home Mom, and I’ve landed where everyone outside my family, save for four people (relatives), are complete strangers. It isn’t that simple for me to pick up the phone and call a friend. It’s expensive and we are separated by 12 hours’ time difference. Besides, the four people I know have full-time jobs or are in school and wouldn’t be home.

Rather than wallow in my isolation, here are seven things I’ve been doing and plan on doing, to ease the loneliness:

1. Get out of the house everyday.

Now that spring is here, I indulge in a daily walk every afternoon. I strap the toddler in his stroller and take in the fresh air and all the greenness for at least 15 minutes every day. It’s great for my body and for my mind. I always come home feeling refreshed.

2. Keep in touch, the high-tech way.

Most of my friends and family are thousands of miles away and it would be too expensive to call them often. Fortunately, we live in the digital age. Last weekend, we had a video chat with some good friends and boy did it feel good to hear and see them in real time. Technology rocks! We used Skype (with the friend who wasn’t using a Mac) and iChat (with the friend who was). No web cam? Instant messengers are the next best thing. And there’s always Email.

3. Minimize TV watching.

It’s easy for a stay at home Mom to get trapped into the TV viewing habit. After all, you can do household chores, entertain a toddler or even surf the Net while doing it. But I’ve noticed that watching too much TV leaves me feeling a bit depressed and detached. Besides, it isn’t good for my toddler (which I’ve been telling parents for a decade now while I was still in UNICEF).

4. Keep a positive attitude.

One of the things I learned from Flylady is to always smile, even if I don’t feel like it. I try to do this even when the toddler has just had a screaming fit, or when I’m worried that DH still doesn’t have a job. Somehow, it works. What we do on the outside affects how we feel on the inside.

5. Make new friends.

I have to admit, my older children are better at this than I am. In fact, their social calendars are filling up fast. I have the feeling it may be difficult for me to make new friends at this stage in my life, but I’m not giving up yet. I have run into parents of toddlers in the library and park. Maybe I’ll overcome my introversion and bring cookies to our next-door neighbor. Maybe.

6. Create or join a network of like-minded individuals.

I’ve got virtual networks on Facebook and Yahoo! Groups but I think a network you see face-to-face is better. As soon as we have a car I’ll join monthly meetings of the local La Leche League or maybe attend a knitting group.

7. Talk about it.

I write a weekly Email to my friends back home about the trials, tribulations and triumphs of immigrants in Canada. I began writing them when I was very depressed and homesick and thought we had made a big mistake moving here. Being able to express myself, even in writing, truly helps ease some of the pain. Talking to DH about my feelings of isolation also helps a lot.

Surprisingly, I didn’t find a lot of articles about loneliness in my favorite work at home websites. I did find these:

How to overcome loneliness when you work at home

10 tips for overcoming loneliness

6 practical and powerful ways to overcome depression

If you’re thinking of becoming a stay at home parent, seriously consider how you will cope with the inevitable feelings of loneliness.

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Can I make $10 in 30 days?

February 16th, 2008

Photo by peasap

I’ve joined the 30 Day Challenge! This is a FREE online training program on internet marketing. Ed Dale and his colleagues are teaching us the basics of internet marketing and the goal is to make at least $10 in 30 days! Ed is a casual and occasionally funny guy who seems to know what he’s talking about. I don’t know why the program is free — so far, Ed hasn’t tried selling anything to me yet (or maybe it’s in one of the Emails I deleted without reading!).

I’m only on Day 4, but I have already learned so many things. I have made a list of seven possible topics for a niche and will soon be doing market research on each of those topics. It’s very exciting! Continue reading »

How I overcame work at home information overload

February 4th, 2008

Photo by Chaparral [Kendra]

Last week, I found myself unable to empty my email in-boxes (despite what I had learned from Getting Things Done). I couldn’t focus on anything; I would flit from one blog or website to the next and then to an E-book. I wasn’t making progress on my to-list. What was happening to me?

I found the answer after my mind had cleared and I sat down in a quiet corner with my copy of Yaro Starak’s Blog Profits Blueprint. I had the plague also known as “information overload”. I had gotten seduced by the idea of having passive income through a work at home internet business. I wanted to learn everything right now. But as Yaro said, information overload makes you lose direction, forget your purpose, and keep you from working towards your goals. Continue reading »

How to prepare financially for your home business

January 17th, 2008

Photo: Piggy Bank by annia316 ?

I’ve been uneasy about my earlier post about preparing to leave my office job, because I think I glossed over the financial part of the preparations. I only mentioned that I was learning about frugal living because I didn’t expect to replace my office income with a home business right away.

But that is only half of the story.

The other half is making sure that I have money set aside to tide my family over while I’m still building up my home businesses. Continue reading »