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Work-Life Imbalance: How Work-Life Imbalance is Okay During COVID-19

Jenefar de Leon talks us through her experience working from home during a global pandemic and how she copes.

As many of us continue to adapt to our new normal during COVID-19, many first-generation immigrants are tackling more onto their plate more than ever. I began working from home back in March, and honestly, I was super excited to work from home. Of course, I still had concerns and fears around COVID-19, but overall, I felt happy to have the support from my organization. As the months continued to go by, and I continued to work from home while balancing my personal life, I felt my work- life balance had become more work-life imbalance.

In short, work-life balance is the state of equilibrium where a person equally prioritizes the demands of one's career and the demands of one's personal life. Before the pandemic, many of us had created some sort of work-life balance, where we may go to an office from 9 to 5 and after that incorporate our social and family gatherings, plus the meeting the needs of our loved ones sporadically throughout the day. As many first- generation immigrants may relate, I had to incorporate into my schedule time to go with my parents for their appointments to assist in translating, helping fill out forms or call businesses on their behalf. I felt I made time for all the needs of everyone.

But now, many of us are juggling work, family, and school at the same time between the 9 to 5 and even more after work. There were times during the day I had to handle many appointments and calls during my lunch break, while maintaining my workload. But often I would feel that I have failed, because I could not give it my all, rushed to get it done or felt guilty that I couldn’t focus. So many tasks seemed to continue to grow and little was done. Fear regarding the pandemic would also sneak up, creating an overwhelming feeling to take care of everyone. I didn’t know what to do. But after some time of reflection, I realized I need to give myself grace and there is no perfect work-life balance. So, I gave myself a pep talk and a few tips to help me along the way and hope to help you.

  1. Write down your priorities: Look at your weekly priorities and rank them. Speak honestly with your family and employer about what you have going on and set deadlines. I took the time to speak with both my family and employer about our priorities and set realistic personal and work deadlines. This allowed me to see a list of items and helped me keep track of my commitments and allowed me to move items around if needed. Of course, work is important, but so is our family. So, setting deadlines and communicating with everyone is key.

  2. Give yourself grace: You don’t have to tackle everything in one day. There is no perfect work-life balance, balanced is achieved over time. Check out this blog on taking charge of your mental health.

  3. Speak Up: Be vulnerable and share your needs. If you need help, look to your team within your family and work. By sharing your needs, family and work colleagues are more likely and willing to step-in and help. You often realize you are not alone.

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