Dr. Debra Anne DeJoseph wants you to think differently about your stressful job,
imperfect house and active kids. There can be joy in the chaos of our daily lives. “The fact that we have a lot of things on our plate means we have a great big, beautiful plate as well,” she says. As medical director of University Hospitals Women’s Health Institute, DeJoseph works with women to sync medical care and a healthy lifestyle with busy schedules. She talks to us about the popular idea of balance and her experience in attempting to achieve it.
Balance is probably a myth.
It is a state in which all the things you’re engaged in are getting the appropriate amount of attention and wherever else your time is being spent is proportioned in the way that aligns with your values.
I don’t think that I have met a woman that doesn’t feel that she is neglecting whatever it is that she is not doing at that time. When I am engaged in an activity, I’m 100 percent.
When I’m at work, I can’t be thinking about what I’m not doing at home and vice versa.
One way I try to achieve balance is by getting a lot of exercise. I’ve run almost every day for 34 years: The dull, repetitive motion, the kind of thing that when you get home you don’t really know where you were — that’s what I really like.
Take a look at how you’re spending your time. See how well that suits your goals and priorities. Saying “no” is OK. Feel comfortable saying “no” when people ask you to do something if you’re just overwhelmed — no one can or should do everything.
On a more age-specific note, many women really prioritize their children first and then their job. When their children go to college, they have very little work-life balance anymore.
If we don’t learn that it’s OK to take time off of work to go take a ballet class for ourselves, for example, we wouldn’t even think to do it. The issue is that you might always want to do something but never do. That’s something we need to guard against.