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5 Women Share Their Secrets To Achieving A Healthy Work-Life Balance

Workin' Girl

One of the things I've learned about work/life balance is that it doesn't exist, at least not in the way most of us think it does.


In reality, it's more like a juggling act as we try to keep every piece of our lives from falling by the wayside. From family and friends to securing the bag, there are so many different areas of our lives that we, as women, want to make sure we don't forget about.

I spoke with five women who share their tips on how they at least achieve enough balance to keep their peace of mind because despite all of our obstacles and responsibilities, we've proven we can have it all, and make it look easy.

Kierra Lanice | Professional MUA

Courtesy of Kierra Lanice

One of the ways I practice a work/life balance is having quiet time in the morning. I wake up with a more soothing alarm instead of an abrupt one that scares me out of my sleep. This is followed by 15 minutes of praying, meditation, reading or devotion. The key is that this time has to be spent in a designated area outside of your bed.

I also don't think I could have a work/life balance without writing everything, from schedules to tasks and goals, down on paper. Doing this allows you to hold yourself accountable more when you see your own handwriting versus something you type or try to remember on your own.

I've gotten to the point where I schedule time to talk to family and reconcile relationships.

I try to connect with someone in my family at least once a day; not on social media, but on the phone; my siblings, elders in the family, younger cousins, distant relatives, etc. A simple 3-5 minute check-in takes your mind off of your life bubble.

A major benefit I've found in my journey to a work/life balance is the "Do Not Disturb" button on my phone. We live in a high-tech, low-touch society. Turning my phone off to constant notifications and emails allows for more time to focus on what matters in the moment.

I learned to be honest with myself and communicate when I'm getting overwhelmed. If you can lie to yourself, you'll lie to anyone. I had to set boundaries and learn to communicate when they're crossed. This is HUGE for me.

Dani D | Radio Personality

Courtesy of Dani D

It's honestly not easy for me to balance my work and personal life because they run so closely together. Being a radio personality is a lifestyle. I'm a public figure, so being transparent comes with my career. But I try my best not to 'over share.' Everyone doesn't need to know everything.

On Sundays, which are really my only off days, I take time for myself to talk to God, get in a good pampering session, clean, eat something good, read, or just binge watch my favorite shows.

"Me time" is crucial for my sanity!

I also make sure that I spend a good amount of time with my family and friends. I never let work get in the way of relationships that are important to me. Overall, I've found that there are ways to balance work and life. It's not easy, but it can be accomplished without a doubt!

Kenni Powe | Model

Courtesy of Kenni Powe

For me, a work-life balance is feeling content with every area of your life. As a career woman right out of college, I was sucked into the "work hard" lifestyle of Corporate America, so I'm grateful the corporation I work for believes in this balance and provides an easy work lifestyle.

I think a peace of mind is the main thing to maintain; peace of mind knowing that everything won't always go as planned. When you have a healthy balance of work and play (meaning life), you feel more at liberty to manipulate your schedule without being afraid.

I am the type of person who believes in boundaries in life and that every piece of your life is only as big and successful as the time you put into it; balance creates contentment. You can't feed one area in your life while the other areas starve and call yourself successful.

I believe balance curates freedom, creativity, flexibility, stamina, and tenacity to fight for what you want in this life and what you will sacrifice to get it.

I am a To-do List Calendar Junkie! I love making daily, monthly and quarterly lists to ensure my image of success for my life is maintained. Some people measure success by the money they gain. But success to me is being passionately fulfilled and at peace with my life decisions. Back to being a junkie; I routinely ensure that I touch every segment of my life every day in my daily list. This normally starts off with a heading of what makes me who I am and fulfills me as a person. The headings generally include: GOD, Food, Health (workout), Public Projects (community service), Business Projects (corporate), Home, Knowledge, ME ME ME and Events. The best part of creating these lists is when you get to mark something off of it. Marking a check or scratching through something on my to-do list is like a natural high and toot of my horn. I feel like the queen of Wakanda and a champion of life.

Another tactic in maintaining this lifestyle is a balance of theoretical and actuals. I'm not a "life is bubbles and unicorns" type of girl, so I try to balance optimism and realism; myth and perfection. I ensure I don't battle my faith with actual natural abilities. Meaning, I love to look at numbers and I do believe numbers don't lie, however, I don't set my expectations of my abilities based on a reality of a situation. Everyone's maintenance is different but being a To-do List Calendar Junkie Optimistic Realist is how I maintain.

Remember to always unplug, meditate, give yourself props, self-analyze, prioritize and above all let go of perfectionism.

Gabrielle Flowers Rader | Vlogger & Influencer

Courtesy of Gabrielle Flowers Rader

For me, work/life balance is kind of tricky since I work from home with my husband and the majority of our work stems from documenting every day life. Starting the day with some form of "me time" is super important, whether it's heading to the gym for an early morning workout or taking the time to read a couple of devotionals and pray. When I allow myself to have that time, I can move through the day feeling more focused.

In order to amp up my productivity, I take the time to brain dump and make a list of all the things that need to be done. I then prioritize which tasks are truly important for the day and utilize time-blocking to make sure there is a space for them to actually get done. When you work from home, it helps to have designated times in place or else your day will just run together and you'll look up and wonder where the time went. To keep me in the mind frame of work, I set office hours and try to complete business tasks in my home office or a local coffee shop for a change of scenery.

Once the important tasks are complete, I switch gears and focus on spending quality time with my family without distractions.

To be completely honest, every day doesn't look like this. There are some days where I'm on it and then there are others where I struggle to get anything done. You can't give 100% to every single thing at the same time and that's okay. I often remind myself of that when I feel like I'm getting off track and then give myself grace to try again the next day.

Kristyn Alexis | Lifestyle YouTuber

I currently manage a YouTube channel of almost 150k subscribers, which is a part-time job, and I have a career in medical devices, so my life is crazy! I also have three kids – one in college and twins in elementary school.

Maintaining a good work-life balance starts with scheduling. I plan everything in advance from cooking to working on my channel. I recently obtained my certification in project management and had to scale back a lot, but I maintained to keep up by keeping my schedule. I also feel it's important to get lots of sleep and plan fun times.

Staying busy keeps me sane and happy, so while my crazy schedule works well for me, it wouldn't be suitable for everyone. My fiancé is also supportive of me doing as much as I do. That is critical to the success I have experienced in my life.

The last thing I think is important is staying scrappy (a term I learned while participating in a group called MLT – management leadership for tomorrow). It means having a determined resolve to complete any task, and it has helped me to stay on track.

Overall, balance comes from prioritizing and support.

Featured image by Getty Images.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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