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10 Things To Help Manage Your Work-Life Balance When Pregnant

10 Things To Help Manage Your Work-Life Balance When Pregnant

Pregnancy is like a bitter gourd in the sense that it’s a dichotomy— it’s healthy for you, but bitter to taste. Being pregnant is an experience that inspires a rollercoaster of emotions and life changes, and if you’re already pregnant, you might have already started to feel several biological, physiological and physiological changes within yourself. The hormonal changes lead to issues like nausea, mood swings, fatigue, etc., which can be exacerbated if you have a family to look after and older children to take care of. If you’re a working mother or a single parent, then your responsibilities skyrocket even further.

How do you manage home, kids, and work while dealing with mood swings, depression and pregnancy-induced body pain? It’s not easy to do so, but the good news is that there are ways of enjoying your work, life and pregnancy all together.

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Here are 10 things that help relieve stress while pregnant:

  1. Start with a healthy diet. Food cravings, an increase in appetite and bingeing sessions will all become part of your life for the next nine months, so the key to alleviating many problems is in maintaining a healthy diet. Eat fresh vegetables, salads and fruits as snacks rather than indulging in high calorie finger foods like french fries, chips or junk food.  Doing this is important to keep yourself from gaining extra pounds, which will make you lethargic and may contribute to a sedentary lifestyle post-pregnancy.
  2. Please, make a point of exercising every day, even if only for 20 to 30 minutes. Keeping active will raise your spirits and also keep your blood flowing, which helps to nourish your growing baby. To help motivate you, consider joining a prenatal exercise class so you get a chance to meet and socialise with other moms-to-be.
  3. Open up to your boss and colleagues—let other employees know that you are expecting so they are conscious about your fragile emotional state, and can speak with you in a way that doesn’t add to your depression, or trigger mood swings. Keep your boss updated about your health from time to time if you feel you need to get some of your workload transferred, and to establish that you might need some breaks without having to explain about your whereabouts.
  4. If you have the option of working from home, then keep your employer informed about the situation so that you can take occasional breaks from the office, and relieve some workplace pressures by working from the comfort of your own home.
  5. Think about your post-pregnancy options well ahead of time and submit a proposal about them to your boss. Be clear about whether you want to return to the same full-time job after your maternity leave, or if you would consider a part-time job instead. Inquire as to whether a work-from-home option would be possible as well, if that appeals to you. Planning beforehand always helps, as you would be aware of your job options in advance, thus alleviating later stress. While planning your post-maternity work options, don’t forget to discuss your maternity leave with your boss, and keep your family informed about the process and decisions being made.
  6. Try to stop worrying and micro-managing, both at work and on the home front. You should understand the importance of staying calm and happy during your gestation period, and realise that it’s  really okay if your house isn’t tidy in every corner. Don’t stress yourself unnecessarily about petty issues at the office either: stay away from office politics and gossip, especially if it’s directly or indirectly related to you and your work. Take active steps to manage stress as it comes up, and learn to say no.
  7. Help your children understand the situation so that they can lend you a helping hand when it’s needed. This is an opportunity to encourage their independence and self reliance: encourage them to finish off their school activities/studies on their own, and let them serve themselves at mealtime and get ready for school on their own in the mornings. You can also ask them to tidy up their own rooms or help you a little with laundry and light housework.
  8. Ask your partner or spouse to spend more time at home than usual. Let him share some domestic work, and also assist you with cooking for the family. Most importantly, make him realise that you need constant love and emotional support at this time.
  9. Make it a rule that one meal serves all, and that there is to be no fighting about food preferences in regard to wanting something else. Meal-planning discussions can happen on weekends to keep everyone happy, and will keep you from getting stressed out.
  10. Backache, sleeping disorders, leg swelling, and mood swings will often be out of your control, but the amount of stress you’ll experience is mostly in your own hands. Keep in mind that a great way to alleviate some stress is by focusing on cheerful activities that also keep you active, such as shopping for your maternity clothes, as well as gifts and clothes for your newborn, and decorating the nursery.

Pregnancy is a beautiful feeling for any woman, so try to enjoy every bit of it. Best of luck to you: you will soon be a dear mummy to a beautiful new baby.

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Featured photo credit: Beautiful pregnant woman at home via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on August 14, 2020

How to Find a Career That Is Right For You

How to Find a Career That Is Right For You

There are thousands of careers to choose from. No wonder finding the one that’s right for you can feel like a guessing game.

Choosing or changing careers can be scary. Even if it’s right for you now, you might wonder, who says it’ll still be a fit in the future?

The truth is, you have to start somewhere. Whether you’re looking for a first job out of college or need a new career, follow this process to find the right one for you:

1. List Out Careers You Could Pursue

It sounds simple, but it’s good advice: Start with what you like. Even before you begin looking for the right career, you probably have an idea of what you’re interested in.

Next, make a second list, this one including your strengths. If you aren’t sure whether you’re actually good at something, ask someone close to you who’ll give you a truthful answer.

Once your lists are made, cross-reference them: What do you like to do and do well?

In a third list, rank these. If you’re skilled at something you don’t particularly like, for instance, that should fall lower on the list.

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2. Take a Career Assessment

Standardized tests shouldn’t make decisions for you, but they can get you pointed in the right direction. Career assessment tests gauge your abilities and interests and make recommendations for career paths based on the answers you give.[1]

Before reviewing your results, take a break. Getting some perspective can help you see whether your answers were guided by your mood. Look at the percentage match and ask yourself whether you could see yourself doing the work of the career or role every day.

For example, if your responses emphasized helping others, the test might point you to a medical career. However, if you don’t want to work in a hospital or clinical environment, you might cut that option or place it lower on your list.

3. Sweat the Details

Every career has gratifying and frustrating things about it. Before you choose one, you need to be clear on those. Reading reviews and job descriptions you find related to each career, make a list of its pros and cons.

There are a lot of factors to think through. Key questions to ask yourself include:

  • What are the hours required by this type of work? Can they be flexible?
  • What skills are required? Do I possess them, or would I be willing to learn them?
  • What are the education requirements? Can I afford to go back to school?
  • How much do jobs in the field pay? Is the payscale top-heavy or evenly distributed?
  • What does job growth in this sector look like? Are they traditional or contracted roles?
  • Are opportunities in the field available in my area? If not, would I be willing to move?
  • Would I be working solo or on a team?

In answering these questions, you’ll find yourself crossing a lot of careers off your list. Remember, that’s a good thing: You’d rather find out a career isn’t right for you now than after you’ve put yourself on that path.

4. Find the Sweet Spot

The crux of the career question is this: What’s the “sweet spot” between your interests and strengths and the market’s needs? The greater the overlap, the better.

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Be warned that you’ll have to compromise. Perhaps you enjoy working with animals, but there’s no demand for that line of work in your area. You might be good at math, but you wouldn’t want to crunch numbers in a cubicle for a living. Finding balance is crucial.

5. Start Networking

What’s the best way to get the real story about the careers you’re interested in? Talking to professionals in the field.

Where should you find these people?

  • Reach out to local businesses.
  • Scour your social media networks, particularly LinkedIn.
  • Ask a past employer for recommendations.
  • Sign up for industry events and conferences.

Schedule a short interview with each of your new connections. Ask them to weigh in on the comments you see online. Every role and company is a bit different, so don’t be surprised if their responses don’t align.

Regardless of who you find or what they say, write it down. If one interviewee’s responses differ wildly from online responses, chat with someone else in the field. Do your best to find out what’s the rule and what’s the exception.

6. Shadow and Volunteer

As valuable as networking can be, you need a firsthand glimpse of the work. If you hit it off with one of your interviewees, ask to do some job shadowing. Sitting beside someone as they work can help you understand not just the pay and the responsibilities but also the culture and work environment associated with each career.

Job shadowing is a good way to get your feet wet before taking a career plunge. If you felt uninterested or unhappy during your shadowing experience, it’s a good sign that you should ponder a different career path. If your shadowing experience made you want to come back for more, you may have found your calling.

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Volunteer work is an alternative to job shadowing that can get you the experience you need as you analyze your career options. As a volunteer, you can be more flexible with your time and get opportunities you wouldn’t find elsewhere.

7. Sign Up for Classes

Many careers have an academic component that you can’t ignore. If you decide you want to be a lawyer, for instance, you might want to know you can survive law school first.

Sign up for an introductory class or two related to each career you’re interested in. The earlier you do this, the better. If you’re still in college, the class will count as an elective and may be covered by your scholarship, but if not, look for a community college option to keep costs low.

Taking a single class is not the same as earning a degree in the field. With that said, it’s a good way to test the waters before you invest thousands of dollars.

If the content interests you and you look forward to class each week, that’s a good sign. If you start dreading the class or choose to drop it, focus your attention elsewhere.

8. Enter the Gig Economy

Contracted work is a great “try it before you buy it” career tactic. Skipping to an entry-level role requires more commitment than you might want to give while you’re still investigating your options. The gig economy offers the best of both worlds: paid work as well as flexibility.[2]

Gig workers take work from companies or individuals that do not directly employ them. Plumbers and artists are good examples. Rather than receiving a regular paycheck, they sell their services by the task or deliverable.

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In the gig economy, you aren’t bound by long-term agreements. If you don’t like the experience, you can simply move on.

You never know if you’ll enjoy something until you try it. And because contractors work with professionals in the field, gig workers naturally get networking and shadowing opportunities.

9. Market Yourself

As you zero in on your dream career, there’s one final test you can use to find out whether you’ll be successful: marketing yourself as a candidate for hire. Whether you get bites is a key indicator of how you’ll fare in the field.

Beware that, as someone without much experience in the field, you’re going to get a lot of rejections. Don’t be discouraged. If you get two interviews out of 50 applications, think of it as two opportunities you didn’t have before to find your ideal career.

Just as important as outreach is a good inbound strategy. Set up a website, and post your portfolio on it. Describe your dream job on your social media.

Recruiters are constantly on the lookout for candidates that fit their company. The more exposure you get, the more people will be interested in what you have to offer. Put yourself out there, and you just might find the perfect fit.

Don’t Give Up!

Nobody ever said it was easy to find a career that’s right for you. Finding one is tough enough, and even then, you may find yourself looking for a new field ten years into your career.

Whatever you want from your professional life, you have to be willing to put in the time. Don’t hesitate, and don’t give up. Start your search today.

More Tips on How to Find a Career

Featured photo credit: Saulo Mohana via unsplash.com

Reference

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