“Death by overworking.” In Japan, it’s such a problem that they gave it a name- Karoshi. For most of us, working ourselves to death sounds extreme; but trying to find a good work-life balance as a teacher is a common struggle. Few people ever look back on their lives and say, “I wish I’d worked more.”
As teachers, this is a complicated issue because, for many of us, teaching is part of our identity. Through this lens, one's work and personal life cannot be separated; but maybe there’s another way of looking at it. Note how the Rewire team defined work-life balance in their guide: "Work-life balance is an ongoing process where we creatively choose where to invest our energy so that work and life don't compete with each other, but support and enrich one another." This ongoing process will look different from person to person but the goal is the same: having time for what matters the most to you. Isn't that what we want?
The benefits of a good work-life balance are well-known: We sleep better. We feel happier. We take fewer sick days. We can better handle the challenges of working with young people. Yet for all these benefits, why is it so hard to achieve this balance?
Well, there are so many things beyond our control; such as the amount of students in our classes, new initiatives being implemented, or new state policies introduced. We can convince ourselves that there is nothing we can do. However, just because we can’t control everything doesn’t mean we are powerless. Award-winning teacher, Nancy Barile, offers some interesting insights on things that are within our control in the article “How to Achieve Work-Life Balance As a Teacher” as shown in the image below:
What's next? Look at the resources shared in this post. Then, ask yourself, “Am I making time for what matters the most to me?”