Juggling competing demands is the norm for most women today. Primary household and caregiving responsibilities remain squarely on the To Do List, and when a career is added to the mix, the recipe for stress is realized, especially when most workplaces remain inflexible, with limited family policies, and unrealistic expectations of 24/7 availability.
What’s the answer?
According to positive psychology authority Beth Cabrera, the answer is: pursue well-being.
In her new book, Beyond Happy: Women, Work, and Well-Being, Cabrera takes apart the myth of “work-life balance,” calling it an impossible goal. What balances one day doesn’t necessarily balance the next. That’s why Cabrera notes that pursuing well-being leads to more positive outcomes for everyone.
Beyond Happy identifies two dimensions that contribute to well-being: feeling good and doing good. And Cabrera provides simple, practical examples of what these dimensions look like in real life. Combining a decade of research with examples from the lives of women, Cabrera offers tried-and-true strategies that anyone can use to experience greater joy and find more meaning in life. And her relatable writing style makes this book enjoyable to read:
“I used to be a big multitasker. I’d eat lunch while preparing a presentation, check email while talking on the phone, chop carrots while watching the news … and read the latest article on work-life conflict while standing in line at the grocery store.
“On the rare occasion when I was only doing one thing, my mind was usually doing something else. I would plan my day while walking the dog or driving to work. I would think about what I should blog about, what phone calls to make, or what to cook for dinner. Now I try to stay present in these moments. I’ve found that if I set aside a specific time in my day for planning, it helps me stay in the here and now at other times. I also practice mindfulness when I’m waiting for someone or am stuck in traffic. These are occasions that used to really frustrate me, but now I take a deep breath and try to appreciate a minute of calm. I feel grateful for a moment of being rather than doing.”
Beyond Happy is published by ATD Press. Watch this short video featuring Beth Cabrera, or read a sample chapter from the book. Follow the conversation on Twitter with #beyondhappy, or the author @bethcabrera.