- Blair Brandt
Balancing a new baby with a fast-paced career is quite a feat. Just ask any working parent.
So how can you avoid burning out in both your family and professional lives?
Brandt told Business Insider that, in general, it’s best to accept that moderate stress is going to be a part of any life – especially as you begin balancing family and work responsibilities in your 20s and 30s.
That’s why it’s better to be proactive about stress. As 29-year-old Brandt said, mental wellness is just as important to your overall health as physical exercise and eating right.
“So many people get stressed out and they try to find things to do to remove that stress,” he said. “What you really should be doing is setting up a lifestyle, process, or routine so you never get to that place where you’re completely overwhelmed. In the world we’re living in, there is a lot of anxiety. There’s an overwhelming nature to all the stimulus and responsibilities our generation’s being given on the track to career and family growth. Setting aside some time and working on your mental stability is, I think, important.”
Here are Brandt’s best strategies to balance family life with a fast-paced career without sacrificing his mental health:
1. Carve out time to reflect
Despite his busy schedule, Brandt manages to get in 10 to 40 minutes of meditation every day. How does he do it?
Well, it’s all about taking advantage of “dead time.” Brandt meditates on his commute to work, instead of listening to music or taking phone calls. He recommends reflecting or meditating while you’re riding the subway or driving to work (note that in the case of drivers, mediation can be done with your eyes wide open!).
“I think a lot of people waste that time checking their Facebook newsfeed,” he said.
“Close your eyes instead of listening to your favorite station or taking a phone call,” he said. “Block off ten minutes to go through one of the programs. And then do the same thing on the way home.”
2. Prioritize sleep
Brandt said that many millennials don’t prioritize sleep in their quest to get everything done. This can end up seriously backfiring, leading to health issues and burnout.
In order to prioritize sleep, Brandt has cut back on coffee and alcohol – which can both mess with sleep. He has also started going to bed an hour earlier and hits the books instead of reaching for the remote.
“Swap your late night show, Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel, for a good book,” Brandt said. “Whether it be a relaxing book by Ernest Hemingway or a Tony Robbins book, I think that people often find they’ll be less stimulated, more relaxed, and become more ready to sleep if they just make that one adjustment in that 20 to 30 minutes before bed.”
3. Stick to an ironclad schedule
Brandt knows firsthand that juggling everything can be a “tricky process.”
“What I try to do is just carve out certain times of the day, based on the baby’s schedule, where I get to spend quality time with him,” he said. “I know it’s not going to be all day, but if I wake up in the morning, before I go to the gym, I might have 30 minutes right there where I’m just hanging out and feeding him and burping him. At night, when I get back, I try to get back by a certain time, around eight o’clock. I know that he goes to sleep at nine, so I’ll come home and really dedicate that time to him.”
Brandt said that setting out specific time for everything – especially spending time with your child – is crucial.
“Be cognizant about the fact that you have to schedule time with your child, just like anything else in life,” he said. “Otherwise it passes you by, because you are just constantly missing each other.”