Focusing on a work life balance has grown in popularity the past few years, and it’s easy to understand why.

Maintaining a full-time job, being available for your family, and pursuing a passion to release stress and calm your mind through yoga offers great benefits: a steady paycheck, a loving family dynamic, and the opportunity to grow stronger mentally and physically.

And while there is a lot to gain in beginning a yoga practice, there is often sacrifice.

Here at Flow Yoga, we know a thing or two about balancing a full-time job and chilling out.

Most of our teachers have worked a few 9-5 jobs while we worked to get our yoga certifications and pursue a passion to help people.

We understand the time and energy that goes into balancing a full-time job and a part-time “me” project.

So we rounded up some practical ways that we’ve been able to keep our heads above water and maintain our sanity in the process.

1 | Consider your end goal

If we’re being honest here, does anyone ever plan to start taking care of themselves?

Many of us have stumbled into a yoga class because our job sucks or because a friend invited us to try it out.

That being said, it’s easy to jump into a mindful movement practice without any idea of why you are there and what your long-term goals are.

It’s helpful to think through questions like:

  • What is your long-term vision for self-growth?
  • What habits or behaviors do you want to nix in the next 5 years? 10 years?
  • How do you envision yourself happy, healthy, safe, and living a life of ease?

Questions like these can be a little overwhelming, but they’ll give you an idea as to why your time on the mat is important to you and allow you to think through smaller actions you can take to get you to your end goals.

Because our goals can often be vague, we can use the SMART acronym to make them more specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-bound (even though personal growth sometimes has it’s own agenda).

When you think through exactly what you want to achieve and set a goal in place to get you there, you put yourself in a better position to achieve them.

However you go about it, make sure to set aside time to consider the end game.

Not only will long-term goals give you fresh perspective on your additional time away from work and family; they’ll also provide you with a little extra motivation when the stress, anxiety, and self-doubt start creeping in.

2 | Give yourself permission to recharge

Working a full-time job and taking care of the family is exhausting.

You may have to commute a long distance, interface with coworkers who make your life a little less than pleasant, take direction from a boss whose leadership style you disagree with, adhere to rules you think are pointless attend meetings that could have been summed up in an email, and meet deadlines you have absolutely no time to finish…and that’s all before lunch!

Burnout is real, especially when you’re working 9-5 and driving the kids to soccer and dance classes during your off hours.

And when you’re exhausted and running on empty, your work and family will suffer. It’s important to take time to rest.

So once you get home from your full-time gig, give yourself some time to recharge.

An hour of yoga to clear your head, grab a snack, and spend some time in silence outdoors are great ways to help you jump back into the crazy world and maximize your time elsewhere.

3 | Create a schedule

Organization is key to maximizing your limited time as a full-time employee and parent, and part-time yogi. You have to be diligent by creating a schedule and stick to it.

Creating a schedule for your yoga practice can take on many forms.

Maybe you want to reverse the effects of sitting in an chair all day and strengthen the muscles of the back body, or you want to find more flexibility in areas that cause you discomfort. These goals don’t happen by taking one class per week. Consider the time it will take to reach these goals and determine how many classes per week you will need to take in order to get there – if you’re not sure, ask your yoga teacher!

A helpful mindshift that may enable you to take advantage of your limited time is Parkinson’s Law.

Parkinson’s Law is the idea that work expands to fill the time available for it’s completion.

For example, if you have one hour to write a detailed report, you will write it in one hour. But if you have eight hours to write a detailed report, it’s easy to stretch out the amount of time to write the report for far past one hour.

Stop thinking about your limited time as an excuse and use your limited time as an advantage to get more done!

4 | Leverage your full-time job to focus more time on your personal growth

Most full-time jobs pay for professional development and work life balance courses like counseling, conferences, and workshops.

So consider these opportunities to educate yourself – and potentially find more tools for a work life balance while your company picks up the bill.

One the other side of the coin, you will be developing skills that will help you with your health and wellness goals as well.

Not only are you honoring your personal skills for growth, you can bring these skills to your full-time job.

Starting to care for yourself while working a full-time job is no easy task.

But creating long terms goals, giving yourself permission to recharge, creating a schedule, and leveraging your full-time benefits will help you make the most of your time during this season and get you to where you want to be.

Best wishes – we’re rooting for you!

Are you working a full-time job while pursuing personal growth and development through yoga or other wellness options? What are some practical ways you keep your head above water?