By Kelli McMillan
Women! We are caretakers, educators, celebrators, multitaskers and creative leaders. We extend 24 hours into infinity and beyond to pack in more projects. Even with all of these superpowers, women are dropping out of the workforce in record numbers since the start of the pandemic. Ninety percent of jobs lost in the fourth quarter of 2020 were held by women. The term “She-cession” was coined to describe the phenomenon. Multiple experts say that the full impact of the She-cession won’t begin to correct until 2024.
The impact of the pandemic is also difficult on women in high-performing and time-consuming industries where they aren’t among many female peers. During this season of uncertainty, personalized self-care practices are vital to achieving balance and prioritizing yourself to make way for your passions.
Here are four things you can do to find balance:
- Be a Challenger – We are the changemakers that pave the way for the women coming behind us. Keeping with the International Women’s Day 2021 theme, “A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change.” Self-assess your passions, your personal/professional goals and your top priorities. Challenge yourself to achieve them. Make your aspirations tangible by creating an action plan and holding yourself accountable.
- Set Boundaries – Learn to prioritize and get comfortable with saying no! If the tasks you’re asked to take on don’t align with your career path or family goals, it’s OK to decline or reframe. “Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A guide to Reclaiming Yourself” by Nedra Glover Tawwab outlines how to set boundaries in a way that doesn’t feel selfish.
- Rest – Invest in yourself! Take time to recharge and regroup, so you show up as your best self. Whether it’s a gratitude practice, meditation, yoga, or simply a nap, rest is vital! If you have more free time, invest in yourself by joining a book club, volunteering, or finishing your degree.
- Reconnect with Your Tribe – You know who they are! They have your back, stand in the gap, and hold you accountable to your dreams! In this season of minimal human interaction, take the time to check-in with your tribe. A quick hello or a socially distant walk could be the highlight of your day – and theirs!
We have earned our titles and exemplify thought leadership; however, we’re not indebted to our careers. Find a daily practice that resonates with your being so that you can avoid burnout and pour from a filled cup.
About the Author
Kelli Ballou-McMillan is a National Partner Manager at Five9, responsible for client success and growth strategies. Outside of her professional career, McMillan devotes time to inclusion and diversity programs. She is the Founder and Chair of Xposure Inclusion & Diversity Council, an organization that offers a collaborative space for those in technology to access career-changing resources, education, mentorship and outreach opportunities. In addition, McMillan is the Co-chair of ACW’s new DEI Committee.