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Back to Work Balance: Strategies for a Successful September

I don't know about you, but every September feels like the start of a new year for me. The bright sunny days and crisp, fresh mornings energise me, and my soul feels wonderfully light and hopeful.

I generally still operate on an academic calendar - probably because I've spent so much of my life either in, or working with, educational organisations - but I know that with children in England and Wales going back to school next week, lots of parents think this way too. Not to mention their desperation for the long awaited headspace the return to school usually brings them!

Alongside overcoming anxiety, managing negative thoughts and improving wellbeing, helping people create balance in their lives is one of the main things I coach people to achieve, so I thought I'd share a few tips to help you rebalance your life this September.

Here are four things you can do:

woven ribbon representing integrate, woman letting go of a balloon, overworked man in office trying to prioritise, hand holding a magnifying glass to explore

1. Integrate

Stop thinking about your work, personal time, social time and family life as separate. It's all life. They don't need to compete against each other, nor do you have to make time for all of them all the time. Instead, focus on applying your personal values across all areas. If socialising is important to you, look for opportunities to collaborate at work, or make time to socialise at lunch. If having quiet time is a top value, make time to escape and go for a walk. When you start to think about your life holistically it becomes easier to create balance.

2. Let Go

It might feel counterintuitive, but sometimes you have to let go of control to find balance. Don't overthink the time spent on different tasks. You might have heard the saying, 'procrastination is the thief of time', well, so is overthinking. It often leads to worry, frustration and anger, so try to focus on the give and take instead. Sometimes you will have to work late, or deal with a family crisis, but that is often balanced out by leaving early another day, or making time for some fun.

3. Prioritise

When you know what is important to you it is easier to create balance. In order to make time for the things you value, you may have to let go of some other things. Often my clients find that the things they let go of are driven by other people's expectations or their perception of social expectations. They tend to manifest as a thought trap that starts with the word ‘should’. What do you do that you think you ‘should’ do rather than what you want to do? When you start to place less importance on what other people think, you will create greater balance towards what matters to you.

4. Explore

One of the most common patterns I’ve observed in people is a tendency to avoid engaging with their thoughts. Some researchers have suggested that this disconnect has led to our society self-medicating with TV, gaming, doom-scrolling on social media, in an effort to silence uncomfortable thoughts and feelings.

In reality, this avoidance, distraction and escape can lead to an increase in stress, anxiety and depression and is perfectly represented by the phrase ‘What you resist, persists’. Instead, learn about common thought traps (visit my resources page for a download) and teach yourself to recognise when your thoughts are getting stuck. Common traps include catastrophising, mind-reading and over-generalising, and are fairly easy to recognise.

While you are learning about your thoughts, try to name your emotions too and be specific. You might be feeling ‘rubbish’, but what does that mean? Down? Sad? Lonely? Exhausted or fatigued? Being specific allows you to communicate more accurately and link your thoughts to specific emotions and behaviours.

Pebbles balanced in a tower on a turquoise background, quote from Leo Babauta reads 'Be a curator of your life. Slowly cut things out until you're left with only what you love, with what's necessary and with what makes you happy.'


As we move towards the final quarter of the year, look for ways to integrate your core values across all aspects of your life and embrace the give and take that comes from living a full life. Let go of things that do not bring you joy, satisfaction or challenge, and identify where you could release other people's expectations to make time for what matters to you. Learn about your thoughts and feelings by increasing self-awareness. This will give you greater control over where you direct your energy and can help you find balance and lightness of mind this September.


Smiling blog author Tamara Judge standing in front of a turquoise panelled wall

Author: Tamara Judge

Bio: Tamara is a positive psychology consultant, coach and the founder of Keystone Coaching. She combines her expert knowledge in multidimensional positive psychology and coaching with her lived experience of rheumatoid arthritis to help professionals with chronic illness to thrive in their life and career. Tamara is passionate about raising the profile of wellbeing for professionals with autoimmune conditions, and empowering individuals & leaders to support, actively engage in & value opportunities for self-care.

She is an accredited coach and mentor at Senior Practitioner Level with the EMCC, holds an MSc in Applied Positive Psychology & Coaching Psychology from the University of East London and is a qualified Mindfulness & Meditation Teacher.


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