FOR many people, the concept of a complete work-life balance may well be a myth. It’s something I thought myself for more than a few years, trudging up and down the N7 to and from Dublin every day, rising early and returning home with enough time to get ready for the next day and very little else.
However, in her debut book Women, Work and Wellness, Kildare author Mary MacRory offers a practical guide for busy working women (male readers are also welcomed) to achieve a happier, more stress-free personal and professional life.
Originally from England and now based in Kilteel, Ms MacRory has been there herself, juggling a high-level role as a finance director in Dublin while raising two young children – she told me how she recalls often visiting Tesco in Newbridge at 11pm on a Friday night.
Eventually, she stepped out of that world in search of a more balanced lifestyle. She now works as a business and life coach, advising people and organisations on how they can be happier and healthier without giving up on the satisfaction that comes with work. She’s also a director in her husband’s business, looking after some accountancy work from home at her own pace, something she says she should have been doing years ago.
“I think people should be aware of their potential,” she explained when asked about key themes readers should take away from the book, advising that people use a vision board (a board with images and text displaying what you want, where you see it often) rather than simply setting goals. “I never thought for one second, for instance, [that] I would write a book. And I had a little photo on my vision board of Dove Cottage in the Lake District where Wordsworth wrote most of his really good poetry.”
Minding your energy, she said, is also important. “If you had spoken to me three years ago I would have said it was a load of tosh about your energy,” Ms MacRory explained. “But you do need to mind your energy. You can be drained by people, you can be drained by situations, so you need to be mindful and look after your energy, not just your physical, mental and emotional health.”
Topics covered in the book include identifying and changing negative behaviours and beliefs, succeeding in the corporate world, self-care, and effectively managing time, procrastination and stress.
“I do know there are a lot of women who are really stressed to the very ends of their existence and they do need a bit of support,” the author said, adding that she would have loved to read this book when she was in her mid-twenties.
It won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, she acknowledges, but if its target audience gains solace or help from the book it will have achieved its aims.
“The book is there now,” she said, “and I hope it helps people.”
Women, Work and Wellness is currently available on Amazon in paperback, hardback and ebook format, and will also be available from Waterstones and Eason and as an audiobook.