Janine Teo - Founder & CEO, Solve Education!
“By most people’s definition, I do not have a work-life balance, as I spent most of my time working. I think balance is something very personal, as long as you feel that you have balance in your life, then you have work-life balance. I choose to spend more of my time working, as my work fulfills my purpose in life.”
Elizabeth Tan - Co-Founder, Sight To Sky
“It’s really important for me to take time out for myself. I never doubt or feel guilty when I need time off as I learned that the best way for me to serve others is when I am well taken care of. I have a structured work-life balance where I give equal time to my work, family and social work. I do not compromise on the boundaries I have drawn for each part of my life to maintain a work-life balance. That has helped me a lot and create a sense of routine and structure that helps me stay productive and balanced.”
Adeline Thong - Co-Founder, The Last Resort
“I spend time on my Bible and pray to God; spend time in nature, with bird watching; gardening and spending time with my chickens. I also love to keep up with the housekeeping – cleaning, clearing clutter and fixing things. I destress by going to thrift stores too or even dumpster diving because I like the practice of seeing purpose and beauty in broken and discarded things. I take walks or go cycling. It’s also important for me to be part of a community, they offer much comfort and support when the going gets tough.”
Vivien Leong - Consultant, Ipli Architects
“I tend to consider the practice of architecture as a way of life rather than a job. As such, I quite enjoy the blurring of where work ends and where life starts. There is an aspect of architecture from which one can learn useful things that apply to life and vice versa. I enjoy finding solutions and executing them, once the problems are solved, the stress and tension go away. I wish that I can do my work from anywhere, at anytime, so that I have more flexibility to organise my life.”
Pamela Ting - Co-Founder, Scene Shang
“We laugh a lot in the office. I also make sure we stop to sip tea. Work-life balance is being able to choose what you want to do with your time in any given day. If it is to do work, it should be a conscious choice. If it is to spend time with kids, it should be a conscious choice.”
Cherin Tan - Founder & Creative Director, LAANK
“My three families help me cope with stress: Blood family, supportive husband and a core group of friends that go way back. These have been strong pillars of support. Having conversations with different people with different views have always helped me to reshape my perspectives in harder times.”
Tan Kheng Hua - Actress-Producer
“I have always depended on my great family; my parents, siblings, child, cousins, uncles, aunties. I have a great, great army. I am a very capable person so it’s not that I need them to do specific things for me. I need them to just be there, and they are. Always and forever. Knowing that makes me feel as if nothing is insurmountable. And that is a great gift to have in my life.”
Pooja Nansi - Festival Director, Singapore Writers Festival
“Exercise, a good vent on the phone with my best friend, and countless bottles of wine help me deal with stress. Being a freelancer means you learn how to manage your time pretty well, so I’ve been good about blocking out me time because ultimately that makes me a more productive human being.”
Karen Chan - Executive Director, Asian Film Archive
“I rant a little, have some dark chocolate and then get back to working. I suppose it is because I enjoy what I do that the stress doesn’t get to me the way it would if I did not enjoy the work. I try to keep my work and personal life quite distinct and I also allocate time for my family, friends and myself once I reach home. It is learning how to make time for different things and people.”
Dr Claudine Pang - Medical Director, Asia Retina Eye Surgery
“When I’m feeling acutely stressed, I pause for a moment to take a deep breath and remember that I need to pace myself, just like in a marathon, then I continue pushing on. For me, it’s the grateful smiles and encouraging words from my nicest patients that help me through the toughest days.
I try to balance being a full-time working mum and yet still try to see my kids often in the day. I like to be a ‘present parent’ so that my kids get to spend time with me and I get to find out about the details of their day. Most days, when I break for lunch, I make an effort to pick the kids up from school so I can be the first one to hear what they did in school that day. I have a quick lunch or snack with them before sending them off to a nap or an afternoon class. I make it a point to have dinner with them daily and put them to bed at night. It’s during these shared moments that they divulge to me their inner thoughts and feelings for the day. That’s what I enjoy the most!”
Dr Pan Yaozhang - Head of Data Science, Shopee
“Data Science is a very intellectually demanding job and it is vital for me to take steps to manage my stress levels by learning how to relax and taking time to recharge. Reading is my perfect idea of ‘me time’ and I usually spend around an hour reading every night after putting my children to sleep. It’s also a fantastic way for me to start my day and I make sure to always have my kindle on hand so I can read on my daily commute. At work, while it can be easy to want to be involved in every aspect of every task, I have to remember that it is unrealistic for one person to do it all and that my colleagues are more than capable of handling our team’s growing scope of work.
As a working mother, I believe work-life balance is an essential aspect of a healthy work environment. It is crucial for me to plan my time well so that I’m able to strike a healthy balance between work and family commitments. I aim to give all of my focus to my job while I’m at work and also be fully present for my children when I’m spending time with them. The key to achieving this is to increase efficiency and productivity at work so that I’m able to put my phone and laptop away when I’m with my family.”
Dr Andie Ang - Research Scientist, Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund
“I don’t necessarily see my work as a job, and so I often find myself working regardless of weekdays or weekends, day or night. I feel less stressed when I actually complete the work and so I could just keep doing it. I also play mahjong and tennis to de-stress.”
Cheryl Tan - Festival Director, Singapore Mental Health Film Festival
“I do a bunch of stuff – rock climb, knit, meditate, and of course my yoga and meditation practice. My weekly sessions with my therapist helps a great deal to speak about the week as it helps me recalibrate and digest any unresolved issues.
Stress is always a given, but there’s good and bad stress. Bad stress for me happens when I can feel myself sinking into a deep, dark negative hole that feels claustrophobic and extremely uncomfortable. I identify good stress when it motivates me to wake up every morning to get started on my work, and I know that I have the desire to keep the wheels moving.
But I have to admit that as a social entrepreneur, work-life balance is really tough and it takes true commitment towards self to do the bunch of stuff that makes me feel grounded. So I try to keep to some sort of schedule – I make appointments to do things like pottery and climb. Meditation and yoga practice happens most mornings before I get started with my day – and like my teacher, Mary Taylor says, even a five-minute practice is better than none at all.”
Nurshahidah Roslie - Professional Boxer
“I de-stress by taking a break sometimes. On weekends or on special occasions, I will make sure I make the effort to spend time with family and friends. After all, they are your pillar of success.”
Gillian Tee - Founder & CEO, Homage
“Because working on a startup can be all consuming, I’ve learnt to be very intentional about carving out time for rest, meditation as well as eating right in order to sustain myself and the focus I have to maintain. Each week I also dedicate time out for yoga, dance and strength training without fail. The exercise has been an important part of helping me deal with the stress that comes with running your own business. But I’m definitely still working on it and any tips will be welcome!”
Lim Hui Nan - Co-Founder, Empire Eats Group
“As most small business owners will tell you, work is a 24/7 endeavour – we never truly shut off, even when it may seem like we are at rest or at play. I never stop thinking about work – thankfully, I really love the subject matter of what I have devoted that headspace to the last four years!
Work-life balance takes on a very different meaning in entrepreneurship when you are personally vested. As owners, we are the last line of defence, where the proverbial buck stops at. I don’t think I have turned off from work in the last 4 years since I dived into this. But having said that, I do appreciate the flexibility and absolute control I have over how I want to spend my time.”
Shann Sok - Group CEO, Kingsland Development
“Stress is inevitable but I try to step away from the demands of work by going on short getaways, or by planning girls’ trips and spiritual pilgrimages. Of course, being around and playing with my three babies helps a lot too!”
Val Yap - Founder & CEO, PolicyPal
“I meditate, participate in spartan races, and go for long runs to clear my mind. I believe in taking small breaks such as going for a swim and having lunch with my family before catching up with work on the weekends. It is important that I have some time away from work, otherwise, I will burn out and it is not sustainable in the long run.”