I am on my last day of holidays following a fabulous break in Scotland (hence a slightly later blog post then normal).
"advocates for well-being" such as coaches/therapists/counsellors/mindful practitioners and Yogi's. We are always harping on about work-life balance and there is a reason for this.... the focus here is optimising your enjoyment and capacity for a peaceful and healthy life.
I have a confession! I used to get the balance terribly wrong! These were the "gooey" years when day and night merged and work and life were one or more of the same thing.... Where time was no friendly companion to make use of, but often deceived the day that stole focus and purpose.
Functioning on Adrenaline at this level can put us into the fight/flight reaction I talked about in last weeks blog and it's not the best way to keep yourself resourced.
Common factors in the tipping point of work/life include.
- Staying late at work regularly
- Taking on more than you need to/can manage.
- Avoiding asking for help.
- Cancelling life stuff because you are too tired from work.
- Disrupted sleep/thinking about work at night time.
People can also experience.
- Physical health issues and feeling run down.
- Anxiety/worry/feeling depressed Or feeling teary or tetchy.
- Isolating self from the things that make you feel good.
- Feeling dissociated, dream like or out of touch with reality.
These days, if I feel like things are tipping in the wrong direction, I am quick to pounce (or dance) into action... and get me some serious relaxation and rest time. This ensures the eb and flow of work and life are more harmonised meaning I am too.
The good news is that we can all learn the right balance for ourselves. Set new boundaries that include respect and well-being at the forefront of our actions and figure out our trigger points, the signs when we are not keeping the right balance for us, so we can act swiftly to put things right and be kinder to ourselves.
It's no surprise that optimising time for well-being means we have more energy, motivation and focus for tasks at work too. (win-win)
This past week I have been optimising the "life" side of the work/life equilibrium.... which gives me all the power and vavavoom for the work stuff (with plenty of exciting opportunities in the upcoming months).
This included reading, walking (lots of walking), dancing and singing, family time, sorting "stuff", new bedding (ah perfection), Pilates.... ice cold water...ice-cream, photography... arranging to see friends, campfires, paddling in the sea and so much more.
Work/life balance will be unique for everyone of us. It's important to discover this for yourself.
Know your parameters. Think about what you gain from being in each space, from doing the tasks and activities in each. Where possible, drawing a line between work and life activities (often a little more practice is required for those working from home/in senior roles or self employed). ... it's very doable if you want that for you.
Sometime clients will sheepishly say to me, " well you will probably tell me off but I read my emails on an evening"...waiting for some sort of me to get on my work/life soap box and remedy their routine (PS it's rare I would tell you off if you break your rules...you will do "telling off" for yourself I am sure!)......
However, in one conversation the explanation continues " This means I get to put my kids to bed and spend dinner with my partner" .... oooh how lovely I respond.... I appreciate that in reality there needs to be a little give and take in creating the balance for some.....
Think of work/life balance being a bit like making a cake or mixing up some cement.... the ingredients need to be the right mix, the cement components mixed in the right measure for the substance to have substance......
So, when exploring your perfect balance here are a few things I found really helpful.
Time for head space - particularly near bed time.
Time for fun and laughter.
Time for nature and fresh air.
Sharing Ideas and ask for help.
Time for learning.
Generating positivity & energy (those happy hormones such as Oxycontin/Serotonin/Dopamine) which come from exercise/interactions/hobbies/activity.
Space for creativity (if that creativity comes to you at midnight there are techniques and resources you can optimise to balance out the genius ideas with a well-formed sleep pattern).
Attune priorities and values and find your comfort zone in the "good enough" narrative - (perfectionism is nothing but a continuous quest)!
And remember a key component is that you found the right work space for you to get the balance right.
Delight in being a master of your own work/life equilibrium!
Enjoy your new habits.
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