Particularly in our fast-paced society, finding the balance between our home and work responsibilities, and our commitment to our own wellness, can be difficult. Yet, finding that balance is vital for our health and happiness. Perhaps not surprisingly, a 2017 piece for The Telegraph describes our current “stress epidemic” in detail, noting that four out of five people admitted to feeling stressed throughout the week — nearly everyone! The article goes on to explain that much of this increased stress level comes from the overly connected world in which we live.
There’s no question that technology has changed our world in both positive and negative ways. In fact, the Internet and smartphones can actually help us to be more mindful, more aware, and more positively connected thanks to blogs, dedicated apps, and more. However, since it seems nearly everyone has a smartphone in their pocket these days, this constant connection also means that the workday never really has to end. We can so easily continue to take phone calls, check email, complete assignments, and basically never shut-down at the end of our allotted work time. This extra stress carries over into our other responsibilities, from cleaning the house to caring for the kids.
Without balance, our health and relationships can begin to suffer. Our work life can also slip through the cracks, as never having a break actually damages our productivity. Our brains and bodies need opportunities to refresh and reset in order to be the best that we can be in all of these meaningful aspects of our lives.
Finding Balance at Work and at Home
Whether you work from home or you go to an office, you must allow yourself proper time to recharge. No matter how strong the temptation, don’t allow your workday to continue into your weekend. This may be especially difficult if you work from home, as you are literally surrounded by your work environment. Regardless of your work responsibilities, make a realistic schedule for yourself and follow it. Remember that you’ll actually be less productive if you never give yourself time away from work.
During those off hours, resist the urge to respond to work-related matters, and instead, engage in a hobby or activity that you enjoy. Spend time with family and friends. Maybe take the kids on a hike or go for a walk solo. Both exercise and spending time in nature are time-proven ways to reduce stress and calm the mind.
You might also want to participate in activities that have been shown to have a strong impact on stress reduction. Reading, for instance, is not only good for the mind, but an excellent meditative and relaxation practise, as well. For something a little more physical, consider a class in Tai Chi, a workout that strengthens the body and re-focuses the mind.
Don’t minimise the impact of healthy eating and proper sleep, as well. If you have trouble sleeping, try adding specific, sleep-encouraging (and clean air promoting) plants to your bedroom.
Incorporate Wellness Into Your Entire Life
As you start to shift your life towards a focus on wellness, one of the first emotions you might feel is guilt. When we hear our phones ping with the receipt of another unanswered work email on the weekend, or when we go to an exercise class without folding the laundry first, it’s easy to feel like we should be doing these other things instead. But, ideally, wellness should be incorporated into your entire life, and it is this devotion to your health and well-being that will make you better at all of life’s responsibilities. So, allow yourself that time, and remember that no one functions at their peak when riddled with stress.
If you’ve ever spent time on Pinterest or Instagram, you may have come across “mood boards.” Mood boards are collages filled with quotes and photographs that inspire. Surrounding ourselves with messages that resonate with us can help keep us focused on our wellness goals. I love this simple art piece that reminds us, “Life is a beautiful ride — it’s all about balance.” Indeed, putting our mental and physical health first allows us to give much more fully to our life responsibilities.
How do you maintain a work-life balance? Are there certain mantras or quotes that uplift and inspire you?
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