For some of you, there might not be enough challenge and satisfaction in your work. Or the stress of experiencing a lack of work if you are freelance or in retail.
For others, there may be too many meetings or tasks packed into a tight schedule, too much anxiety associated with your work or underlying general fear rumbling away throughout your day.
For many, it’s essential to have time for enjoyment and relaxation, a chance to pursue a hobby or at the very least, to spend time with loved ones. So that’s often how we view the work-life balance.
It’s like a battle: WORK VS LIFE!
Yet it’s possible to shift your thinking about this. We forget WHY we are doing what we do.
What meaning and purpose do you give to your work? Or to your life?
Robert Holden suggests that the key to happiness is to remember what is important to you. So when you realise your work-life balance has toppled – you’ve become ill, stressed or unhappy with how your life is, think about these points:
a. Have you forgotten what is important?
b. You know what is important but you put your time, energy and attention elsewhere.
Yes, we do have to earn money to live, but what are your priorities, what is important to you in this life?
Some of us start out choosing work because we want to benefit the world or we enjoy many aspects of what we do. Isn’t it sad when we lose track of that? Over-stressed teachers and over-worked nurses enter their professions because they want to do some good in the world, knowing that they won’t become rich.
Perhaps you sometimes feel like this – over-stressed, overworked and you’ve lost sight of any meaning to your work.
This quote reminds us, that whatever you’re choosing to do, be present.
It might be time spent at work, at home, on holiday and with family. Strangely enough, we mostly don’t do this! We are often NOT present.
We get caught up in work, and then rush through to get out of it at the end of the day. We rush to go home and then we’re too exhausted to enjoy our ‘down-time’.
Waking up to your life means that you gain a bigger picture. It’s a bit like paramedics who go to a scene of disaster – they are trained and able to deal with the situation, maintaining calm and steadiness.
You can adopt a similar approach. While dealing with a client, attending a workshop or doing detailed manual work, you can take a second’s pause and focus on a couple of breaths. Bringing yourself back into the present moment in this way, allows you to stay calm and flow with whatever you’re presented with.
So, you have a lot to do – you can still do it mindfully
To be present opens up a spaciousness for you to move gracefully through your work.
As well as being mindful while you actually work, keep your day balanced with breathing spaces.
Balance your working day and become more alert to your mental and physical well-being.
Schedule mini breaks for a drink, lunch, a 10 minute walk out in the fresh air.
Train yourself to become more aware of what’s happening in your mind. Notice when you’re ruminating over concerns or you have switched off onto auto-pilot in a kind of zombie state.
This reduces your body’s stress response, so that while remaining busy with your work, you are not actually feeling stressed.
Continually pay attention to where your shoulders are. It’s common to discover that they’re hitched up with tension! Let them drop and relax.
Some tasks you’re doing might feel mundane. Mindfulness gives you the chance to be present and transform them into enjoyable or at least, satisfactory experiences.
You can do this at work or even as you do things like supermarket shopping, cleaning the bathroom or preparing a meal.
Your Life Balance
Take a look at your work-life balance, and decide perhaps it could become simply your life balance and wake up to being mindful whether at work or at home! And Annie Dillard sums it up:
How about trying 3 minutes of calm right now with this guided recording?
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Coach
Robert Holden: Happiness Now!
Janice Marturano: Finding the Space to Lead – A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership
Annie Dillard: The Writing Life