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Life Balance

Work Life Balance – or is it Life Balance?

Balance is a state of equilibrium that is inherent in the human condition. Yet our world is out of balance and it is for this reason that so many of us feel imbalanced. Our lives are impacted by constant change, speed, uncertainty, new technologies, globalisation and the associated demands that ignore basic human needs.

The result of imbalance is increased stress and its associated conditions. It is estimated that health-related absenteeism costs Australian businesses about $7bn a year.

Work life balance is traditionally interpreted as a balance between work and life as if there is always a clear divide between the two. Initiatives to bring about more balance for employees focus on the provision of solutions such as flexible work arrangements, health and wellness programs, in-house childcare and perhaps even telecommuting, and are all-too-often underpinned only by the need for increased productivity and the bottom line.

These solutions are important and necessary. They go a long way towards organisational and individual wellbeing but they do not necessarily address the ever-increasing imbalance experienced by individuals.  

Life balance is about feeling that we have our own freedom balanced with the discipline required to meet the demands and obligations we are facing. Finding the right balance in life has become a universal challenge for many of us. As much of our time and attention is focussed on our work or our business we may end up paying little or no attention to other areas in our lives.

How do yo know when your life is not balanced? Here are some questions you can ask yourself. Do you:

  • Have little time for your important relationships, such as family and friends?
  • Often work overtime and engage in regular work-away-from work?
  • Take few or no breaks while working?
  • Complain about having too much to do, are forgetful, regularly make mistakes?
  • Have no interests or hobbies, or have no time to engage in these?
  • Exercise little or not at all?
  • Have difficulty falling asleep or not get enough sleep?
  • Eat the wrong food and/or eat too much?
  • Regularly use stimulants (coffee, cigarettes), or drugs such as alcohol to help you wind down?

Life balance is about successfully and joyfully managing and living our lives. It is about balance between the extremes – between order and chaos, moving and standing still, work and leisure. It is about having a feeling of control over knowing when to shift from one to the other and being able to do so.

Life balance, at its core, is about being balanced within and feeling connected with ourselves and with our environment in a synchronised way. It is about being ‘in sync’ and being whole. Being in sync dramatically reduces stress as long as it takes into consideration all four elements of our lives:

  • Body, mind and spirit: These are not separate things but part of a whole. The equilibrium between these plays a tremendously important role.
  • Family and relationships: Every friendship, every successful partnership – privately and at work, is essential for your wellbeing and a balanced life. Good relationships even prolong life.
  • Life’s purpose: If your life is without purpose, it is with little meaning. A life without purpose is stressful.
  • Work and achievement: Even if we love our work and are fully engaged in it, we may experience imbalance. We may be successful and so achievement focussed that we are close to reaching a point of burnout.

If there is too much importance attached to any one of those major elements, our state of equilibrium will have shifted to one of imbalance, without us necessarily being aware of it.

Balance starts with our relationship to our own minds. Thinking too much, thinking negatively, being in the present only with our body but not with our mind, are sure signs that we have to learn to re-discover our equilibrium in life. Applying mindful strategies helps us to positively shift towards being more engaged with life.

What’s next?

Find out how Mindful Strategies can help. Explore this website. If you are interested in a free introductory consultation or simply require further information, please contact us at info@mindfulstrategies.com.au

A good way of addressing this topic at your workplace could be a talk during one of your staff meetings or as a breakfast or lunchtime seminar. We deliver one-hour talks to generate awareness about the importance of life balance and provide practical tips on how to achieve more balance. One hour can offer you a simple yet highly effective starting point towards increased health and wellbeing for yourself and your staff.

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