Balance is the key to life. Work is a very important area of life. We invest our creativity, our hard work, our commitment in our careers. We start focusing on our work life at a very young age when in schools we are asked to write about “what would I want to become when I grow up” kind of essays. So at the work front most people seem to take commitment very naturally. But we are not trained to focus on subtle aspects of life. Focusing on that takes a whole deal of awareness, choice, and questions. When we are growing up we cherish our time spent at home as well. As kids, going out with parents for movies, shopping, watching games, all become a part of our cherished memories. At home front every small thing counts, holidays, weddings, festivals, funerals.
When we start our career we are genuinely committed. Then as time passes we seek a romantic partner, we seek kids, a home, a comfortable life. That’s when balance steps in. We are sometimes too focused in one area more than other. Sometimes one area demands a great deal of our attention and other area feels neglected.
For example, if a person is nearing a promotion and has to show a lot of commitment in training for the new added responsibility but at the same time is required to help their kids in study/sports, or required to take care of their parents as well.
Such situations can be challenging and stressful for anyone and requires a balance. We are sometimes giving a lot of us to everyone around us but to ourselves. Sad thing is we are not taught how to handle such situation is schools itself. I personally believe if we are taught a little bit more about the practical and realistic aspects of life in schools it will be easy for us to incorporate it in our mind. Nevertheless I believe balance is an attitude rather than a skill. We can cultivate this attitude within us.
The first step is to learn healthy stress management techniques. As work life balance is disturbed, first thing we experience is stress. If we experience prolong stress it leads to health complications. So the first and foremost skill we all need is healthy stress management skills. Here are a few things to consider in stress management and finding a balance in life:
- Meditation: Sit down every morning for 30 minutes with an intention that I am allowing a 30 minutes of nothingness to myself. In a goal driven system meditation should at least be goal free. You can put an alarm of 30 minutes while you sit straight cross legged and simply focus on your breath. 30 minutes of nothingness will train your mind to slow down and be less reactive, to watch and maybe not react at all if not required, be proactive instead, and to take a break in essence.
- Breathing: A friend of mine once went backpacking on his bike for a month solo. He lived in different places in different cities and came back a changed man. One of the things he noticed in this solo journey was that he wasn’t taking a full breath at all, all his life. In that journey he realized his breath was too shallow. We need to take 2 minutes break every 1 hour and close our eyes just to focus on our breath. I promise you it will be amazing.
- Awareness: We live our life a lot on auto pilot. We have fixed schedules of what we are doing every work day and every day off. It helps when we stop to ask a few questions about our routines. What would I do in this situation if I am truly being me?
- Being present: We worry about home at work and we stress about work related issues at home. So we are never truly present in the moment thereby getting robbed of some very precious moments of our life. Living in present is probably the most important step in learning the balance of life. Like most things in life, the ability to be in present moment can come with setting an intention, practicing it over and over again and enjoying the feel of it. The whole ‘being in present moment’ thing will be then anchored in your reality.
- Happiness: Happiness is also an attitude rather than a goal. By choosing to be happy in this moment we can help achieve a balance and feel content. It also helps us to be more motivated in life to do more if we choose to be happy.
There are many ways to seek a balance in life. One way will work for you more than others. Happy exploring your way to seek balance!
Nazish is a clinical psychologist with a post-graduation certificate in psychodynamic approaches to counseling from Bangor University, Wales, and UK. She combines her professional expertise with holistic healing approaches in order achieve fascinating and breakthrough results for her clients.