Can We Achieve a Work-Life Balance?

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Today, stress levels are at an all-time high and most of us are in search of achieving that ideal work-life balance. HEALTH meets Priya Cima, Founder of wellness site mymedini.com to find out if  this can truly be achieved.

Today’s Reality

  • Balance doesn’t exist – there is no tightrope we get to walk on, no pinnacle we must maintain ourselves on, with all the elements of our lives falling on either side.
  • Equality is not possible – it  simply is not feasible or practical to think we can have equal amounts of time and energy for all the demands on our time.
  • No one-size fits all – each of us lives in our individual worlds with priorities, goals, and experiences. So how can there be a magic pill, or approach to this? We must each find our way to harmony according to the lives we live. Scenarios can be diverse; single parent, dual income parents, no children, extended family situations – all have different sets of needs that pull at us.
  • We cannot control the external – and this is something we all have the most difficult time accepting. We can only control our responses, and the choices we make for ourselves.

Taking the above facts into consideration, Cima says that it is not balance that individuals must strive for, but instead for harmony. “The pressures today are wide and varied, they pull on the individual across all the dimensions of their life; family, work, society, health, fears and expectations,” she explains and there is a strong belief in society that each person has a responsibility towards ensuring that they can “do it all, have it all”. While trying to satisfy these demands the focus is lost on the individual and people start believing in an external locus of control across the elements of their life.


The Problem

A common problem is that as people realize they do in fact need to focus on developing themselves as individuals to manage all the pressures/ expectations in their lives, they start to add more.
They begin to build up an expectation of taking “time out” for themselves, and when that doesn’t or can’t happen there’s more anxiety, stress, and pressure. It becomes an endless vicious cycle.

Advice

But what happens if we simply start accepting, and allowing ourselves to enjoy all that is in our lives, before we start looking at adding ways to manage them. The pressures we face today can be bundled into certain dimensions that may be easier and not so overwhelming to deal with:

Emotional

  • Let go of the negative feelings and absorb the happy ones.
  • Weigh your reactions against the situation.
  • Remember to feel gratitude.

    Mental

  • Take the time for mental “space” wherever you are and whatever the time.
  • Accept that stress is an internally controlled factor that is a response to external demands.
  • Use perspective and remember the bigger picture to put negative emotions in their place by reminding yourself of the ultimate objective.

    Physical

    Sleep to get rest, using LED lights, decreasing ambient noise, keeping the room temperature pleasant.
    Eat healthy and the right food for your body. Choose healthy options that satisfy your taste.
    Give up the “fad” diets and learn what you put into your body. Exercise daily, even if it is choosing stairs over elevators, a longer walk to a parked car.
    Use standing work stations or the exercise ball instead of a desk chair when working long hours.

    Social

  • Ask for help and build a support system.
  • Live the moment. Each moment in our life brings something into it and maintaining this idea satisfies this notion we have been inculcated with that all time has to be spent usefully.

    In Conclusion

  • Change what you can, not what you think you must.
  • Address stress as an internally controlled factor.
  • Make mistakes, learn from them, put them behind and move ahead.
  • Live life
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