‘Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.’ ~ Dolly Parton.
Day 4: Our focus today is LIFE BALANCE.
There is a lot of data that shows that when people are stressed, they are less productive than when they are calm and relaxed. This is certainly true. A lot is said about the elusive ‘work-life balance’. Our view is that an exact ‘balance’ of work and life every day is almost impossible, although it IS possible to aim for life balance and equilibrium.
We have one life, and Life Balance is our 4th driver of wellbeing. It includes rest, relaxation, leisure, hobbies, creativity, and all ways in which individuals are able to recharge, recover and reset. It could be time spent alone, or socialising with friends and family. It may be time absorbed in a hobby or favourite pastime, training for a marathon, helping a neighbour, going to church, or we may decide to spend quality time listening to music, reading, or doing nothing at all.
It is an individual choice what we do to relax, although the fact that this time is spent re-fuelling ourselves can help us be more present in our professional and family lives. It gives our bodies and brains the time to recover and recuperate. This is not selfish, it is essential. In the same way as a rest day in an exercise regime means doing light activities and varying one’s training schedule to include active recovery, muscles recover, adapt and become stronger, so spending time away from work, at rest or involved in a leisure activity of choice, allows your body, and brain, the same chance to regenerate.
Your phone doesn’t work when the battery is low ... why should you?
Developing a REST ethic
It is so important we develop a solid REST ethic. In the same way as a well-honed work ethic is often deemed essential to success, so a solid rest ethic gifts us many things. It brings inspiration, ideas, and recovery, it restores energy, and allows us to rebuild enthusiasm and sustain focus and passion. It works wonders in giving us a fresh perspective, sparks creativity, and enables ideas to flourish. It is therefore equally essential to our success.
So, in the same way as we schedule a meeting at work, rest or downtime needs to be scheduled in and adhered to. How much downtime will you build in to your day today, and every day? Even a quick and hugely rewarding 15 minutes here and there.
No time? Surely you can find just ten or 15 minutes per day to do something for you? They do say, that if you can’t find ten minutes each day to meditate or even to relax, then you should do it for at least 20 or 30 minutes each day! Your body will thank you. So why wait? This is completely within your control. Just ten or 15 minutes. Surely you’re worth it. It’s either important, or it’s not. You choose.
‘The time to relax is when you have no time for it.’ ~ Sydney J. Harris
You may feel unable to find the time to relax as you are acutely stressed. Stress is a normal part of modern day life. It usually occurs when we think the issue is greater than the resources we have available to resolve it. We may not be able to change this, although we CAN control how we respond. It helps to discern between what we can change, what we can influence, and what is out of our control. If it’s beyond our control, LET IT GO.
In a world that still celebrates ‘busyness’, there is an underlying belief that we must always be on the move to be productive. Relaxing can even be frowned upon. However, setting aside time for ourselves can actually enable us to be even MORE productive. We all know this, of course, we do, but how many times do we actually stop?
Slowing down keeps us calm and focused and more able to think clearly, and so helps to reduce our stress levels. This is especially so when confronted with any kind of trauma, such as the disruptive times we have recently endured.
It is our hope that the focus on wellbeing during World WellBeing Week will inspire you to develop your own unique roadmap, strategies and tools to support yourself, both in your day to day life and in times of anxiety.
So ... this evening, stop, refresh, relax and you will find you are more able to cope with whatever is on your plate. Please try it and let us know!
Sometimes, it isn’t possible to physically stop and break away ... so what then?
When things feel overwhelming, remember to breathe! The 4-7-8 breathing technique helped me through numerous cancer biopsies so hopefully it will help you too. Take one thought at a time, one task at a time, one day at a time. You can do this. We’ll have more about belief tomorrow for Day 5.
Meantime … ‘For fast acting relief, try slowing down’ ~ Lily Tomlin.
What’s Going on Around the World for World WellBeing Week?
There are LOTS of events and activities going on to mark World WellBeing Week, in the Channel Islands, around the UK, in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Yorkshire, Tyne & Wear, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, West Midlands, Nottingham, Huntingdon, Maidstone, Bristol, Devon, London, Horsham, Brighton and Eastbourne, you name it, also in Spain, Abu Dhabi, Cape Town, Malaysia, and several groups in Australia. The NHS is getting involved, CIPD, Mind, the Police, the very young and the very young at heart, with events, wellbeing tips, and charities raising much needed funds.
We’re now on Day 4 and it’s getting harder and harder to keep up with all of the posts, messages and activities; on Day 1 and on Twitter alone, we achieved a social media reach of almost half a million, so by Day 10, many millions will have been reached all over the world, which is just wonderful. If you would like to see the posts and activity, search online or on social media for #worldwellbeingweek – and of course, if you have your own events, please include the hashtag so we can like and share.
View our WellBeing World magazine by clicking the pages below.