For as long as I can remember work life balance has been a topic for discussion but over the past 5 years it seems to take up a lot more air time. This is a topic that owners and company leaders are really starting to take seriously and health benefits are becoming a standard part of employee packages. Private healthcare, gym memberships, running clubs, and even (in very forward thinking companies) mindfulness and meditations rooms are much more prevalent than even a decade ago.
One of, if not the biggest area people come to coaching, is to reach more balance. Why do I do what I do? Who is it for? What does it mean? Does it mean anything to me? What do I want? These are very common questions and they take a lot of work and self-reflection to come to answers that are truly resonant.
In our 24/7 world, burnout is (dangerously) becoming increasingly more common, and time spent away from the constant activity and stresses of daily life is less and less. This causes huge strain on our adrenal gland and there are now millions of people all over the world that suffer from adrenal fatigue. In serious cases the adrenal gland is so diminished that people cannot get out of bed for more than a few hours a day. It is caused from prolonged stress – physical, emotional and psychological.
I recently read an article by Richard Branson about work life balance and in it was the following;
‘One of the best pieces of advice I have learned over the past 50 years in business is that to combat burnout we all need to add another bullet point to our growing to do list- ‘to be’
Thank you! I literally spend my life teaching this to my clients! One of the most important pieces of coaching is to balance out the tasks and all the thing we are doing, with taking time to reflect on who we are being; what do we love? What fulfils us? How do we relax? How to get back to our core? What do we value? We are human beings, not human doings.
When all’s said and done, will that meeting that you missed your mother’s /child’s / friend’s birthday for, have been worth it? Will a huge bank account and no experiences be what you take to the grave? Is working every day in a job you don’t care about to pay off a mortgage, giving you joy? Life is for living, life is about happiness, love and passion.
It is important to get things done, the question is simply ‘What is the cost?’
Taking time ‘to be’ can also be challenging, it may include ‘letting others down’, doing something you have never done before, stepping outside of your comfort zone, and giving yourself permission. Of course being responsible and getting things is done is important, this is not about complacency – this is about balance. We are so far into the doing box, ‘to be’ can feel lazy, gluttonous and selfish. In a world where our self-worth is based on other people’s perceptions of us this can be highly uncomfortable.
We are clearly moving into a more conscious era as human beings; yoga has grown a phenomenal amount in the West in the past 30 years. Mindfulness, gratitude and passion are all buzzwords in today’s world. Health, fitness and diet are in every magazine and food programs rule the television. Sustainability and being green are something that we genuinely care about and recycling is a norm. We are moving in the right direction and there is plenty more to do.
So today think about what you are doing, and why it is important to you, and if you don’t love your job, find out what is important to you and do that! Laugh with friends, smile, walk in nature, listen to your favourite music, read a book, be kind, run, play, spend dinner with loved ones, go on that trip you have always dreamed off and live today- everyday. You won’t look back in twenty years and regret not spending another late night in the office!