It’s taken me a LONG time to understand what this really means but slowly, over the past six years the elements of this have come together.
Since the term starts with Work, you need to look there first. In order to have a work/life balance you need to actually like the work you do. I am not saying you have to wake up every morning itching to get to work, but you need to feel that each day you will achieve something and add value to yourself.
Let’s talk sport for a minute. I love Rugby and I am sure the England players love their work. The amazing opportunity to play in the World Cup is not always easy, but something gets them out of bed and on to that pitch for us to cheer them on – win or lose! Rhonda Rousey won 11 of her fights in the first round, yet took a hit this year and lost a fight – that didn’t stop making a come back for a rematch. Andy Murray won the Davis Cup – he didn’t do that overnight but through sheer hard work and love for his job! Brian Shaw didn’t win the World’s strongest man this year by luck – he put it down to his work ethic and the ability to work harder every day.
That’s how you need to feel about YOUR work, do you enjoy it? Does it drive you? And do you want to always achieve more? Does it offer something that suits your LIFE (style) to create that balance?
It wasn’t until about four years ago when I had my son that I realised that a job opportunity isn’t all about the money, but about the flexibility it gives you to have that balance. I am lucky enough to work for a company that allows me to make the crazy commute from London to Wales and have been flexible to travel to London ‘every other week’ instead of ‘every week’ so I can be at home for more bedtimes when my family need me. They have allowed me to develop an extra passion outside of my role and take ownership for this. We have family days and great incentives – all add to that “opportunity” for me.
We all have different family/social circumstances, so think about your priorities outside of work – does your current job allow you to do what you love?
The key here is to find that job that isn’t necessarily all about the £££ but the opportunity to balance your life more consistently.
So some of these involve work and challenge me (even today!)
1. Put away your work phone when it’s your time off – I know we all want to check we won’t miss anything urgent – BUT, it’s important you switch off and enjoy what you love outside of work. You need time off to re-energise and come back fighting.
2. Get better at Resting Just sit on the sofa – we always feel we need to be “doing” something. Sometimes it’s good for the soul to do nothing for an hour. Don’t take your phone to bed (personal or work) – it’s amazing how quickly you go to sleep!
3. Find a Personal Goal outside of work – not to impress anyone but for yourself. This might be a hobby or something you just want to challenge yourself with physically and/or mentally. I thought I’d have a go at weightlifting in the last 3 months and got myself deadlifting 80kg from a standing start – this is something I set my mind to and I am sure my husband really doesn’t care too much about (although I can almost pick him up!) but I felt good when I knew how hard I worked to get there.
4. Focus on your Fitness – we aren’t all gym bunnies or can run hundreds of km, but for the mind and body, ANY form of exercise is a great release from the daily stresses of work. It has proven abilities to help with feelings of depression and that good old back ache we all get sitting at a desk far too long!
5. Eat Well – understand what really fuels your body and you’ll not need to spend much time in the gym. Buy local and fresh – support local producers and enjoy your “steak and chips Friday”.
6. Go on Holiday – and switch OFF! No phone, no laptop, no technology! You go on holiday to experience other countries and culture. Switch off from the outside and absorb new experiences.
7. Be POSITIVE – since we were born we hear the word NO more times that we care to recall, this has made us such a nation of complainers and are more ready to challenge what has gone wrong than what went right (the “Yeah BUT” crowd!). Ok, so we all have “bad” days but it you can’t walk away from them with one positive, you really will wear yourself down and life won’t seem too rosy.
8. Lastly ENJOY LIFE – you’ve already got the perfect job (and if not, 2016 is the time to find one). We are really only are here for such a short space of time, it’s time we started living!
Louise Batty – Associate Director