"We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in." ~ Arianna Huffington, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder
Do you ever feel guilty just picking up a book and sitting on the couch in the middle of the day? I most certainly do. Why is it that we always feel we have to be doing something? Probably because there is always something that could be done. Despite this reality, sometimes we have to just push aside our type A voice for the betterment of our mental, physical and emotional selves. Recharging our batteries can lead to improvements in all aspects of our lives.
What are the benefits of feeling "recharged"?
I have often thought that we should be able to bottle the feeling you have at the end of a vacation - before you travel home. If you have ever spent more than a week on a tropical holiday, you may find you start to become accustomed to not rushing around, having a decluttered mind and feeling detached from your usual worries. Unfortunately, the travel home alone often depletes these feelings so by the time you go back to work, the benefits of your vacation are hard to conjure in your mind.
What we need to really start focusing on in our progressive society is slowing down. The medical culture doesn't support this concept, which is why burnout is becoming an epidemic. Our European counterparts seem to be more relaxed living by the mantra 'work to live' not 'live to work'. In fact, indulging in a culture where work and life are balanced will improve productivity through enhanced happiness and peace. The benefits will spill over into your relationships with other people, and most of all, yourself.
How do you balance work and life?
It can be an easy statement to make - balance your work and life and you will be happier. It reminds me of the frequent comment physicians make to patients - you need to change your lifestyle. Something obvious, but without direction, therefore useless. For fun, start with this work-life balance quiz offered by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). The CMHA is committed to this cause stating that: "In a global study by AC Nielsen, more than half of people making New Year's resolutions for 2007 aimed for a better work-life balance."
The following is a list of suggestions for balancing work with the rest of your life in an attempt to recharge your batteries:
Compartmentalize: I will use my husband's term again - compartmentalize your work and to do list. Don't let it spill over into your personal life. If you run a home business, setting boundaries is even more important. When you have punched out for the day, if a thought pops in your head that needs attention, write it down and deal with it when you are "on the clock" again.
Take breaks: It is tempting to deprive yourself of breaks when you are in a zone, have impending deadlines, or have a huge workload. Despite this, schedule a short break every couple of hours to stretch and clear your head.
Device free zone: As someone who is never too far from my iPhone, I am really trying to adhere to this. If you are 40+ you grew up in a time when we did just fine without electronic devices. No matter what your age now, our society has become dependent on being connected, so being disconnected takes work. If you allow yourself "device-free times", you will be amazed at how quickly stress melts away. Maybe set a time in the evening to "power out" for the day.
Take care of YOU: Set aside time for your own well-being each day through physical activity, meditation, creative endeavours, hobbies, nutritious meal preparation, etc.
What methods do you use to recharge your batteries?