Balance is an important thing to have both literally and figuratively. Physical balance is key in our everyday life, but it is also very important to have balance between work and free time. Because both aspects are important, I decided to focus on one at a time. It is summer holiday season so it’s a perfect time to pay attention to the importance of free time, relaxing and recovery.
I somehow have the feeling that it is quite common to work hard having the up-coming holiday on our minds thinking that we’ll rest on the holiday. We push ourselves to the limit for weeks and months and expect to recover during the holiday that is a rather short period of time. This is not balance. Holiday shouldn’t be about recovering from work; it should be about enjoying the free time. Balance between work and leisure is something we should have on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis. Easier said than done but here are a few pointers that could help.
Perhaps the most important thing is to have the motivation: motivation to take care of our wellbeing. If we’re not motivated to take care of ourselves, who is? But motivation alone is not enough, we also need to have the time. Often this is the trickier part. We might be well motivated but lack the time. We write down to our calendars all the important things to remember; meetings and appointments, children’s hobbies etc., but forget or don’t even realize to schedule the taking-care-of-ourselves part. Stop for moment and think what are the things that you need for recovering and getting the feeling that your work and leisure is in balance. And whatever that is write it down to your calendar, schedule it. If you struggle on finding the time to schedule all the things you thought of, start with 30 minutes per day, or even just 15 minutes. Mark the time on your calendar when you’ll take a moment for example to go for a walk or just do nothing and stick to it.You can also schedule household chores and grocery shopping – it increases the feeling of having control over your life and time and not the other way around.
On a daily basis we face the pressure to live up to the expectations laid by the society, our employers, the people around us and even by ourselves. How much of these expectations are actually real and how much it is just about the standards we’ve set for ourselves thinking that it’s something we should be able to achieve? Remember to have mercy on yourself. So the next time when the time hits 2pm (or whatever time you’ve decided to take the at least 15 minutes for yourself) drop whatever you were doing and seize the moment. Your work can wait, the world will not fall apart, and your children won’t starve if the meal if 15 minutes late. Think of it as an investment for your health and wellbeing. When we are well, we have the energy to take care of our loved ones, we can accomplish more and be better employees as well. If you don’t invest in your wellbeing, who does?
Have a lovely, relaxing, summer and remember to find the balance! The blog post “Balance in everyday life part 2” focusing on physical balance coming up later.