Nataxja Cini from Family-Therapy speaks with Lianne Laing of CTV News about Work Life Balance.
We live in a fast paced environment and lifestyle. We want things done now. We have express lanes on our highways, express checkouts at the grocery store and we search for easy fast to make dinners before we rush off the kids to after school sports and activities. But does trying to rush and cram it all in lead to a balanced life? What are the warning signs that your life is not balanced?
3 sure signs your life in on overload
1) You’re late for everything & you’re often overbooked
You’re late getting to work
You’re late picking up the kids
You’re late for almost every event in your life & you’re late paying your bills or returning items on time
2) You’re easily frustrated, annoyed, stressed or worried. You’re snapping at your kids, your spouse, your coworkers and your relationships are suffering
When you don’t give yourself the time to disconnect with work and your electronics, recharge emotionally and physically from long hours of work or a demanding job, you are going to suffer. Our bodies can only take so much stress before they run out of steam.
We do need to disconnect from the outside world and give our brain, our eyes, and our neck muscles a chance to recuperate from staring at the screen or reading too much fine print. While we can’t see our brains working out by thinking and processing information every moment of every day it’s a big muscle that needs to recharge and relax too.
You know how the kids get when they’re over stimulated or over tired. They get cranky and so do adults. We all need down time to recharge. And this doesn’t mean sitting in front of the TV. Truly unplug turn off the electronics, put your smartphone and tablet away and get reconnected with the people around you.
We know people who spend too much time connected with work aren’t connecting with their family members. It’s hard to be a good parent a good partner or a good friend when you’re drained of all your energy. You need to invest in your relationships in order to create intimacy and closeness in your relationships. Real intimacy requires two-way communication, which you can only achieve through disconnecting from the office and the outside world.
3) Negative attitudes about life or Lack of fulfilment in your life
If you’re feeling blue or ho hum about going to work, your daily life or your relationships you need to start paying attention to these feelings before it takes over your life. When you don’t wake up with a spring to your step or you dread every workday morning it’s time to start investigating what’s going on for you. If every day is a grey dreary day then you need to pay attention.
Maybe what was important to you when you were younger is no longer that important anymore. We do change and so do our ideas, goals and priorities. It might be time to start making a list of what really matters to you. And you might discover you’re investing too much time and energy into activities that are no longer a priority for you. You may also realize you’ve forgotten to leave space for downtime, fun activities, and relaxation. Only you know what you enjoy doing – don’t rely on someone else to fill your life with their priorities. Of course as parents and partners we need to balance our needs with those of our family and partners and we need to ensure our needs are being met too.
How do I know I have balance in my life?
1) You feel rested and recharged. You have energy and positive attitude – your children aren’t overwhelmed cranky or sick all the time
People who have a balanced life know the importance of making time for themselves and doing activities or “non activities” that allow them to feel refreshed and recharged. Turn to activities that actually reduce the levels of stress hormones in your body such as walking, reading, listening to music, spending time with friends or by yourself, mediating getting a massage, being outdoors in nature or working on your favourite hobby.
2) You are spending time caring for yourself – you are a priority in your life
We know self care is important and many of us are reluctant to make the time it takes to invest in self care. We see this with Moms who put their children’s well being first but don’t have the time or energy to invest in their own health or personal development. We might see it in office workers when they can’t make time to sit down and have a decent lunch or meal always rushing and on the go. Self care can be many things from going to bed early, keeping regular dental or health appointments, belonging to a sports team or meeting with your friends or joining a book club.
3) You are able to say no to activities or events
Believe or not saying no is OK and a good thing to do. If you’re investing too much time and energy into activities and events that are not a priority for you, you’ll find yourself feeling drained and resentful. When we can clearly identify what our life goals and priorities are then we can align our daily life with what is personally important to our family and us. Saying no allows you to say yes to your life goals and to your family.
Remember life balance isn’t a static target. It will change over time just life the seasons do. What was important to you in your 20’s might change by the time you’re 35, 40 or 50. It’s important to realize some days and months will be better balanced then others but keep on aiming for balance and listen to what your body and mind is telling you.