Work-Life Balance: Make It Your Business

Are you always on the go with little or no time to stay in one place to reflect, relax or even get a good night’s rest? If you’re finding it difficult to balance the different elements of your life, you’re not alone. 58% of Canadians report “overload” associated with their many roles in life.

The various roles we take on in our lives may include being a worker, parent, spouse, friend, caregiver and more.  Achieving balance in all of these roles can be difficult and time consuming, to the point where we will forget (or forego) taking care of our own physical and mental well-being.

 

Are You Balanced?

While a moderate amount of stress improves efficiency and mental sharpness, a high stress level can be harmful to your health. Unlike the ability to measure physical health with scales, endurance tests, blood tests, etc., assessing our mental health is more complex.  Fortunately, there are some signs we can look out for:

  • Feeling like you have lost control of your life
  • Often feeling guilty about neglecting your different roles
  • Frequently having difficulty concentrating on the task at hand
  • Always being tired

Nearly half of the people surveyed by Desjardins Financial Security indicated that money is the main cause of stress outside work.

How Do You Find Balance? Take Control!

At work

Take brief breaks throughout the day to slow down/change the pace, reflect, recharge, and while at it get a healthy dose of social interaction with fellow co-workers! A good laugh triggers healthy physical changes in the body by strengthening your immune system, boosting your energy, diminishing pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress.  This will help you increase your productivity, effectiveness, and give you a sense of accomplishment at the end of the work day.

Before leaving work, set your priorities for the following day. Be realistic about what you can accomplish within your work day and factor in your coffee & lunch breaks.

Work to live (and not the other way around)! This means it is important to make a distinction between work and the rest of your life. One way to achieve this is to make a conscious effort once you step out of the building – leave work behind.  Turn off the devices or avoid checking work emails.

At Home

Develop a transition between your work and home life by listening to some music on your commute home, taking a walk after work, doing a crossword puzzle or anything that gives you pleasure before beginning the evening’s routine. Once in full gear at home, determine what chores need to be done and what can wait. Make it a family/team activity and share the chores. This will give you more time with family, friends, or even just for you.

Physical activity, whether exercising at a gym or playing sports, has great benefits for the body and mind which will make you feel energized and refreshed. So let determination in and excuses out the door!

Fun activities need not be expensive, nonetheless set a household budget by keeping aside some money from each pay cheque.  Use some funds for a gym membership, sports club or a league. Give yourself a break from the cooking and cleaning by ordering in or eating out once a week with family/friends. Get creative with these nights by theming it to make them fun for you, the family and friends.

In Your Community

You make the choice! Social, community and volunteer obligations can pull us in many directions. Choose the ones that are most fulfilling and learn to say “no” to the rest. After all, contribution can only be made if there is abundance of time and commitment.

Work-Life Balance Benefits You and Those Around You!

Get the support & results you desire by:

  • Being clear on what it is you need to ensure work-life balance
  • Researching programs, policies and benefits available
  • Providing examples of practices that have worked in the past

Some of the options that might be available include:

  • Flexible hours: adjust start and end times to balance work and home life
  • If supported by your employer, work from home: work a day from home to alleviate stress from commuting long distances
  • Job share: share your role with another fellow employee
  • Graduated return: gradually work up to a full-time schedule after a long leave

Talk to your supervisor or Human Resources representatives to confirm what options may be available for you.

Mental health is just as vital as our physical health in ensuring our well-being.  We need to take care of it by reducing harmful stress and take important steps towards protecting and nurturing our mental health by bringing all aspects of our lives into balance.

**If available at your place of work, take advantage of the Employment Assistance Program (EAP).**

Reference(s): Canadian Mental Health Association

 

“Life situations and experiences do not define us. We define ourselves by how we get through these times.” –Angela Seth

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Her-Story of Love Divine

This story commenced in the 16th century. A dark night lurked at my open door taunting me with what was to come while the cunningly cool breeze made its way to me. This was the blackest of  night for my lover’s duty was taking him from me across a vast body of water where he was to make his mark.

The lingering scent of jasmine lends a sense of calmness and comfort as fear of  losing him besieges my heart. Years of loving a man of a status who could never be husband to me,  yet with my every being I knew that I alone was in his heart.

Standing in a dark room I quickly turn towards a single lit candle burning on a mantle radiating its glow off an age-old mirror.  I carefully watch my lover’s mirrored reflection. His body reveals sadness as he speaks yet I hear  not his words, rather just sounds. I feel anguish, sadness and fear while I stare at his reflection coming close behind me.  The touch of his hand ignites heat through my body. He gently pulls aside my long dark hair, his warm breath by my ear. Closing my eyes,  I embellish in the sound of my lover’s voice for the last time – “I love you”.  His lips gently glide down the side of my bare neck imparting devotion through his caresses before sealing it with a kiss.

Watching his reflection turn away to leave, I deliberately remain facing the mirror sensing that seeing him leave this way would be bearable and perhaps grant me hope that I may see him again. Having taken only a few steps away, he pauses and quickly turns towards me. My back still to him, our eyes lock onto one another through the mirror, my lips gently part to express my love -yet  can make no sound. With disappointment he heads out disappearing into the awaiting night.

“This is not good-bye my love.”

Centuries have come and gone, yet this love is timeless. Our stars have finally aligned in the 21st century so we may complete our journey.

The night we met again was our turning point.

Standing in a room with those who stayed behind to reflect upon an evening of pure nirvana – in you walked. Without use of sight, I “saw” you.  As I stood conversing with others, I sensed you moving about the hall until you finally made your way to me. Images of our past were quickly unearthing.  Emanating such strong aura, you quickly introduced yourself and from that moment on our journey began from where we left off.

On June 14, 2014, I finally expressed the  words you had been waiting to hear since you sailed away. Two days later you left this life.

We shall be together again.

 

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(We live in world attached to materials and tangible outcomes. Whether you believe in reincarnation or not, the images & memories I have and the feelings associated with them are very much real “to me”,  hence rather than ponder why, I choose to simply accept my experiences and share with you my stories.)

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