Life balance is challenging because many people feel pressure to be the first to arrive at work and the last to leave. In other words, this means that those of us who are parents are most likely to say goodbye to our children in the morning and say hello to them at night. I know many people who don’t use up their vacation time and still feel compelled to check texts and emails when they go on vacation. Much of this concerns our managers these days, meaning many treat employees more like ‘working horses’ and don’t consider personal and family obligations outside of work. One of the significant problems is that many organizations have not built a process for leaders to discuss personal and professional goals with employees in their culture. They don’t realize that without this critical process, many managers naturally tend to demand much and listen little. One thing to remember is that experience has shown that if we take care of our employees, they’ll take care of our clients.
There are many ways to know when our life is not balanced. For example, when we have little time for meaningful relationships, such as family and friends. One very big and common one is that people often work overtime, engage in regular work-away-from-work, and take few or no breaks while working. And this even gets worse when we have no interests or hobbies to take a break from our busy schedule. Let’s not forget, too, that the simplest things are usually the most important; for example, it could be that we are exercising little or, in some cases, not at all. Some of us may not consider these, but other ways to know when our life is not balanced would also be things like us having difficulties falling asleep or, in some cases, not having enough sleep and even eating too much or too less. The thing to understand is that life balance is when we successfully and joyfully manage and live our lives to the fullest. In others words, it is about balancing work, leisure, and family time. The best way to explain this is to know when to shift from one task to the next and be able to do so.
There is an old saying that all relationships, whether friendship or a relationship, are essential for our well-being and a balanced life. It is challenging to live without a purpose because life without a goal can be stressful. However, we may be successful at work and have achieved a lot at work that could put us close to reaching a point of burnout. I think it’s important to realize that balance starts with our relationship with our minds, considering that just thinking about it will not do the trick.
By: Narine Dat Sookram, RSW, MSW