What does work / life balance actually mean?

Ruth Kudzi38

Work / life balance is a term that is banded about all the time. It is what most of my clients strive for and what I help them achieve but what does it actually mean?

The idea of balance has its roots in Ayurvedic medicine and is widely discussed by health professionals. Neuroscientists and Psychologists investigate the mind, brain, body connection and we all are aware that stress can manifest itself in physical symptoms. 

When I work with clients I take a holistic view – if you are having a lousy time at work and are rushing from work to nursery to get your child it is likely your stress hormones are through the roof. This may well result in you feeling run down and having a weakened immune system.

If you can't switch off from work and always have your phone next to you to check on emails it is likely that your relationship will suffer.

If you feel that you have no time and don't exercise or eat healthy foods you are likely to lack energy (and often motivation)

All of these are classic examples of being out of balance. 

One of my first clients was a high flying professional mum, she worked full time in a demanding job in the city and had a nanny who looked after her children. She was so frazzled by her job that when she did spend time with her children she couldn't switch off and she often snapped at them or found herself checking emails as an automatic response. Her health wasn't great and her relationship with her partner was verging on dire. 

When we looked at every area of her life objectively and compared where she was to where she wanted to be she was completely out of balance. I worked with her for 6 months to help her get a better balance in all aspects of her life and to be true to her values. She was able to create a wok / life balance that worked for her which included working reduced hours, quality time with her children, weekly date nights and regular exercise. Her mindset had changed – she now realised that she needed to focus on herself for everything else to be working.

So this is balance, it is about really looking at your life and thinking what you want and then doing everything you can to get there. It is about drawing your lines in the sand and identifying what is crucial to you. 

It is all about sustainability – it isn't sustainable to be relying on adrenaline and caffeine to get you through the day, to have a relationship snatched over short periods of time together. 

Of course, in life you may have to compromise but to get close to your ideal you need to want to make it work and be committed to making changes. 

I work with lots of women who are creating the lives they want, lives where they have a successful, fulfilling career but they are also able to pick up their kids from school. Lives where they spend quality time with their partner, make time for themselves and have a social life. Lives where they prioritise happiness and health above other things.

Work / life balance might be a throughly modern dilemma but it is all about creating a life that is sustainable and meaningful.

To book a free session with me to talk about how I can help you go to bit.ly/freediscoRK

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