WORK LIFE BALANCE is a loaded phrase and it causes STRESS!
Let me cut it straight. There is nothing called a work life balance or any balance that resides outside our mind and body. Since the existence of mankind, imbalance is a truth. Imbalance is the spark for creativity, innovation, discoveries and inventions.
The more we strive for a balance the more we become stressful. My 15 years of corporate life while dealing with demanding career, family, household has taught me this basic fact. Sometimes work will take priority as we have deliverables and commitments. Sometimes life will take priority when family is facing a crisis. Sometime both will need attention at the same time. Such is life. It’s better to accept the consequences of the choices we make to have a career and a family both.
Just recently, a year ago, I was a budding entrepreneur; I wanted to run on all cylinders, not ready to take a break or make any compromises. Then suddenly my family was struck with a sudden unforeseen crisis. It was so unexpected and critical, it shook us all. I chose to focus on family and took a big hit on my business, practice and revenue.
I chose to not strive for balance and that helped me in remaining calm during the period of crisis.
The more pertinent question would be to remain calm or in other words how to balance your mind and body while dealing with these periods of crisis. I will share my tips:
- Sleep: During these periods of stress, sleeping enough calms our mind. However, it can become difficult to get quality sleep during moments of stress. Start to unwind 30 mins – 1 hour before bedtime. Start practicing relaxing your body and breathing deep. Switch off all mobile and light emanating devices. I usually read a book which will calm me and avoid books that will raise the blood flow in the body like thrillers.
- Exercise: While stress releases cortisol, exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body and become natural warriors of cortisol. It makes you tired and causes your body to crave for sleep. Exercise has been my constant partner in periods of stress or otherwise for past 22 years and I strongly stand by it.
- Avoid smoking, drinking coffee and alcohol during periods of stress: Many people use these to de-stress, however, scientific studies have shown to compound the effects of stress on the body when one smokes, drinks coffee and alcohol.
- Breathing techniques: My friend and a yoga expert, once demonstrated a breathing technique that helps to relax. It is called a 4-7-8 breathing. For 4 sec breathe in deeply through your nose, hold the breath for 7 sec and slowly release the air through your mouth for 8 sec.
So, just work on balancing your mind and body and you will find the stress melt away.
Stay fit, stay healthy and stay happy!