Seeking a balance between our work and personal lives is something that most of us strive for. It is also natural, at the beginning of a new year, to seek perspective, regroup and assess our thoughts and goals. In our daily routines we may have ambitions to climb the career ladder, be the best possible parent, achieve high grades, improve our health and fitness or to start a new business. These ambitions lead to never ending deadlines, rushing from one meeting to the next, planning what to have for dinner, do house hold chores, tend to the children and so on. Then we still need to get to bed at a decent time to ensure we are well rested to face another manic day.
A common dilemma for many people is how they manage all of the competing demands in work and life and avoid letting any negative effects of work have an impact on their personal lives. The term work-life balance gives an indication that we should have equal time at work and in our personal lives. However, this is a seemingly impossible goal. Allowing yourself more time to your personal life may lead you to feeling distracted and/or overwhelmed at work. On the other hand, allowing work to interfere with your personal life can lead to physical and mental exhaustion, frustration and disruption in family life and personal relationships. It might be a more realistic idea to strive for effectiveness in your work and personal life.
Researchers Jeffrey Greenhaus and Gary Powell expand on this concept and recommend that work and personal life should be allies and that participation in multiple roles, such as parent, partner, friend, employee, can actually enhance physical and psychological well-being — especially when all of the roles are high quality and managed together (Harvard Business Review, 2015). Instead of seeing your work life as a separate entity, rather see it as an integral part of your life. Trying to schedule an equal number of hours for each of your various work and personal activities can be unrewarding and unrealistic. Life is and should be more fluid than that. Each person’s work-life balance is also unique. We all need to define success in our own terms, based on our own personal values and realise that it may vary over time. Try to examine the categories of your life each week for example being a wife, daughter, mother and business manager and identify the specific actions that help you feel successful and fulfilled in these capacities. Achievement and enjoyment are two important concepts that are relevant every day to us and attaining them in any aspect of life will lead to a higher sense of fulfilment, lower stress and ultimately a happier day.
Naturopathy can play a crucial role in assisting those having difficulty to achieve harmony in their lives as a quality, holistic Naturopathic treatment program will consider factors such as type of occupation, hours worked every day (and night), quality and amount of sleep, diet, exercise, recreational hobbies and relaxation time. Assessing these factors will lead to insight to determine if there is a risk of high stress levels, excessive pressure, feelings of worthlessness and frustration, and fatigue. Naturopathy teaches us that it is important to ensure that our core foundations such as healthy sleep, healthy diet, exercise and time for relaxation are being catered for and kept strong as this gives us the much needed support to be successful in our careers and have a meaningful and rich personal lives.