“You need to get more work life balance.” – how often has that been said to you! I for one have heard that many many times, especially last year when I had a few health related issues. This is not an article begrudging the well meaning individuals who said it as they mean well. However, I personally have trouble with the whole concept/idea that there is a balance between work and life! In my mind, the question that frequently pops up – Why do work and life need to be separate?
I considered myself part of the ‘lucky’ group of individuals that get to work in their area of passion. So my work is very much part and parcel of my life.
“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.” Alain De Botton
I also take a broader context in the definition of work. For me, work consist of being a parent, a partner, a small business owner, volunteer – you get the idea. I see all those working roles playing a part of my life. It is part of my ego-identity. It is not separate from my life. They are all part of the broad range of activities that gives me meaning. Like what Alain De Botton says, I do try my best in all my working roles. It is just how I move into my life, so to balance work and life just does not make sense to me as the balance can never be found because there are not any separate entities to balance. Maybe that is why it is unattainable.
I feel there is a need for a paradigm shift in our thinking for getting a sense of balance in our life. It makes more sense to me to find work rest balance. In 2016, having gone through anemia and needing to function in my life by tuning into my energy levels and brain fog. I found by finding work rest balance with my ever changing energetic level, served me a lot better. The pressure was off!
“Life is a gift. Life shouldn’t be a chore.” – Anita Moorjani
At this point, it may be well worth defining what I mean by rest. Rest to me is stillness and sleep – not scrolling through social media, numbing in front of the television or rushing to a day spa. This comes to me in my practice of restorative yoga and iRest Yoga Nidra meditation.
The benefit of stillness and rest is well documented. It gives the autonomic nervous system – fright & flight and rest & digest part of our nervous system, a chance to do some re-balancing. This is so so important, as most of us lean towards the fright & flight portion of our nervous system.
Personally, the sense I get when there is work rest balance is ground. Ground that provides a platform to gain insights on what is important and urgent and choosing the most harmonious response to life in general.
So maybe can we start a different conversation about our life and work relationship? As work will always be part of our lives – paid or unpaid, perhaps the balance between work and rest in life is what is worth working towards.
Love to hear how you find balance in your life, or whether the work rest paradigm resonates with you?
Yours in practice,