work rest balance or work life balance

Work rest balance

“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,

Wai Ying

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4 Responses to work rest balance or work life balance

  1. Davia August 9, 2017 at 7:09 pm #

    I agree, we do need to start a different conversation! We need to focus on balancing our autonomic nervous systems. We spend far too much time either in high stress flight/fight mode or in contrast to that, collapsing and getting sick from exhaustion.

    Taking time to focus on our breath and listening to our bodies is the place to start. Work life balance is a myth… and if you do achieve it it is fleeting, life will always throw unexpected stuff at us. What we need is the physical and emotional resilience and agility to respond to challenging situations in our lives, that is from a place of health and well-being. Thank you for starting a conversation about it here.

    • mm
      Wai Ying Tham August 10, 2017 at 9:12 am #

      Thank Davia. I do see it all from the point of view of our nervous system. I do have another future blog plan about health and well-being 🙂

  2. Jacinta August 9, 2017 at 7:32 pm #

    Agree about the different work hats. But doubt hanging out, going to gigs, films, parties is ‘rest’. R&R sounds military & old-fashioned but there’s got to be room for fun, culture, socialising along with work & rest. I just colour code a whole bunch of things in my diary….I’ll show you next time and see what are shades of work, rest & ‘the rest’. Nice blog

    • mm
      Wai Ying Tham August 10, 2017 at 9:09 am #

      Hi Jacinta, You are right. Hanging out with friends and community is necessary and important but does not take the place for the type of rest that I am proposing. Love to see the colour coded diary. Perhaps it could be work, play and rest 🙂

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