Do you love what you do?

If Deer has crossed your path, trust your instincts to guide you through this situation. Deer is often a sign not to be too hard on yourself. Still the voice of the self critic and treat yourself with gentleness and understanding, be yourself and continue along your path. Seek out your inner treasures and use them generously to help those around you. Trust that kindness and graciousness will be well received. We are also reminded that we cannot push towards change in others, rather we gently nudge them in the right direction with love and understanding. Lead by doing and showing the way.

What is work?

Work involves the application of physical or mental effort, skills, knowledge or other personal resources, usually involves commitment over time, and has connotations of effort and a need to labour or exert oneself (Warr 1987; OECD 2003). Work is not only ‘a job’ or paid employment, but includes unpaid or voluntary work, education and training, family responsibilities and caring.

Why is work-life balance important?

Work Life balance is important because we all need to do some work throughout our lives, paid, unpaid, family support or education. For some people it is a means to an end; for other’s work is a big source of meaning. Many fall in between these two. I’d like to invite you to put some perspective on work to help us look at how our work factors into our lives.

What happens when there’s imbalance?
Work-life imbalance is a challenge for many, many people. A study by the career web site revealed that 69% of respondents said that the amount of vacation time they receive is NOT sufficient. A study by the Families and Work Institute revealed that chronically overworked employees have an adverse effect on business outcomes. They are more likely to make mistakes, resent their employers, and resent co-workers for not working as hard as they do.

Multi-tasking is a key contributor to employees feeling overwhelmed. According to the Corporate Executive Board only 30% of employees feel they have a good work-life balance. A recent study among 50,000 global workers indicated that work-life balance ranked 2nd in importance after compensation.

Work is good for you???
There is a strong evidence base showing that work is generally good for physical and mental health and well-being. Worklessness is associated with poorer physical and mental health and well-being. Work can be therapeutic and can reverse the adverse health effects of unemployment. That is true for healthy people of working age, for many disabled people, for most people with common health problems and for retired individuals.

The provisos are that account must be taken of the nature and quality of work and its social context; jobs should be safe and accommodating. Overall, the beneficial effects of work outweigh the risks of work, and are greater than the harmful effects of long-term unemployment or prolonged sickness absence. Work is generally good for health and well-being.

What is work-life balance?
Work-life balance is the dynamic relationship between achievement and fulfillment, and the factors that influence our choices and decisions in these two areas. Here’s a link to Canadian Mental Health Associations quiz on work life balance. There are also Tips for Work Life Balance on that page.

Patricia’s Five Tips for Better Work-Life Balance:

  1. Exercise regularly. Not only is exercise good for your mental and physical development, it combats the effects of daily stress. Canadian Physical activity recommendations are to achieve health benefits, adults aged 18 – 64 years should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more. It is also beneficial to add muscle and bone strengthening activities using major muscle groups at least two days per week. More physical activity provides greater health benefits.
  2. Sleep seven to eight hours per night. Getting consistent sleep restores us and is the “secret weapon” of high performers at work and in their lives. Elite athletes have found increasing their sleep to up to 10 hours per night improves their performance so you are in good company.
  3. Have a morning routine. For the first hour of your day avoid checking your phone, emails, texts, Facebook page. Instead, use this time for planning your day and spend time on high priority tasks during this time. You are generally fresher and more able to focus to get more completed during this time.
  4. Build in breaks during your day. These are shorter energizer breaks to be taken throughout your day, such as working for 25 minutes and taking five minutes doing something different; working for 50 minutes and taking a ten minute break or working two one hour periods with a half hour break. It can be helpful to use a timer to remind yourself to take the breaks. Such an approach can increase your energy and focus in order to be more productive throughout the day.
  5. Know your why. Find your purpose and motivation for why you are doing the work you are doing Some purposes include serving others, being there for people or making a difference. This is something to revisit on an ongoing basis.

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