Finding Your Inner Zen; How to Realize a Work / Life Balance Part Four

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we looked at the first five steps of creating a greater balance in your home life, namely:

 

  1. Don’t check emails after your contracted hours
  2. Exercise
  3. Have your five a day
  4. Mindfulness meditation
  5. Schedule in one thing to look forward to each day

 

This week we take a look at steps six and seven, examining the importance of having outside hobbies and interests and prioritizing relaxation.

 

Step Six: Have hobbies and interests outside of work

 

To develop a stronger identity outside of work it is really important to focus on finding hobbies and activities that are unrelated to work, that you can immerse yourself in and that you are passionate about.

 

Playful activities you can engage in include:

 

Spontaneous

 

  • Singing along to one of your favorite songs
  • Dancing
  • Laughing and joking with friends
  • Listening to music
  • Impromptu shopping
  • Taking a walk

 

Non-Spontaneous

 

  • All sports
  • Board games
  • Creating art
  • Arts and crafts
  • Sewing or knitting
  • Karaoke
  • Bowling
  • Going to the cinema
  • Going to a museum or exhibition
  • Going to a concert
  • Going on holiday

 

Ways you can spend some quality alone time include:

 

  • Scenic walks
  • Having a coffee at a cafe and people watching
  • Reading
  • Going to the movies
  • Going to a beautiful restaurant
  • Meditating
  • Listening to music
  • Visualizing
  • Having a long hot bath

 

Creative hobbies and interests include:

 

  • Pottery
  • Sculpting
  • Photography
  • Gardening
  • Painting (watercolor, oil, acrylic)
  • Drawing (pencil, pen, pastels, charcoal)
  • Writing non-fiction
  • Creative writing
  • Writing poetry
  • Song writing
  • Singing
  • Playing an instrument
  • Composing music
  • Dancing
  • Acting
  • Sewing
  • Knitting
  • Card making
  • Calligraphy
  • Scrapbooking
  • Origami and quilling
  • Jewelry making
  • Mosaics (E.g. mirror frames, tables, pots)
  • Cake decorating, baking or cooking

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Why health equals energy and the impact it can have on your work life balance

I once heard a wise man say health = energy (the awesome Tony Robbins). To me this is so true, when I have been at my healthiest I have felt a vitality that was otherwise absent. It gave me more energy to do the things that were most important to me and provided me with more endurance and a greater zest for life.

 

When you have energy like this you are able to put your all into work and life, making you feel less run down by all that you need to do and more enthused to do your very best. It improves your social life because you are more up for meeting people, the pursuit of your passions is given a boost and generally your life outside of work flourishes. Work wise you feel more motivated and driven to perform well too.

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Finding Balance In Action: Play a free online mindfulness meditation recording

Use this week to meditate for ten minutes over your lunch break during the working week and whenever you are stressed and see the impact it has over the course of the week.

 

For more of an in-depth look at the many benefits of meditation and how it can help you day to day please read my article titled ‘How to stop operating on auto-pilot and live for the moment’.

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Finding Balance In Action: Eat more fruit and vegetables

Use this week to improve your diet and see if you feel an improvement in your vitality. Do you feel less sluggish? More alert?

 

I have to admit I find this one hard too but at the times when I have eaten more healthily I have noticed my complexion improve and my alertness increase, making eating carrots well worth the effort!

 

For more of an in-depth look into a healthier lifestyle please read my article titled ‘New Year, New Life’.

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Finding Balance In Action: Detox from work emails

When I started my current job I ensured that I didn’t sync my phone with my work emails. This strategy has been invaluable throughout my working life. For this week I challenge you to ditch your connectivity to work outside of working hours and see the impact it has on your personal life.

 

The quality of your relationships will be improved because you are more relaxed and present. Your rest will be better quality and you will be able to switch off from the working day easier, thereby improving your stress levels. Mostly, you will feel liberated and fully engaged with your life outside work.

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Finding Your Inner Zen; How to Realize a Work / Life Balance Part Three

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we finished the last five steps in creating greater balance at work, these being:

4. Focus on one thing at a time

5. Delegate where possible

6. Take breaks and eat lunch

7. Avoid procrastinating

8. Don’t define yourself by your job performance or status

 

This week we begin looking at the eleven steps to finding greater balance at home, including not checking work emails and scheduling in one thing to look forward to each day.

 

The Eleven Steps To Find Balance At Home

 

Step One: Don’t check emails after your contracted hours

 

As I mentioned earlier in this series I have ensured that I have not calibrated my phone to receive work emails. I know all too well that if I had this facility on my phone my personal life would suffer. If you can already access work emails out of hours make absolutely sure you no longer look at them out of hours – there is nothing that cannot wait until the next morning!

 

Step Two: Exercise

 

Exercise has not only been proven to improve the health of our hearts and reduce the likelihood of heart disease but it also helps to prevent osteoporosis – a debilitating disease which depletes bone density  and can lead to frequent bone fractures in later life. It has been shown to reduce obesity, reduce the likelihood of diabetes, increase our libido’s, promoting a sexually healthy lifestyle and even and lengthens our life span. Should you need further convincing exercise also helps reduce insomnia, improving our sleep quality, which in turn makes us more emotionally resilient to life’s ups and downs.

 

But the benefits to exercise are more far reaching than just helping to increase our physical health – exercise has been proven to improve our mental and emotional health too! Exercise improves our reasoning ability and memory function and has been shown to reduce the stress hormone Cortisol – proving that through regular exercise we can lower our stress levels. In addition, the endorphin’s exercise releases gives us a considerable positive emotional boost, providing us with an invaluable sense of well being.

 

Step Three: Have your five a day

 

Good nutrition boosts memory, performance and energy, so ensure you are getting enough vegetables and fruit throughout the day – your performance at work and at home will be better and your skin and body will thank you for it!

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Finding Balance In Action: Read my Tiny Buddha article on self-esteem

Tiny Buddha article link =  ‘Learning to love yourself: 3 steps to instantly boost your self-esteem’.

 

Today take ten minutes to read my Tiny Buddha article and do the exercises as featured in each step, resolving to base your self-esteem on your character rather than your job. The feeling of liberation this brings is immense because you and only you get to decide the type of person you want to be, so in essence your self-esteem is completely within your control.

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