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Work/life balance depends on you

Work/life balance is subjective. So, what I would consider a good balance for me would not necessarily work for someone else. A friend of mine is happy to dedicate 90% or more of her time to work during certain months of the year so long as she can spend 100% of her time at other times of the year dedicated to recreational activities and family. She has a good job in a responsible position but isn’t seeking promotion since that would compromise the time she could dedicate to self-development and family time. Another friend says that work/life balance is achieved when you are simply not stressed doing activities outside of working hours. He says that could be 5 minutes or 5 days – it’s indifferent. That could be watching TV, reading, chatting to family and friends, going on a trip or sitting watching the world go by. For me it’s more about making sure I’ve got variety in my life, from teaching, coaching, writing, reading, being in contact with family and friends, taking trips, doing outdoor activities, taking courses and doing cultural things.

Work/life balance only becomes an issue when your feelings, preferences and opinions about the time you are spending on work is off-balance, meaning that you are not happy with the way things are. If this is not addressed then it becomes problematic with symptoms ranging from taking time off work to release some of the pressure to decreased performance at work, tensions at home and, in some cases serious illness. The problems that come when work/life balance is not dealt with are life changing and can lead to extreme unhappiness that drags you down to a point where picking yourself back up again is a maelstrom of emotions and fraught with complications.

Working out what a good work/life balance would look like for you, if you are in this kind of position, takes time and patience. It involves realising that you need time to work through what is important to you personally. Then you need to gift yourself that time. Allowing yourself that time to outline your priorities and then create strategies for incorporating them into your life in measures that are right for you, is one of the greatest gifts you could give to yourself. That compassion you show for yourself will then be reflected into your relations with others, creating more happiness in your life.