And more importantly, here are some things to do if you are not where you want to be! Vanda North writes…
Let’s ditch ‘work / life balance’ and replace it with work / life continuum!
With a continuum, you expect that there will be movement in both directions.
A definition of continuum is: a coherent whole characterized as a collection, sequence, or progression of values or elements varying by minute degrees “good” and “bad” … stand at opposite ends of a continuum instead of describing the two halves of a line — Wayne Shumaker – Say what??!!
Anyway, given the current Covid situation where would you say you are?
Are you moving from right to left and back again on a daily basis?
On an hourly basis?
Are you stuck at one uncomfortable end?
Are you wanting a more realistic, workable ourcome?
With the ‘new normal’ changing every day / week / month, how could you create some framework to hang on to?
Your brain works best when it has a frame, somewhere to ‘put’ information and feelings. Without a frame, they bounce about in mad circles, randomly reproducing and frequently causing stress and unhappiness.
Towards the ‘work’ end of your frame:
- As much as possible SET a SCHEDULE! ‘I will start work at xxx…’
- ‘I will work for 50 minutes and take a 5 minute break, using this structure throughout much of the day. Unless I am extra tired, then I will take shorter work segments as the day goes on.’
- ‘I will set a ‘meeting with me’ so that I can stop for a lunch break at xxx it will last 40 – 45 minutes.’
- ‘I will create a discrete ‘work space’’. If you are fortunate to have a study, or spare room or separate corner, then set it up to be as inviting as possible. If you need to use your kitchen table, then put your ‘work bits’ in a box or container, so they stay together and can easily be put away and brought back out.
- ‘I will invest in the best WIFI connection and equipment I can afford, or I will ask my workplace for it.’ You must be able to ‘meet’ and communicate with relative ease.
- ‘I will craft a variable height work bench.’ This can be a box; little table with legs; a stack of magazines or books – just so you are not sitting all day!
- ‘I will make sure that I have as much daylight shining on me as possible and good multi-spectrum, gentle lighting for when the sun is not bright enough.‘ If you suffer with SAD then a sun lamp is also a good idea.
- ‘I will build a multi-sensory environment that pleases me as much as possible.’Suggestions are: some plants, even a small one! Some fresh flowers / a flower / a branch or twig; a pleasing aroma – rosemary twigs or basil, insense sticks (used sparingly). And the texture – a foot roller is wonderful, an ergonomic mouse, mouse pad and wrist holder.
If possible, your work space should make you smile as you look at it, or think about it, it needs to welcome you like a good friend.
And towards the ‘life’ end of your frame:
- Create a plan with those closest to you, as to when is ‘get together’ time? Might it be over a meal? Or some time to play a game together? Or just to watch a movie or programme together? Keep this promise!
- Plan an easy way to be sure you eat a healthy and well balanced diet. Make ‘good for you’ snacks easy to find. Have a schedule of certain eats / drinks at certain times. This may sound very restrictive, however, having a schude means you don’t have to use up a lot of brain energy deciding all the time. It is 11 am, I have a coffee treat!
- Move your body! Even 5 minute ‘rock n’ roll’ sessions in the middle of that repost will do wonders for you! Five minutes of yoga, salsa dancing, stretching, press ups, planking or balancing are wonderful for your body and brain!
- Make time and plan FUN! A laugh, a smile, a giggle – increase your energy and can change your outlook on the world for the better, and really quite dramatically. Children laugh some 600 times a day and we ‘adults’ less than 30 ☹.
- Make some ‘me’ time – just for YOU! Take a walk, even a short one; do some form of meditation; listen to some largo temp music (60 beats per minute); just stare outside and notice something you haven’t seen before.
- Plan a little treat – once a week / fortnight or month, as you are able. Doesn’t need to be expensive – a picnic, in or outside; a special film on TV – make popcorn and pretend you are out; dress up, dress down, dress crazy!! Something to take you away from work and worrysome thoughts.
- A fiddly time user – are you a jigsaw person? Have on on the ‘go’. How about a book, short stories preferably, that you can pick up and put down. What abut crochet, knitting, needlework, embroidery, tatting or macrame? They all focus the mind and help you concentrate and relax with ease.
- Finally, might you find a place to volunteer? There are so many people with so many needs, if you are able to give only a few hours a month, maybe as a family activity… help someone with their garden? Do some shopping for people; share a cup of tea, virtually or in real life, with a lonely person. Fill food bags for the hungry; drive someone to a medical appointment… You will receive such pleasure from these activities.
Now with your work/life frame firmly in place and agreed by any other family members, monitor your continuum swings. If the work end is tipping the balance, then select and extra life activity to bring you back to a more even place.
Using this continuum framework, you can decide what is in and what is out. Decide what you will hang inside your frame, what might be on the outer-edge, as you are not sure for the moment, and what you respectfully, politely and firmly say ‘Thank you, and no! I choose not to take that on right now!’
Contact Vanda at [email protected]
If we can help you with balancing your work and home lives, please get in touch or book a call. We’d love to chat.