I’ve had the pleasure of hearing several HIGHLY successful entrepreneurs and business people speak over the last week (Helena Morrissey, Mark Dowds, Daniel Mackey) about how they balance a demanding career with a busy home life. Although their stories are very different there is most certainly one common thread between them all – there is simply NO magic bullet for achieving the perfect ‘work life balance’ that seems to be the holy grail in our busy world.
That said, there are certainly some common points that shone through as helpful during the ups and downs that life has presented to these people. Although articulated differently, I believe they could broadly be categorised as the following and ring true in my own experience
1. Leave perfection behind. Do your best? Absolutely. But see if you can just ease back on the judgement for things that don’t seem to have worked out – take the lesson and move on.
2. Nurture your close friendships/relationships. This can obviously be a challenge if you are working long hours, but make sure you diarise time to spend quality time with the people you love. Turn off your phone. Speak to them about how you are doing and ask when you need help. They can also offer a wider perspective when we are struggling under a weight of our ‘To Do’ list. We can also learn by listening to their experiences, and basically our tank is filled when we allow ourselves to relax and enjoy our loved ones company.
3. Nurture you. This is so easy to say but is often the last thing on our list. However, we must remember that in order to be our best for work and our friends and families, we have to find enjoyable ways of taking care of ourselves. There is a LOT of talk about self care these days but don’t feel like you have to buy into someone else’s idea of what’s good for you – to start just find what feels good and stick with that. It may be a late evening walk, a weekly class or simply the chance to sit and write in a gratitude journal for 10 minutes a day. Find what it is and do your best to stick to it.
Whilst the above is easy to say, I know it can be difficult to find time in the day to do these things, and often even more challenging to find the mental space to care! For me, that is where meditation and energy healing work has been instrumental. Over time they have helped me to:
- Find the beliefs that were holding me hostage to perfection and let them go
- To calm the mental chatter that drains my energy
- To find healthy ways to set boundaries so my life is more balanced
Although I still can’t claim to have a perfect balance in my life I do feel like I am always moving closer to living the life I desire.
I’ll leave you with some guidelines for the Three Minute Breathing Space – a short exercise that you can do any time of day to help bring in some peave and clarity into your busy day – use as often as you need and especially when you feel you have no time. Ironically that is usually when we need this time the most.
The Three Minute Breathing Space
In the Three Minute Breathing Space we take a few minutes out of our day to re-connect with our breath and thus allow ourselves the chance to become more aware of our current state of mind. We then have the opportunity to gently encourage ourselves towards a more relaxed, calm and centred state of mind; and if that is how we already find ourselves, we have the opportunity to allow these qualities to expand and broaden even further.
You can do the three minute breathing space anywhere and with your eyes open or closed. If you want to keep your eyes open, try to lower your gaze and allow your eyes to focus gently on the space in front of you.
When doing the practice, remember ABC….
- Conscious expansion of awareness
Awareness (1 minute)
Allow yourself to become aware of your surroundings and your body; acknowledge the sounds around you, the people passing / sitting nearby. Then notice how it physically feels to sit or stand here; perhaps do a scan through the body and acknowledge any areas of comfort/discomfort. Feel the physical sensations in the body and if possible, allow yourself let go of any tensions that you find. Acknowledge your state of mind and accept it as much as is possible.
Breathing (1 minute)
Out of this broad body/mind awareness, allow your attention to turn to the breath. Begin to focus on the physical sensations of the breath as it moves in and out of the body. You may notice the sensation of the air entering and leaving the nostrils, the feeling of the chest rising and falling, the rib cage expanding and contracting or the belly moving in and out. Allow the breath to emerge as it wants to, without trying to control it.
Conscious expansion of awareness (1 minutes)
In the final stage, consciously expand your awareness from the breath back into the whole body and to your surroundings. Take a moment to acknowledge any change in how you are feeling both physically and mentally before returning to your day. Aim to bring any new-found sense of peace or space with you to your next task.
Repeat over the course of the day as often as desired!