By Nora Isaacs
The phrase “work/life” balance implies some kind of seesaw; weighted too much to one side, and it will tip over. Lately, I’m trying to think of ways that the two aren’t so separate, ways that we can bring balance into our workday so when we get home for the rest of our “life” we are less frazzled and fried. When done mindfully, underneath the steady hum of stress, we can find ways to nourish ourselves throughout the workday.
Here are a few things I've discovered:
Stop multitasking. We think we’re being more efficient at work by multitasking, right? Wrong. Researchers at Stanford University found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time. When we multitask too much during the day, we come home frazzled and fried. My writer friend uses a program that shuts off the Internet for a set number of hours so he can work. Another friend has a little alarm on her computer reminding her to get up each hour to stretch. When you do these things, you are building the foundation for more balance.
Bring peace into the workplace. There are so many opportunities to choose peace over stress throughout the day. Take advantage of those in-between moments. Have a spiritual book and read a paragraph while you wait for a meeting. Bring your journal and write on your lunch break. When you do, you’ll find that you come home just a little less drained.
Become aware. I notice that I hold my shoulders tensely at meetings. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Bring the principles of yoga into your workplace: pay attention to your alignment, your breath, your interactions with others. These things will help you integrate your home life and work life, so they don’t seem so separate.
These are little things, but together they add up to a powerful formula for a more balanced day.