Work-life balance

work/life, balance, stress, downtime, sleep, homeopathy

I’ve been thinking a lot about work/life balance lately and also wondering what it actually means and whether it even exists.

Work-life boundaries can become blurred when you really enjoy your work.

Self-awareness is the first step

Today I went out to the Southbank with Jonathan and Wilf. We visited the Hayward Gallery to see an exhibition and to take a walk by the river.

Travelling into Waterloo on the tube, I realised it was the first time we had gone out together as a family in more than a year, and probably more like two. It was a small thing, to go out for the afternoon, but felt very special.

I feel like my life is divided into pre-PhD and post-PhD, and I didn’t even do the Ph.D.!

Something else I’ve been thinking about lately is workaholism as an addiction.

Completing a Ph.D. involved a lot of focus and long hours of work for Jonathan. It shaped our family routine and was part of our lives for so long that it became normal.

Ingrained habits are hard to shift.

Stress addiction

When people come to see me for the first time, whether it’s for issues with immunity, hormones, skin, or something else entirely, we look at all their different symptoms, and the first thing I do is figure out the underlying cause for each thing that is going on.

Sometimes there are test results and/or a diagnosis, but not always. Common underlying issues include stress, shock or trauma (past or present) and drug toxicity. There are others, but those are the top three.

Stress is a huge trigger, especially as stress can be addictive when it’s enjoyable.

When you feel under pressure of work, or if you are involved in something inspiring, it can be hard to switch off.  If you keep working in ‘full on’ mode, your body is in a double-bind.

On one hand, it’s doing something that is rewarding and enjoyable. On the other hand, it’s struggling to keep going without proper downtime for rest and recovery.

Personal work In Progress

While my husband was in the final year of his Ph.D., we were both working really hard. I felt like I was losing a part of myself. I realised I hadn’t read a book in ages, or even cooked a new recipe, let alone picked up my knitting or sewing.

These last few months I’ve been making a huge effort to create more balance. I’ve taken more time off-line, more downtime generally, and more time to sleep. 

I can really feel the difference. I’m happier and calmer, and life feels more spacious.

This week I really enjoyed this wonderful interview with a 14-year-old on his parents’ work-life balance.

Lots to think about, and an interesting read whether or not you have kids.

If you are wondering whether stress could be the root cause of some symptoms you’re not happy about, and you’re looking for more balance, Iet’s talk.

 

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