Work Life Balance

Morning at the officeA great morning for a paddle.

The more I work with people with the more I see that symptoms such as fatigue, pain, anxiety, depression, gut problems, poor immunity have a lot to do with not just what we put into our mouths as food and drink, but how we live our lives – how our body processes stress.

How we process stress is the most central aspect of living that can affect our health and it affects all other aspects of living that infkuence our health; i.e. how we eat and drink, move and stabilise, breathe, rest and rejuvenate, think etc.

And work-life balance plays a huge role in how we internalise stress. When we internalise stress, we send our hypothalamus into overdrive. This is the main regulatory gland in our body (it live sin the brain) and is responsible for homeostasis or balance in the body. If you throw your life balance out of whack, you throw your body out of whack.

Why? It is understood that our body has two intelligences our thinking brain or mind (the data control system). We all know this one as it is the voice in our head that doesn’t shut up. The other intelligence is far less known and is more primal or instinctive than our thinking brain. This is the emotional brain, or body mind, and it’s job is to keep us happy, safe and comfortable with relationship to our environment. It sends messages to the thinking brain in the form of primary emotions if we start to feel unsafe, uncomfortable or unhappy.

These two intelligences ideally work toghether. The thinking brain, when working in harmony, interprets the pre-thought emotional messages from the body mind and acts on them. Ideally resolving the issue.

In our modern world however, this relationship breaks down and we live in our heads. We are taught to rationalise rather than feel and emotional awareness is discouraged (subtly with statements sch as ‘don’t be so sensitive’, ‘be strong’, ‘push through’ etc. etc.). As a result we don’t live in harmony with our environment or our bodies, sending our hypothalamus into overdrive and our bodies into imbalance = symptoms.

Creating a balance in each day with work or chores and activities that you love for no other reason than you love them, is fundamental to creating work life balance and feeling fulfilled – or happy. This creates a balance between activities that take from us and those that feed us.

Activities that feed us can be anything – the most important thing is that they make you feel good, happy, stimulated whilst doing them without having to think about it.

So many of us fail to achieve this – we sacrifice ourselves for children, family, achievement, the pursuit of success or money, without ever doing things just for themselves.

It’s not about being selfish. Just putting self first, or self equal with family/work etc. Then, the more you feel happiness, joy, fulfillment you have, the more you’ve got to give.

And your body will love you. Very much.

Personally, amongst other things, I love to paddle. Yet for many years my paddling was associated with the pursuit of goals and therefore, success. It was all coming from my mind. No enjoyment.I was obsessed. A slave to my mind and concepts.

I paddled for what it could do for me, not because I loved it. For so many people, this is what exercise or other activities represent – we do them for what they will do for us rather than because we love them. And ourselves. And this sends our body a message that we are not sufficient as we are – that we need to do or be x, y, z to be happy or fulfilled. No a good message.

Now when I paddle, I go out to feel it. I focus on my breath to get me out of my head and feel the sensation of the boat moving, the sensations in my body, feeling the ocean’s influence on my ski. It becomes meditation. And is extremely enjoyable, energising and fulfilling. And this sends a message to my body that I am perfect exactly as I am. Nothing more to do. Nothing more to be.