Let’s get this out of the way: the term work-life balance is a misnomer. It can be counterproductive to consider work something apart from the rest of your life. Terming this concept work-life balance implies both that work is stressful and needs to be counter-weighted by the rest of your life, and that work is somehow separate from other parts of your life. Neither needs to be true, and it’s possible that neither is helpful. The linked article notes that when home thoughts intrude on work or vice versa, you waste energy trying to keep them separate.
That being said, how can you integrate work as a meaningful and important part of your real life? Most people still spend around half of their waking hours at work, so it is essential to enjoy or at least find value in what you are doing at work. Yoga emphasizes staying true to yourself, your value as a person, and the clarity needed to accurately assess your position, and therefore, influences my thoughts about how to not make work a dirty four letter word:
Infuse work with your personality
Work, and life for that matter, is a drag when you cannot be yourself. Work then feels more like a chore than an actual part of your real life. Consider ways where you can bring the full force of your personality to your work. Maybe it is the playful way in which you interact with your customers. Perhaps it’s bringing your intense focus to solving a problem. Or it could even be starting a new program within your job either in a new target area, or a supplemental program (e.g. a recycling program, an employee wellness program, etc.). When you bring things that you care about or value to the workplace, it becomes a more enjoyable place for you to be.
Know Your Worth
It’s pretty easy to get sucked into your value being attached to what you produce. I have written about this before, but your worth cannot be connected to what you produce. Even when you feel like you are not contributing enough, your value comes from existing as a person imbued with potential and possibility, and you are worthwhile. Nothing about what happens at work, or what happens in your personal life for that matter, changes that. Having your value unattached to your work can lead to an increased appreciation of the job that you are doing.
Change Your Mind
Perception matters. How you view work will impact how you go through your days at work. Determine why you hold the job that you do. Maybe what you do is a personal passion. Or maybe you need the money to support yourself and your family. Getting clear on the purpose behind your work can help you to maintain a healthy view of the role it should play in your life. Clearing your mind through intentional breathing and movement (read: yoga) can help to create the space you need to assess your reasons for working clearly.
This also applies to your perception of doing work during non-work hours. Determine what makes sense for you to not feel stress if you must work outside of your normal hours, and implement it.
Hold Others High
Just like you are not the only person in our world, you are not the only person at work, either. Investing in and considering others has benefits both within work and outside of it. Helping others, either with an encouraging word or by assisting with their work, can be a source of joy both for them and for yourself. Not only that, but helping others gets you out of the mindset where you are intently focused on your own well-being, which is a hard place to find contentment.
The ability to be authentic at work and understand work’s role in your life can lead to increased satisfaction at work and at home. Yoga is an effective tool for making space to evaluate your current state of affairs at work and notice what may need to change or shift.