Work-Life Balance for Cultivating Happiness

Work-Life Balance

Mental health is a hot topic in our world today. And work-life balance can make or break nurturing it – as well as cultivating happiness.

In a society that tells us that our value is decided on our productivity and net worth, we have to decide how we value ourselves. It can be hard to decide what balance looks like. Unfortunately, we are learning that when we allow productivity to drive our self-worth, we will never feel worthy. A capitalist society demands that the threshold be continually moved higher and higher, just out of reach, no matter how far you push. In fact a recent article shows that despite gains in education and wealth, we aren’t working less, we are working more. Read The Moral Case for Working Less

Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness

Chasing Wealth Can Leave Happiness Just Out of Reach

Let’s take a look at the rates of suicide relative to income in the U.S. and across the globe. A study that was published in the U.S. in 2022 demonstrated a correlation that many would find hard to believe. This study, titled “Does Money Buy Enough Happiness: Investigating the Relationship Between Income and Suicide Rates” demonstrated “a strong positive relationship between income and suicide rates across US counties over time. Higher college education rates are also positively correlated with suicide rates.” 
This concept is not new and it was previously demonstrated in a study published by the British Medical Journal in 2001, which showed that “People with a history of mental illness and a high income are at greater risk of committing suicide than their lower income counterparts” in a Danish population.

What Brings Us Happiness?

With the research at our fingertips showing that we are overworked and, for some reason that makes us sick and prone to chronic disease, pain, and even suicide, we overvalue work itself, we don’t need any more science to show – we need to work less. So to answer this bold question, let’s ask Chat GPT.

Here is a summary of its response:

Facilitating happiness is influenced by various factors that can differ from person to person. However, certain consistent elements have been associated with promoting happiness. Here are key contributors to facilitating happiness:

  • Positive relationships
  • Positive mindset and gratitude
  • Meaningful goals and purpose
  • Physical and mental well-being
  • Engagement and flow
  • Acts of kindness and giving
  • Work-life balance
  • Self-acceptance and self-care

It’s important to note that factors influencing happiness vary among individuals, and it’s essential to explore and discover what brings joy and fulfillment to one’s own life.

It is amazing to me that this technology was able to summarize something that humans have been trying to define as long as time. It was also interesting that the list lacks reference to money but includes work-life balance.

The other encouraging factor is that every single thing on this list are values we embody and teach through the lifestyle medicine approach we take at Garner Pelvic Health. We have used principles from yoga and Ayurvedic medicine to inform our practice since the day we opened our doors.

How Do You Establish a Healthy Work-life Balance?

While we have established that there are many factors that are necessary to achieve happiness, today we are focusing on work-life balance. Below are some strategies that you can implement to improve upon this one factor as you work toward whole-person wellness. 

At Work:

Embrace your Humanity and do Your Best!
  • Set realistic and manageable goals aligned with your well-being. Accomplishing these priorities brings fulfillment and control. Research shows that autonomy over work reduces stress. Create a mindful to-do list, focus on essential tasks, and seek assistance when needed.
  • Efficient time management prevents overwhelming stress. Break down significant projects into manageable tasks, completing each before moving on. Celebrate achievements with small rewards and communicate concerns about unnecessary routines to your supervisor. Minimizing unproductive tasks boosts productivity and quality time.
  • Advocate for flexibility in your work environment. Request flexible hours or occasional remote work. Research shows that flexible schedules increase productivity and commitment.
  • Take regular breaks to clear your mind, manage stress, and improve decision-making. Embrace these moments to rejuvenate and maintain well-being.
  • Utilize music to enhance focus, reduce stress, and stimulate creativity. Studies confirm the benefits of music, such as lowering blood pressure. Use headphones to enjoy favorite tunes and increase productivity.
  • Effective communication is crucial. Express concerns honestly, suggest alternatives, and seek understanding from others’ perspectives. Reconsider strategies or stand your ground calmly in tense situations. Be open to other opinions, seek compromises, and address issues constructively after cooling off.
  • Grant yourself permission to be imperfect. Embrace your humanity and do your best while accepting mistakes and setbacks. 

At Home:

Strong Connections Contribute Success and Health
  • Disconnect from technology. Prioritize personal time and relaxation while being available when necessary.
  • Ensure even distribution and clear definition of responsibilities at home. Communicate openly with family members or household members to create a harmonious environment.
  • Avoid overcommitting by saying “no” to excessive activities. Prioritize self-care over the urge to be a superhero. Setting boundaries and managing commitments lead to a healthier lifestyle.
  • Cultivate a support system through meaningful conversations with friends and family. Strong connections contribute to success and overall health.

Remember that all of these strategies are about changing habits. If you find that you have had a hard time changing habits in the past, read this post from the UNC Learning Center on Changing Habits. Consider a health-coach to guide you through this process if you need more help.

Are you in need of health-coaching or physical therapy services and want to work with practitioners who will take a whole-person approach to your care?

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