Mindful Living for Work-Life Balance

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We’ve been talking about the benefits of mindful living, and how to apply mindfulness to our eating, movement, stress management, and thinking – what I call the four pillars of health. Much as we’d all benefit from more time to concentrate on our physical, mental, and emotional health, we need to take care of other responsibilities as well.

While work-life balance is a popular topic, it’s hard to achieve nowadays. We carry so much of our lives with us wherever we go, right on our smartphones. Our personal lives seep into our work time, and work invades our personal time.

We feel like we need to be instantly accessible all the time, and we expect others to be for  us. With Google at our fingertips, we’ve become accustomed to getting answers immediately. As soon as we have a thought we send it off as a text message or email. This is as close to mental telepathy as any of us will probably get.

By learning to be more present in each moment, we gain awareness of where our lives might be out of balance. Here are some techniques to restore that balance and support us to practice mindful living at work and at home:

At work

  • Set boundaries around hours – for yourself and in conversation with your employer and/or team
  • Take mindful breaks that are purposeful and planned
  • Use breathing exercises as mini-mindfulness breaks throughout the day
  • Make a list of your top priorities and let everything else go
  • Focus on the task at hand
  • Remember to not take things personally

At home

  • Start your day with the intention of mindfulness
  • Fill your mind with inspiration, e.g., read daily meditations or listen to podcasts
  • Do your housework mindfullly – be present as you make the bed, wash the dishes, etc.
  • Choose colors and lighting that feel good to be around
  • Create a space that represents your most authentic self
  • Clear clutter from your environment
  • Practice good sleep hygiene

Also be mindful of the transition between work and home. A long commute can serve as a wonderful bridge, allowing us to be very present in both places. Even if your commute is short, you can purposefully choose to drive around the neighborhood to give yourself that space and create a sense of separation between those two parts of your life.