I work a lot. Whether in a receptionist or occupational therapist role, I am at my workplace almost every day and when I’m not there I have found myself thinking about work or even working from home. The other day when I was reflecting on this I started to wonder what does it mean to be healthy and have good wellbeing? How do I know when I’ve achieved work-life balance and how do I go about changing my routines to achieve work life balance whilst maintaining my current amount and standard of work? At this point in time I am sure that I don’t have work-life balance, and as something that I believe is very important, I would like to explore how exactly I can work towards a healthy balance between my work, home and social lives to ensure that I do not become burnt out.
A question that I think is worth addressing is what is wellbeing? Wellbeing is NOT happiness but it IS the interplay between all aspects of your life and how you interpret those. It is important to note that an individual’s wellbeing is their own perceptions of how their life is going. There is no measure of wellbeing and we can only know that we have achieved wellbeing when we feel like all facets of our lives are working well and moving forward. In my personal opinion I think that wellbeing is the interplay between the mind and the body. You cannot achieve health and wellbeing without being comfortable with your body, regardless of ability, and without feeling sound of mind. Mental health is equally as important as physical health and to achieve a balance in life, both must be nurtured.
At this point in time, having researched and reflected on work-life balance, health and wellbeing, I have decided that although I do not have balance in my work and life roles, I have achieved health and wellbeing. I feel positive about where I am at this stage of my life, managing a private occupational therapy practice that is providing more access to members of my local community. I have a loving family who are supportive, caring and helpful when I feel overwhelmed. I am able to use this blog to reflect on things that may be on my mind, and my colleagues make themselves available when I feel the need to debrief, or I need advice professionally. I feel whole, both mentally and physically and am confident that I have achieved wellbeing, but how do I translate this into work-life balance?
The answer is that I don’t know. It is hard for me to envision a time where I am not thinking of ways of improving myself, or aspects of my business to provide the best possible care for my clients. What I do know is that I am going to make more of an effort to be social. I will try to leave work at work and focus on myself at home, to exercise and meditate, to play with my adorable pets and to do things that I enjoy doing. Work-life balance is hard. It is illusive and for those people who have achieved it I commend you! The point of this piece is that wellbeing and health are achievable as long as you understand that they are subjective. Everyone’s values and perceptions of health and wellbeing are different and just because you don’t look like, or have the same lifestyle, or feel like the person standing next to you, doesn’t mean that you have not achieved wellbeing yourself. It is said that wellbeing is a holistic approach to disease prevention and medical health and if you think about it, it makes sense. By looking after your physical body and your mind you are taking care of yourself and limiting the factors that may contribute to deterioration.
I will say it again every person is different! Do yourself a favour and take the time to reflect on the positives in your life that are contributing to your wellbeing. I promise you it will be cathartic at the least, and at the most will help you to feel happy and healthy, or will motivate you to make a change either for yourself or for someone else.
I would love to hear people’s thoughts on what wellbeing means to them and how they achieve work-life balance. Please feel free to contact me via email or social media, or leave a comment below.