THE SECRET TO BALANCE IN LIFE
I want to let you in on a little secret. This thing known as “work-life balance” that gets thrown around a lot, that makes us feel there is something to feel guilt over, that builds comparison-itis in our minds, it’s overrated.
Don’t get me wrong, I spent a fair few years searching for it - in fact, pre-business life, after Baby #2, I even had a Mum Blog that I wrote in all about my search for that elusive work-life balance. But the problem was, I had no real clue what I was looking for. I seemed to think, there was a formula, that when discovered, I would have exactly the right amount of hours focused on work, and exactly the right amount of hours focused on life. Never, did I actually stop to think about what “life” looked like, though reflecting back now, I think what I was meaning was time with my children. Which - in itself, meant I was searching for a balance between serving others through my job, and serving others in my home. Forget serving myself and self-care!
Fast forward a few years, and I’ve come to the realisation that I was looking at my world from a very surface-level perspective. I hadn’t in anyway shape or form, dived deeper below the balancing act of work and parenting life, and explored myself as an individual, whole, soul-filled person. But now that I have, I’ve discovered some wonderful frameworks that complement this deeper level of exploring.
My favourite, Te Whare Tapa Wha, is a well-known maaori wellbeing model that gives light to the idea that we do infact need to be balancing different elements of our lives, in order for our wellbeing as a whole individual, to thrive. These different elements are: Taha Hinengaro (mental wellbeing), Taha Tinana (physical wellbeing), Taha Wairua (spiritual wellbeing) and Taha Whaanau (social wellbeing). In Te Whare Tapa Wha, each of these four elements represent the wall of a whare (house), and like with any whare, all four elements (walls) support, impact, influence and are necessary for overall strength and completeness.
Let that soak in for a minute.
Doesn’t that just make epic sense? It certainly does for me.
I’ve adapted the model to suit my own personal needs (and many of my clients) by adding in a fifth element, which happens to be “business/work”. In a roundabout way I’ve come back to work-life balance. But let me explain the difference now. It’s not just about balancing time between two roles. It’s about building the strength of the foundations that support my overall fulfillment as an individual. It’s about creating joy and alignment in each of those elements, so that I am thriving.
A few weeks ago, I got hit with a mega gastro bug that lasted 4-5 days intensely, and another week or so of cold like symptoms. As you can imagine, physically I was drained, my energy levels were low, and really my sole focus was ensuring I was getting fluids in constantly, to stay clear of dehydration. I had a fever, achy muscles, headaches - it was the works! But it wasn’t just the physical element that plummeted. Within 24 hours, my mental and emotional state had dropped. My physical energy levels were low, but so were my emotional energy levels. I was miserable. My mental state had taken a hit, and though I knew this too would pass, in the thick of it, my thought patterns had definitely taken a stumble down negative lane, and self-doubt was taking the spotlight. I dropped many of my spiritual routines, my crystals, journaling, oracle cards, spending time in nature, sky/moon-gazing, gratitudes. And as you can imagine, my business focus became near non-existent.
Do you see how easily one element can impact the others if it is not 100%?
Think about a time when one of those elements has been lacking in your life, and how it has affected the others. A big stress, mental pressure or emotional situation will often lead to a lack of eating or overeating, becoming more susceptible to headaches, colds, illnesses and ailments. We find it hard to focus on our work, which tends to suffer, and we lose sight of the value of connecting in with our spirituality.
If you visualise five pillars growing alongside each other at a consistent, collective speed. That’s what harmony and balance looks like. That’s what it looks like when all elements are in check, and our wellbeing as a whole is strong and fulfilling. Now can you imagine what would happen if we focus in on one of them, and leave the others behind right?
So often you see it. We get so caught up in work, that we begin to neglect our relationships, our self-care and physical/emotional needs. We discover strains in those areas, so we dive deeper into work to try to avoid the others, and hope for some sense of accomplishment in the one area we are focusing on. And then we reach burn out. Or mass destruction. A relationship break up. And we end up spending just as much time, focusing in on the other areas of our life, dealing with our relationships, getting our physical and mental health back on track, that work takes a backseat for a while.
“The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts.” - Aristotle
A balanced approach, whether you look at it based on my holistic work-life pillars, based on Te Whare Tapa Wha, based on the Wheel of Life, or your own life needs, is one where we are mindful, present and intentional about the actions we take in all areas of our life. And that may sound overwhelming to some. It might mean you’re going from concentrating on just work, to having to fit in all these other elements each and every day right? BUT… If you make time for them now, and grow your pillars in harmony, in balance and with equal focus, then the end result is so much more than any one single pillar could produce.
How do you see your pillars right now? Are they strong foundations, balanced and in harmony? Do you have one or two that are negatively impacting the rest? Do you see a need for change?
In just a few short weeks, I will be launching the 28 Days On Purpose Group Programme, designed to take a community of individuals through the process of creating intentional, deliberate and positive changes to their pillars, identifying where they want to go, and how they can get there. I’m so excited about this programme, because it brings together so many different elements of coaching, awareness building, self-exploration and community to support individuals to release the stresses of daily life and start leaning in to fulfillment and joy. Want to know more? The registration link will be dropping any day now, but to be first in the know… Email me at email@example.com and I’ll put you on my early-bird list!
Retrieved on March 10, 2019 from https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/populations/maori-health/maori-health-models/maori-health-models-te-whare-tapa-wha
Retrieved on March 10, 2019 from https://www.nzherald.co.nz/wanganui-chronicle/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503423&objectid=11167307