Life-Work Balance – Ep. 8: Love yourself to recharge and focus
In the past few weeks, I introduced you to the concept of life-work balance where life should come first, then you can focus on your business. When your body and mind are in balance your wellbeing, energy, productivity, and focus improve. This can lead to a healthier you and also a more successful (and profitable) business. This can be achieved by following very simple principles every day.
Let me ask you this question today: How many of you find the time to take care of yourself, to dedicate minutes, hours, or even days to self-care? We always take care of others, our spouse, our kids, our family, our friends, our clients, but we rarely say “today is dedicated to me”, “now some me time”.
I know, this sounds like a frivolous thing to do but we really need to take care of ourselves and be able to take some time off, especially if we have demanding jobs or clients.
We’re all extremely busy in our daily lives, and we have a hard time to unplug and really enjoy those special moments, even if it’s just for half an hour. And we don’t know what we’re missing: by taking time off we can recharge and become better individuals in our personal and professional life. We cannot afford to be constantly stressed or pressured; our body and mind will be negatively affected and we will experience stress and burnout. Not only that, but we cannot take care of others unless we take care of ourselves first.
Taking breaks during the day helps with focus and productivity. It’s as important as eating healthy, sleeping and exercising. Our bodies, our brains are not machines, they cannot work 24 hours a day. We need to stop what we’re doing and dedicate time to ourselves that gives us pleasure, happiness, positivity. Even if you’re working on a project at work that gives you excitement, you still need to take a break to recharge.
It’s like that saying, “stop and smell the roses”. And it doesn’t have to be one entire day, you can just take little breaks during the day for 10-15 minutes, maybe 1-hour breaks where you will completely detach from your routine and from work.
Research shows that most people can only concentrate for a maximum of about 60-90 continuous minutes before needing to take a quick break to stretch, move, maybe get a drink of water or a healthy snack to bring some fuel to your body and mind, and so on before they resume for another session.
Please don’t check your phone to look at social media notifications! That is not a break! Instead, go outside (sunlight has beneficial effects on our bodies), take a walk, play with your dog or cat, read a book, grab a healthy snack. As an alternative, engage in activities that can calm you such as yoga, meditation, or simply breathing techniques. These are proven methods to increase focus and positivity. Or, go to the gym. Do you remember what we talked about last week? Stop feeling guilty about taking breaks. You need them!
And, if you still feel guilty about taking breaks, look at your breaks from a different point of view: use them to learn something new. Many people (and I’m sure you have friends like that) don’t think that learning can be so beneficial for their life and their future. Some are even so arrogant that they think they know it all. Don’t you know someone who is like that? I can’t stand them! Learning is one of our most powerful weapons to elevate ourselves and bring our life to a higher level. This doesn’t mean that you have to go back to school, you can learn from anything in your daily life: a new recipe, a new dance routine, a new sport, how to combine colors, how to play an instrument. Your brain will love this new activity and it will lead you to happiness and excitement. New learning will bring lots of positive energy, and it will promote neurogenesis (the creation of new neurons).
You could find or nurture a hobby that you are passionate about. Playing, dancing, knitting, these are all hobbies, and if you choose a hobby that can involve groups (sports leagues, visiting museums, book clubs, or painting classes, for instance) then you add a social component where you can spend quality time with old or new friends. This generates happiness, a meaningful life and, as a result, you become more successful and more likely to achieve your goals.
Hobbies can also help you cope with stress because they let you escape from your daily routine and they remind you that life is not only about those issues or challenges you are going through.
If you’d like to take advantage of your breaks to reflect and maybe write you can create lists. This is something that I find very enriching, and I would recommend The 52 Lists Project by Moorea Seal. It is a beautiful journal packed with lists of all sorts and they’re divided by season. You can list your favorite characters from books, movies, etc., list all the people who brighten your day, list your dream trips, list the things that make you laugh, or list the things you want to be known for, and so on. This is an excellent exercise for your breaks. It helps your brain to completely unplug from your work and think about something positive.
As part of today’s topic (Love Yourself), I also wanted to discuss the concept of rewarding yourself which is very important to achieve your goals. You should reward yourself when you hit a milestone or just when you’re proud of yourself for something that you were able to accomplish, whether it’s in your personal or professional area. Rewards create positive feelings and they motivate you to do more and better every time. You choose the reward and it doesn’t have to be huge, but make sure it’s something that you really wanted, something you were looking forward to.
Don’t wait for your reward until tomorrow, or you might not have the time to do it. This could be a free afternoon, maybe a little spa visit, a call to a friend, or a manicure. Just don’t fall victim to the so-called retail therapy that focuses on instant gratification provided by materialistic items. It can become addictive and it can negatively affect your finances, so that might not be a good thing. Make sure that your rewards enrich your life such as reading a book, going for a walk in a park and notice what’s around you, experience nature. You have no idea how inspiring, recharging and motivating this is for us!
If you have kids, why not making them part of your reward system? What incentives would help you and your family achieve this goal together? What if you all decide on a vacation destination? The vacation will happen only if everyone helps to keep a clean and organized home for one month and they all stick to the plan, for instance. Talk about accountability!
Another thing you should be careful about is rewarding yourself in ways that can sabotage your hard work. For instance, if you were able to lose some weight don’t go out and order pizza or cheesecake. At the same time, if you were able to save more money than planned (kudos to you!) don’t buy fancy shoes and designer dresses just because you convinced yourself that you deserve them. By doing so you will go back to your original problems instead of moving forward.
Try to make the habit of rewarding yourself a daily habit, and you will see how effective it is to get motivated!
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As a Holistic Precision Life Coach and creator of the Life-Work Balance System, I empower ambitious professionals and high achievers like you to optimize themselves and unlock their full potential, fostering enhanced well-being and productivity in their lives and careers. I combine innovative methodologies (epigenetics, neuroscience, chronobiology, and positive psychology) to facilitate profound lifestyle transformations.