How to integrate your work and life?

How to integrate your work and life?'Out of office' is now the 'new normal'
18.06.2020

The old concept of the ‘work-life balance’ is now totally outdated. Working from home, remotely or as contract workers is now the new norm. The technology that we carry with us almost 24/7 means there is no longer a clear distinction between work and life. What was left of it became history with the global lockdown.

So, how do we adapt?

How do we deal with the daily stressors around us?

Being constantly connected has caused a shift in the way we conduct our lives and work. It is one of the reasons more people are stressed and why we find ourselves amid a hidden mental health crisis. Our hyper-connected way of living means that we need to re-address the way we integrate our work responsibilities with our private life, simply striking a balance between the two is here no longer a feasible option. Finding a way to better integrate aspects of our work and life will serve us well in preventing fatigue, stress and ultimately burnout and depression. 

The number one workplace problem is stress

The Cigna survey'[1] carried out among the employees in 23 countries last year has stated that 87 percent of people felt stressed at work and that 91% experience that their colleagues’ stress impacts their workplace with a higher degree of negativity. So it is no wonder that the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) named work-related stress as the leading workplace health problem, ranking above physical inactivity and obesity.

Stress is an emotional experience often linked with nervousness, tension and strain, brought about by internal or external factors. We experience workplace stress when the demands and pressures put upon us outweigh our own skills, experience and time limits. Due to this shortage, we are likely to feel overwhelmed and therefore unable to cope. But what tools do we have at our disposal to effectively deal with the pressure? 

 

Intrapersonal Skills as our tools 

Our awareness is our intimate contact with everything; awareness connects us to objects around us and within us. It is a practical tool we can train to be controlled and directed at will.

By training our awareness we pay more attention to where we choose to place our attention or focus. Applied awareness is known to create the potential for greater self-awareness, improved impulse control, and decreased emotional reactivity to challenging events according to a study by Thompson & Gauntlett-Gilbert (2008)[2].

When untrained, our awareness is at risk of being caught by random objects, including irrelevant thoughts. This wandering awareness prevents us from switching off. Our untamed awareness is like the 'monkey mind' that is constantly after new stimuli and is the main reason we struggle to focus or relax. The fact that most people aren’t able to stop their train of thought at will only add to the problem. Constant thinking is the primary causer of our worries. It is the reason we wake at 3 AM recalling if that email included the correct attachment or if we sent it to the correct person. The constant never-ending thinking isn’t helpful and is a counterproductive inner stressor that we cannot escape until we lack practical intrapersonal skills
 

 Thinking of something else vs being fully present – an illustration from Wellness Orbit e-training 'Performing Under Pressure'.


The irony of thinking about home when at work and thinking of work when at home is a modern-day paradox and is something we often do unintentionally. By learning to use and direct our awareness, we can focus on the actual task at hand. Meaning when we are working we can stay focused on our work tasks and when we are resting or dealing with the family matters, we enjoy our home environment and time with our loved ones. 

The same goes for conducting a meeting, taking a Zoom or Skype call, giving a presentation, doing research or homework, or being actively engaged with sports or hobbies. The applicable examples are endless, but the outcome is always the same, we are 100 percent present in the zone, managing well our real-time situation as it unfolds. No more being half present, thinking about one thing whilst pretending to focus on another. 

Once we learn to identify where our awareness is, we can unlock the potential of noticing our own automatic reactions associated with our thoughts and feelings. We can now begin to tame our 'monkey mind' and free ourselves from the 'autopilot' mode we almost constantly depend upon the known circumstances. 

Intrapersonal Skills as Practical Tools

Noticing where our awareness is, gives us the freedom to discern what is important in any given moment, be it related to work or our personal life. Directing of our own awareness is the most fundamental intrapersonal skill.

Our practical intrapersonal skills act as the fundamental foundation of work-life integration and formulate a strong base for or professional skills and business success. Learning about awareness in practice and understanding how to lead all the processes in your mind, is what you can learn here, in the world's first fully mental wellness gym.

Good news to all the mindfulness fans out there is that the active use of awareness enables you to overcome the limitations of passive mindfulness and mediation practices. It opens access to noticing, creativity, intuition, insights, etc. By learning, training and directing intrapersonal skills, a vast amount of inner potential will open up that can ultimately advance human capacity, leading us towards better mental wellness and out of this crisis. 

If we are well, then we work well and live well.

So, what are you waiting for?

Take your team to the mental wellness gym NOW!
 

 

 References:

[1] 360 WELL-BEING SURVEY 2019 by Cigna
[2] Killingsworth & Gauntlett-Gilbert, "Mindfulness with Children and Adolescents: Effective Clinical Application" Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry 13(3):395-407, August 2008