Men’s Health Week – thoughts from our FD on Work life balance
Details: Written by Eleanor Lodge
"Work life balance; is there still such a thing? In the digital age we have access to everyone and everything constantly. I therefore believe that the concept of a work life balance is out-dated; weighing work on one side of the scale, and life on the other suggests it is a choice between the two.
"During lockdown, work and life blended into one. We worked, lived, schooled, worked out, ‘went to the movies’, ‘met for drinks’ all in one place. There was no either or, and eventually that blend became a blur!
"So, if the work-life balance became a blend that became a blur, what is it that we need to do in order to stay physically, mentally and emotionally healthy today?
"When discussing this with my wife (a trained health coach and mindfulness tutor who runs her own successful business) she explained it as a ‘dance’. A dance around our own self determined ‘wheel of life’ that brings us optimum health and happiness.
"The wheel is balanced when we understand what we as an individual need, in our own unique set of circumstances, to maintain our own level of health – which includes emotional, mental and physical health: the health of our mind, our body and our soul. For me, my wheel for physical health includes eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly. I am an avid cyclist and like to cycle with mates at the weekend, run with our dogs during the week or do a HIIT session with Ali in the garden. The spokes of my wheel for ensuring my mental health are not only related to food & exercise, but also connection and socialising play a huge part. One thing I missed during the lockdowns was a beer with mates, putting the world to rights. My emotional health is balanced when I have exciting projects that I can add value to, when I feel like I am making a difference, as well as ensuring we have quality family time together.
"The time allocated to each spoke of the wheel doesn’t have to be equal to be balanced. Just as music doesn’t have equal periods of time on each note, if we tried to balance it all, it would become a march, not a dance. Ali explains how the dance between each spoke on the wheel is intuitive, you have to listen to your body, listen to your heart and ask what it needs, what it is lacking and where the next foot needs to go.
"I relate this to my bike rides – where I ride with in harmony of the landscape, noticing the rhythm of my pedals. Sometimes I have to work really hard, pedalling furiously, full of effort as we go up the hill, changing gears until we get to the top. And then we take time to celebrate how far we have climbed, to enjoy the view, taking time to recover and rest before we go again.
"I have to say, my favourite moments are then when we can free wheel – I cruise down the hill, feel the air in my lungs and I’m grateful for the full life and health I enjoy… That and bacon sarnies!"
Financial Director at the Skills Network