Striking the perfect work-life balance
It’s really difficult for people in today’s economic situation to keep elements in their life together and find the perfect work-life balance. The focus over the last couple of years has been about work; keeping a job, working harder because you are scared you may be made redundant and even taking on more work to make ends meet. A lot of people are anxious, worried and stressed. It feels like lots of plates are spinning and it takes more and more energy to keep them all up.
Being able to come off the pace, to find things that are relaxing, creative and future-orientated (rather than the daily grind of being in the ‘now’ and surviving day to day), becomes a near-impossible dream. With our work-ethic going into overdrive it feels obscene to stop and just enjoy the view, to take time to try out something new or to re-engage with something in the past you loved.
We all need a balanced perspective. Working harder and faster can make you stale. Problems get magnified. Your ability to see things from a fresh perspective diminishes. Take a break. Instead of eating lunch on the go (or not at all), go outside for 30 minutes and walk. The mind clears. There’s plenty of evidence that many inventors, artists and scientists had their ‘a ha’ moments when they stopped experimenting, composing or testing. Letting the mind rest enables the sub-conscious to fire up and give you your own answers to challenges. It may seem counter-intuitive to create space for not very much, but there are lots of examples that prove that resting keeps you fresh and re-charges your batteries. You owe it to yourself to create moments of peace for yourself. This will bring you back into balance.
Try to recall some of the things you enjoy. I remembered how much I liked playing netball at school. So, to get a bit of balance (I haven’t been exercising much and my fitness was going to pot) I found a local netball team and now play every week. A bit of a killer at first - I thought I'd never keep going in the first match - but gradually, my stamina improved. I’ve also had a go at dancing and taking up a craft. I feel more energised and upbeat about challenges. I also find I’m eating and drinking in moderation. So a bit of toning up and weight loss may also be a side-benefit.
Change tends to happen when our normal routines get shifted by a crisis or a vision. Be in control of your world by making it the latter. Work out what’s best for you rather than letting everything on the outside of you hold sway. With small changes, you'll find you feel more grounded and balanced.
Bring Me Sunshine
The good old Blighty weather has done it again.
Weekend before last, I enjoyed the Jubilee celebrations. I watched the pageant on the Thames (it rained); visited a National Trust property (it rained again). By the Bank Holiday Monday, all the bunting in the villages looked rather limp (due to the damp and the rain). Yet our collective spirit meant we stayed out and had our street parties dressed in hats with umbrellas and raincoats.
The only time it didn't rain was when I sat watching the concert outside Buckingham Palace on TV. What a fantastic line-up it was. I was cosy on the settee with a glass to toast the event, and then it rained inside as the roof started to leak.
Undeterred, I tried a bit of gardening Bank Holiday Tuesday. In my neck of the woods, we still have a hosepipe ban on. But that didn’t worry me, because it rained.
This week, it’s rained so hard it was like someone was sitting over my house with a hosepipe turned full on. More leaks and a worrying crack have appeared in my garden path. The soil looks like it does in a drought, a criss-cross of lines and cracks, but this time, it’s due to being water-logged.
All my plans for a few days off gardening have come to nothing. I wanted to paint my fence, mow the lawn and do a bit of weeding. So much water, everything is like a tropical rainforest. If the grass grows much longer, I shan’t be able to see my neighbours!
The weather forecast says ‘expect much of the same’ for days. Will my green strawberries ever ripen? Perhaps I should grow rice? After all, everything resembles a paddy field.
We’re told the jet-stream is a bit muddled. It’s sucking air from the north, not the south. This certainly isn’t flaming June (well, I'm using the word ‘flaming’ in a different sense most of the time now...)
Global warming is a misnomer. I don’t know about you, but it makes me think the UK will get so hot we will grow grapes and produce vats of wine. The reality is, the opposite can also happen; global drenching. This weather is certainly unusual. To those poor souls who have had two months rain dumped on them in one day, my heart goes out to you, as well as all the council staff who are trying to keep roads open and tackle emergency planning.
Why is it every time the weather does the unpredictable (to the point it’s becoming predictable) we seem in awe of it and never ready to cope? Mother Nature in the end is more powerful than we will ever be. That’s the lesson I guess.
A stroke of luck I bought a house on the top of a hill. Unless it’s snowing of course ...