Work-Life Balance: A Cycle, Not a Trophy

DR. SHRUTHIKA N
Blog
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23 December, 2023

For years, the concept of work-life balance has been held up as the holy grail of professional fulfillment. We strive for that elusive equilibrium, that perfect blend of career ambition and personal well-being, often feeling like we're falling short. But what if the very idea of a static balance is flawed? What if, instead of a trophy to be won, work-life balance is a cycle, a dynamic dance between our professional and personal selves?

Imagine a spinning wheel, with work and life at opposite ends. Sometimes, work might take the lead, demanding long hours and intense focus. During these periods, personal activities might take a backseat, but that's okay. The key is to understand that the wheel keeps turning. Eventually, the momentum shifts and life takes center stage. Hobbies, relationships, and self-care become priorities, replenishing our energy and reminding us of who we are outside of work.

This cyclical approach acknowledges the inherent ebb and flow of our lives. There will be times when work demands more, and that's simply a reality. The pressure to maintain a constant 50/50 split can lead to guilt and frustration, making us feel like we're failing at both work and life. Instead, let's embrace the natural rhythm of the wheel. When work takes the lead, focus on quality over quantity in your personal time. Find moments of joy and relaxation, even if they're brief.

But remember, the wheel keeps spinning. When life takes the lead, don't feel guilty about stepping away from work. Take that vacation, prioritize family gatherings, and pursue your passions. This isn't "slacking off"; it's refueling, reinvesting in yourself to be more present and productive when work comes back around.

This cyclical approach requires flexibility and self-compassion. It means letting go of the rigid expectations we often place on ourselves and accepting that there will be times when the wheel tilts one way or the other. It's not about achieving a perfect balance, but about navigating the cycle with intention and awareness.

Here are some tips to embrace the Work-Life Balance Cycle:

  • Communicate: Talk to your colleagues and loved ones about your needs and priorities. Let them know when you're in a busy phase and when you need more space.

  • Set Boundaries: Learn to say no and prioritize activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul.

  • Practice Mindfulness: Be present in the moment, whether you're working or relaxing. This can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

  • Celebrate Small Wins: Recognize and appreciate your achievements, both at work and in life.

  • Seek Support: Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Talk to a therapist, counsellor, or mentor for guidance and support.

Remember, work-life balance is a journey, not a destination. Embrace the cycle, enjoy the ride, and trust that the wheel will keep spinning, leading you to a fulfilling and enriched life.

Dr. Shruthika N
Associate Professor

UniAthena

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