Work-Life Balance: The Connection between Body and Mind
March 15, 2018
The connection between body and mind is undeniable. Building and maintaining a high standard of life quality requires keeping a balance between your body and mind. This might sound trivial, but many of us tend to focus on the physical appearance only. We think we take care of ourselves, when we work on a perfect body shape, doing sit-ups and eating a salad on the go. Is it you?
But let me tell you, that the physical hygiene is as much important as the mental hygiene. If you wash your body after a long, hot day, you should also learn how to relax, deal with stress, and let go. With a good reason big corporations around the world, just as the one that I work in, teach their employees how to keep work-life balance and introduce some mental health and work-life balance programs as a constant part of their strategy.
So let’s get into detail: Having a balanced body and mind means being aware of what nourishes you and what destructs you, acknowledging it and working towards a change. You can only improve if you are conscious of your weaknesses and strengths. Awareness is the key to your self-development as you cannot change what you don’t know. Here are some aspects of life that are crucial for keeping a balanced body and mind. Choose one of them and start improving it today:
Regular meal time, home made dishes, vegetables, seeds, nuts, at least two liters water a day… It’s so simple and we all know the theory, so why when it comes to the practice it’s so difficult to eat well? There might be many reasons: we are in a hurry, or neglect the importance of healthy eating. Take your time to nourish your body. It’s the only body you have. Cook and eat consciously. Enjoy it slowly. Feel each bite. Your body is a very complex mechanism. It won’t function well without food energy. You will notice it quickly: mood swings, lack of motivation, negative thoughts… Your body will effect your mind. According to Mentalhealth.org.uk, a balanced diet is crucial to keep your mind happy. But you can take it to the next level and nourish your mind. Just to name some of simple techniques:
Listen to motivating affirmations when you are stuck in a traffic or cleaning your apartment.
Feed your mind with new stimulus, that will broaden your horizons.
Use small steps: talk to a stranger, choose a new way to work, discover a different type of music.
Be curious about new experiences and sensations – your mind will thank you for this.
Consciously increase positive thinking and try to stop the flood of negative thoughts. Don’t let them take control over you. You can train your mind just as you can train your body.
Wendy Suzuki, neuroscientist and professor at New York University found herself more concentrated at work and during her writing when she started doing aerobic classes regularly. This caught her attention, and she launched a research program with great involvement of her students to study the effect of exercise on the brain. She became a professional fitness instructor and introduced at her classes an hour of obligatory exercise followed by lectures. The results were astonishing! She found out that regular physical activity has positive impact on people’s creativity and memory. She gave numerous speeches about her discovery, e.g. during TEDx Talks in Olrando, and published the outcome of that research in her book Healthy Brain, Happy Life.
Staying in a good physical shape, improves the condition of your mind. It does not mean that you should neglect exercising your brain. Make a start, e.g. learn a new language or use a new computer program.
Relax and be aware
Have you ever considered, what relaxes you effectively? I guess the answer is a ‘no’. Why are we taught how to work, but no one teaches us how to relax? Relaxation is not laziness, is a necessity that can save you from stress, depression, burn out or neurosis. Nancy Good in her book Relaxation: A Stress Management Workbook says even that ‘Relaxation is a way of life’. Take time every day to regenerate your body and mind. Yes! Relaxation should be both muscular and mental. Find out what works best for you, it might be a hot bath or energetic exercises in a gym. Free yourself from negative emotions. Win some distance to work and life’s occurrences. Ask yourself: will it matter in a year? If the answer is ‘no’, then it’s not worth your stress. A proper doses of sleep will recharge your physical and mental batteries. Practice digital detox one hour before sleep. Reading, listening to your favourite music, talking to your partner or flat mate before sleep can improve your sleep quality and deep relaxation. Allow yourself some holidays regularly. Even a long weekend in a new place can be invigorating! Don’t accumulate your days off for next year, it might happen that they expire!
You cannot improve something that you are not aware of. Only if you consciously notice that your body and mind balance is disordered, you can take action to restore and maintain it. Mindfulness, yoga and meditation are techniques that will increase your awareness. They teach to stop for a second, be present and don’t get overwhelmed with every day ballasts and distractions.
Think about what can you do now, to improve balance between your body and mind? Share your thoughts with us!