Balance Your Mind Not Your Life

I’m one of those fortunate people that really likes what they do. I may not always like the place I do it, but I like what I do and I’m very thankful for the ability to do it everyday.

The challenge for me personally is that I work in a highly competitive environment, with a number of, as a co-worker puts it, ‘intellectual alpha males.’ Added to that is that I am responsible for a global IT operation, and my work hours aren’t 9 to 5 most days, I’m on the phone or in meetings with people in 3 different countries at all hours of the day.

So When I read this article in Psychology today (after being referred to it by Lifehacker), it struck a chord in me. I always struggle with the work/life balance idea.

I often feel as though a simply don’t have any medicine for friends and family at the end of the day. So these suggestions are really valued gems that work for me.

1. Exercise – when I don’t get out and exercise I cam definitely tell a difference in my mood. I’m more lethargic, and while it might boost my energy per se, it does give me extra capacity to handle the stress.

2. Maintain social connections – I’m not a big phone talker, but I do try to find ways to interact with friends outside of work even for brief periods during the course of the day. I can get terribly focused on what I’m doing and this helps me remember that I have people who I care about and who care about me outside of work.

3. Stop to smell the roses – I need to do a better job of this, definitely. Many years ago, shortly after my father passed away, I would during the course of my week spend time working from the cemetery where my dad and grandparents are buried. This isn’t as morbid as it sounds, my dad became a real inspiration for me later in life and immediately prior to his death, and spending time ‘with’ him often gave me solace and guidance as I ‘heard his advice’ to me whispered in my ear.

Now, doing activities that get me outside with the people I love, like the Komen 3 day, or the Barnabas weekend retreat with my wife earlier this month help me with keeping my karma level and create a sense of peace inside.

So balance may not be about quitting your job, especially if you love what you do, but is about stopping to take a few minutes to take care of yourself, mind, body and spirit so you can be the best you can. Stephen Covey calls it sharpening the saw. And I couldn’t agree more.

Now, excuse me it’s time for my morning run.

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