What exactly is the famous “work-life balance”? Practical principle, real goal or ideal? This phenomenon escapes definitions and pigeonholing. It’s also like a repeated mantra. You can hear about it both at corporate training and after hours, for example watching TV series (isn’t Friends one big story about daily breaks from work?). It’s both a measure of professional success and personal happiness. And for a long time it seemed to be perfectly universal. Eternal. Can’t be changed. But something between “work” and “life” has changed. The balance point on the scale has moved.
More and more often we wonder whether the work-life distinction will serve us. At first glance, everything seems simple: at work, we forget about (other) life, then we forget about work, switch off and focus on the “right” life.
We try not to “carry” anything. But doesn’t the work-life idea mean that accidently we set work and life against each other? Things that determine the quality of our life after work – could they perhaps do a little work? A simple example: passions and pleasures. Can’t work be related to your life passion? Can’t it give you pleasure? And the other way around: stress. After all, it is not just a domain of work. We don’t leave it at the door. It cannot be postponed until Monday.
Moreover, stress cannot be contained within your head. It paralyzes our mind as well as the body. So if we think about reducing stress at work, we must remember about both dimensions equally. Figuratively speaking: caffeine during working hours and chamomile after work will not help with professional stress. It is not a balance. We need something that will simultaneously reduce the effects of negative stimuli during work and deeply relax after work, without disturbing our clarity of mind. This is how Kava roots work: they purify the mind and relax the body at the same time – whether it’s a Friday or a Saturday.
The “time” division is another problem with the work-life balance concept. Because when exactly does the time to live start? Eight hours for work, eight hours to rest and eight hours to sleep – this 19th-century postulate once seemed an ideal measure, but let us remember its historical context. It was created in the reality where children worked in factories, and the norm was to work several hours a day. And today? Today, even the economic bill of an eight-hour working day raises more and more doubts. Since it is known that we usually work effectively for several hours a day, why keep employees at work longer than it is profitable (pay for utilities, kilograms of coffee, and worse: risk professional burnout). Simply put, we are used to this eight-hour measure, but for most of us it is artificial. So why should our life begin at 5 pm?
Problems with work-life balance became apparent especially during the coronavirus lockdowns, when suddenly – overnight, without any logistical or psychological preparation – crowds of people had to switch to remote work from home. For many of us, work-life balance turned from a life goal into an empty shell. You may even say, “a gloomy joke”. Meanwhile, remote work is increasingly becoming the new employment standard. It is more and more difficult to clearly define the boundaries of the working day and to achieve a restful, restorative sleep at night. What’s left for us? Sleeping pills? This is where Kava works best. The easiest way to find the rhythm of everyday relaxation is with Daily Break, and a healthy sleep with Deep Calm – Kavaha varieties.
What has changed in our view of work-life balance? Interesting results are brought by research with a telling title: “Work-Life Balance Is a Cycle, Not an Achievement” (Ioana Lupu and Mayra Ruiz-Castro, 2020). For example, we know from nearly 200 in-depth interviews with almost 80 middle-level or senior specialists of two respected London companies that about 30% of men and 50% of women seek balance in life, consciously avoiding long hours of work. The surveyed professionals used various “strategies” (ideas, solutions, good practices), but their methods for a better balance were mainly based on reflection and redefining their priorities.
On the basis of the surveys, the researchers identified 5 stages of an effective path to balance, which the respondents paid attention to and which constitute a mini-guide:
1. Pause and think – what causes me stress, how does it affect my work and private life, what do I sacrifice to achieve my goal?
2. Take a look at your emotions – how does my situation affect my well-being, energy, fulfilment?
3. Change priorities – how does the life and emotional situation (p. 1 and p. 2) affect the achievement of my goals?
4. Consider the alternatives – what to save, what to change, what to focus on, what to work on?
5. Implement changes – publicly and privately.
The most important, title conclusion of the study is: work-life balance works effectively when we treat it as a process (a cycle of continuous re-evaluation and improvement), not a one-time (measurable) goal. What does it mean? In work-life balance, the most important thing is … balance. We don’t have to keep defining what a good job and a good life after work are. Let’s focus on what inner balance means to us in general. After all, our priorities can change, grow, or burn out too. Change is normal. In other words, maybe if we don’t try to be happy by force, are we happier?
Maybe it is better to enjoy perfect balance instead of work-life balance? And the best Perfect Balance comes from Kavaha! 🙂