Can you imagine being invited to someone’s swimming pool only to find a structure bulging at the sides, filled with milky, murky water. You can hear the unhealthy sputtering of the filter attempting to clear away the debris, but it’s mostly just accumulating around the edges accompanied by a thick film of something oily. I highly doubt that you would voluntarily swim in this pool, though of course you could if you wanted to. Despite the murkiness and the debris, it still would probably cool you off on a hot day, but it wouldn’t be the refreshing experience you’d hope to experience.
Take Care of Your Pool; Take Care of You
This murky pool is a metaphor for an employee who doesn’t have a healthy lifestyle outside of work, someone not acquainted with the five pillars of wellness. Yes, they can get the job done most of the time, but they are not in a position to excel or to deal competently once things start to get messy. In past generations, work and personal life were very separate things. We went to work in order to make a living. It had very little to do with happiness or fulfillment; and as long you could provide for your family, you were doing okay.
But eventually, work started asking more and more of us. It took more of our time and consumed more of our consciousness. Now we can leave our office, but our emails provide a direct line of access to us at any time of day. Not to mention it’s difficult to make ends meet in a one-income household. This used to be the norm just thirty years ago; now the cost of living is such that we need two incomes just so we don’t have to live from paycheck to paycheck.
In addition, we are currently living and working during a pandemic. Many of us have transitioned to working at home, and businesses are realizing that they don’t need employees onsite to get the job done. It is still uncertain what this will mean for business moving forward, but it most certainly means a further blurring of the lines. It will become pertinent for employees to self-impose boundaries between work and home, but that is not something we’ve ever been coached to do.
What it All Means
Work is bleeding outward into all aspects of our lives, and there is very little personal wellness intelligence moving in the opposite direction. The expectation in the workplace is that we all will just make it work. If we’re tired or rundown, we’ll have a coffee. If we’re stressed or worried, we’ll compartmentalize and move through it. If we’re hungry, we’ll get by on whatever quick service food we can fit into our short break. And if we’re gaining more and more weight for every additional year that we sit in front of our computers, well at least our job isn’t physically demanding and it doesn’t matter much.
But what’s becoming increasingly more clear is that our entire lives are inter-related. Our health, our sleep, and even our finances all play a critical role in how we perform on the job. Any of us can get through a day of sleep deprivation or can compartmentalize a financial worry for a day or two, but when this becomes the story of our lives, we become more and more depleted. Without proper whole body wellness, we can’t function at our highest level. Without enough exercise and rest, we lose our vibrancy. Without financial security, we plummet into a state of constant stress. (Don’t even get me started on the damage stress causes.) Without community and a sense that we are part of a bigger picture, we may wonder why we’re even bothering with any of it at all.
Add into This the Demands of a Post-Pandemic World
When we are forced to adopt new telecommuting standards in the workplace, we are going to be forced to adapt on the fly with no true guidance. It might seem easier at first to work at home, but if you’ve been doing it, you know this isn’t the case. Suddenly the hours and days blend together. Without very rigid boundaries and time blocking, life can devolve into pure crisis management.
What’s the Answer
You may know how important wellness is on a general level, but it’s the hows and the whys that we’re going to dig into in this blog. It’s easy to forget where we need to be putting our focus, and it’s tough to know how exactly to implement these changes in our life and in the lives of our employees…even if we want to.
In this blog, I’ll be sharing helpful tips, advice, recipes, videos and action items that you can use to have a healthier work life balance. I’ll do it by focusing on my five pillars of wellness:
- Financial Health
When your life is in balance, everything is better and that includes your ability to do your job. Let’s get started.