Happiness, something that we all seek and also a life full of purpose with a great work-life balance. But if we desire all this so much why is it so hard to achieve it? When people think about happiness they usually think about being rich, famous and healthy. Also having the perfect body, house and owning many expensive things. So what we do is to wear ourselves out to obtain these things by working long hours not realising that our mind is really only focused on that. Think about how much your shoulders, neck and back hurts when you get home, your eyes feel dry, tired and itchy, your knees hurt too and you spend some of the days in the office with a horrible migraine. This is definitely not a good way to achieve good health. It doesn’t matter how wealthy you are, if you don’t have good health then you are far away from accomplishing a work-life balance. Without that you will never achieve happiness. But there’s more to say. What really is happiness?
It’s not about achieving all those things but it’s really about finding ourselves, feeling strong & balanced and being able to control all the negative thoughts and feelings. So let me guide you in seeking that first because like all of you, I am seeking this happiness too and even if it will take time I intend to achieve it.
Steps to achieve happiness and a good work-life balance
Be present and face your fears
Many people want to feel happy and fulfilled in their life but only a few really know and understand how to achieve it. Even though it is a feeling I believe that at the same time it can be also learned by concentrating on our present actions. What do I mean by that? Imagine if whilst you were washing the dishes, preparing dinner, cleaning the house, tidying your room, even whilst you are working, you were completely focused on everything you were doing and being present. Imagine if normally instead of enjoying the present moment you are continuously thinking about your past or about negative thoughts, what do you think that is doing to your mind? It is actually consuming it and this is when I have realised how tired I felt when I was doing that and how difficult and almost impossible it was to stop it. It is a habit which is growing and you are reinforcing it the more you are doing it. It is like a skill, the more you type the faster you become and the more you think the better you become at it. The only difference is that one is a useful skill and the other is very harmful for your well-being and you don’t gain anything positive from it. So how do you stop? How do you control it? You need to first of all find out what or who caused your past to be so painful and find the root cause of these bad thoughts. Or if you have regrets then do something about changing yourself because unless you change, your life will not change. Living in the present moment is the key, because it is real. You can’t change the past and you don’t know what will happen in the future so the present is what you need to enjoy and it is the only thing you can change and have control on. You have to live today and the only way to do that is to completely pay attention to every single thing you do. Focus on every scent, everything you touch and listen to. Write a weekly planner and stick to it because if you don't complete your tasks, you’ll start to lose faith in yourself. Writing your goals will inspire you, build self-esteem and make your days more exciting. You can plan your future for example but it is not good to worry about it. If there’s something that you would like to do or learn, do it today and don’t wait until tomorrow. Do what you feel to do and what you want to say in the moment, don’t be scared, don’t hesitate and don’t let anyone rule your life. It is your life and it doesn’t belong to anybody else. If you don’t master your fears and face them they will stifle your future. Make a new start, see things from a fresh perspective, use your past experience to become a stronger and wiser person, use that in your present so that you can have a brighter, happier and more balanced future.
See mistakes and struggles as a way of advancing in life
In order to make changes in your life and have a fresh start you need to realise that encountering struggles and making mistakes are part of the process. Struggles are a part of progress and if you are struggling it means that you are taking actions. If life was so easy and we didn’t encounter any obstacles, we would probably be less likely to appreciate what we have. We would also never learn anything and grow our knowledge. Remember that if we didn’t struggle, it means that we would not take risks and if we didn’t take risks then it means that we are not growing. It is by making mistakes that we learn how to do better next time and that is important not just to be successful in our work life but also in our personal one.
It is very important to understand that the mistakes that we make today and the problems that we are facing at the moment in 10 years time will not matter anymore. But in order to improve your future it is crucial as a first step to recognise that you are the one who made the mistake without blaming other people and that you use it as a learning opportunity. It is also a way to find out what abilities you have as for example if you are not good at doing something then you are more likely next time to know what you can do well. Making mistakes is about experimenting, growing, learning and it means that we’re still trying and we have not given up yet.
Use your imagination to create and design your future
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world” and “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”. These are two of my favourite and inspiring quotes of Albert Einstein. I personally believe that imagination is a powerful tool that starts from childhood. As we get older though we tend to use less and less of it and many of us feel like we don’t have any or very little of it left. This is not the case. As adults we can actually have more imagination than when we were children as we have more experiences that we can use to nurture it. The only difference is that as we grow older we tend to think more logically and we don’t have all that time to fantasise as when we were young. We are also not as spontaneous as we feel more conscious about what others think of us and feel afraid to be judged. I personally have to say that imagination brought hope and happiness in my life, not just during my childhood but especially in my adult years. Drawing, decorating, designing and classical dance are my ways to express my freedom, my imagination and my creativity. I would not be the person that I am today without these and they meant and still mean a lot to me. My advice is to never lose the childlike wonder because it is not just beneficial for your mind but also for your body. It can benefit your work-life balance because it releases stress as it gives your mind a break and it will help you to be more creative in your job. If I wasn’t creative I could not be an Italian content administrator and definitely I could not be a ballet teacher or dancer. Let your imagination flow, travel your mind, feel free and don’t let anyone stop you.
Take good care of your body & mind through physical exercise and meditation
I could start by making a list of things you can do to keep healthy but before that I would like you to reflect on some things first:
Feeling healthy, energetic and amazing, looking good and increasing the lifespan is all something that we all dream of. But why are we dreaming it if we can all have it? I guess it is easy to say “This week I am going to exercise one hour a day, eat healthy food, do meditation, pay attention to my posture, looking after my body etc” but then you end up doing some or none of it. It must be frustrating, you might feel hopeless, you might wonder why it is so hard if really it is not. It could be because you were procrastinating, you felt depressed, you weren't energetic or maybe something came up. Well, we all have sudden things happening in our life but everyday? If we want to move forward and make progress we need to stop making excuses. But I do understand that life can be complicated for some of us and for other people there can be some serious problems which they are experiencing and which stops them living a healthy balanced life. Eating too many snacks has been one of my problems to cope with stress and sadness. I had it for years and didn’t even realise. I was concentrating so much on making other people happy that I cared less about my own. But I have realised that the problem doesn’t go away if you eat sugar, scream, cry or anything else which makes you feel good at that moment. What you need to do is to understand why you are not training, why you are neglecting your body, what is on your mind, what are you afraid of and what worries you. Face your problems, find a solution, focus on what you want from life, what you desire, what you want to become and remember that what you used to be, your bad habits, mistakes are in the past and you need to leave them there. There is a famous Chinese proverb which says “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” which means that if you take that first step, it is a start. This is referred to anything in life but a good example is how difficult it is to start to go to the gym or even to go for a run but once you start it will motivate you and it becomes easier to continue. This is because we made a step towards our goal and that makes us feel good about ourselves. So are you ready to make that step? I am going to do it and remember that we are in these together. So let’s start with a list of things you can do to improve your health:
Drink plenty of water
Be active not only whilst exercising but throughout the day. Even if you exercise for 3 hours if you have been sedentary for 8 hours straight you will still be at risk of many different kinds of health problems such as obesity, spine issues, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis and anxiety. Read the post “Brilliant and healthy ways on how to stay fit with a desk job” and “Change your life:how to improve your posture”
Sleep 7-8 hours a day (Albert Einstein used to sleep 10 hours a day + daytime naps to fuel his amazing brain). Then again some research suggests that sleeping more than 9 hours every single day can actually be harmful for your health. It may be a sign of a sleeping disorder, depression, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Breathing and meditation
Avoid stress. Discover this post “Healthy lifestyle: how to prevent & manage stress effectively”
Eat a healthy diet. Check out these posts “How to lose weight, get toned and feel amazing” ,
Look after your skin. Check out the post How to have an amazing youthful glowing looking skin
Stop checking your social media to give your mind a break. Also it is unhealthy for your eyes to spend for example 8 hours a day on the computer and then after that being on your phone.
Go out in the fresh air, for a walk, a run in the park, on the beach or anywhere outside.
So to achieve a work-life balance the first step is to look after your health because without that you wouldn’t be able to be productive at work and it will affect your performance. Also if you are not in the right frame of mind and you are coping with some personal issues, how can you find that work-life balance? There is no point to find a list of things that you can do to have that balance if you have not worked on your personal life yet. It could be an abusive or toxic person in your life, a difficult childhood, some serious health or financial problems, low self-esteem, a sick person or pet in your family, moving home or country etc. Any of these things can put a lot of pressure on you, so until they are not sorted first then it might be tricky to find the happiness and eventually that perfect work-life balance that we all want.
If you are having financial difficulties please check the post “How to resolve your finances and get back on track”
In order to achieve a good work life balance it is very important to spend some quality time with your family, friends or just to chill out and relax. Sometimes I understand that some jobs more than others require longer working hours and to keep working even when you are out of the office replying to emails, finishing off a project etc. Some other kind of jobs they need you to lift heavy objects, use dangerous chemicals or just being in a risky job such as being a police officer. We all need to work and earn a living or do more such as using our money on holiday, shopping, saving and on other things but we need to look after our health and we need to give time and care to our loved ones. It is also crucial to understand that one thing is to work hard and another is to be a workaholic. It is great to be passionate about your job, being focused and perform well but as long as that is not affecting your life. If you are struggling to achieve a work-life balance by yourself remember that there are many health specialists who can be a support and a guidance to overcome this tough road such as counsellors, psychologists, social workers who are specialised in work-related issues and can help you. Sometimes even talking to a family member or close friend or colleague can do the job. Like I mentioned earlier it is key to look after your health because if you can’t love yourself then it is very unlikely that you can love and respect the people around you. We can only have true happiness in our life if we feel happy within ourselves. Good energy and balance come in our life when we feel happy, positive and when we have trust in ourselves and our capabilities. Also being grateful for what we have is essential to achieve happiness because people sometimes don’t realise that often the more they have the more they want. Just having a partner, a child, a good friend, a good neighbour, a job, a roof over our heads or some precious sentimental belongings should be enough to make us feel grateful for what we have. That doesn’t mean that we can’t wish to have more, such as a better job, buy a house or move into a bigger one, being healthier etc. but we need to appreciate what we already have.
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I hope that you found this post helpful and that my advice will help you to achieve the happiness and the good work-life balance that we all desire. Also if you would like to ask some questions, share your own experience, or just leave a short comment down below, I would love to hear from you. Also don't forget to Subscribe if you don't want to miss any future posts and have free access to premium content!