Last Monday, April 30, 2018, I spoke to the members of the Orange County Bar Associate, ADR Section on Balance for life and work. While the program was geared toward lawyers and mediators, the points made are applicable to everyone. Here is a summary of my presentation.
First, why is achieving balance so important?
#1. Lawyers were found to rank among the top 10 most stressful jobs (ranking slightly below doctors and enlisted Military Officers, and equivalent or slightly higher than Heavy Construction Operators, Rural Farm Operators, Electricians and Taxi drivers. This group including those in the legal field, have a higher than average suicide or fatality rate.
Second, What are the effects of stress?
#2. Adverse effects to the mind, body, spirit....impacting health and overall well-being (muscle tightness, headaches, frequent infections, skin irritations, fatigue, etc); impacting the brain's focus, clarity and functioning (worry, etc. lead to foggy thinking, impaired judgment, nightmares, negativity (which leads to more adverse effects), etc.; and impacts our behaviors (smoking, insomnia, impacts relationships, drinking or substance abuse, etc.)
Third, what can we do to reverse those effects?
#3. Take inward looks. Figure out Priorities, purpose, passion, goals, what is important for you to spend your time on? The average lifespan is 78 years (28,740 days). Think consciously how you spend your days? Are you spending your time wisely and in accordance with your goals and what's important to you? Or are you perhaps wasting some of that precious time on people and things that don't matter, or that cause harm or unhappiness to you? Awareness is critical.
#4. Balance requires Awareness and Mindfulness.
#5. Balance involves the overall care of your mind, body and spirit. If you aren't taking good care of yourself, you can't take care of others.
#6. Set up Daily Rituals to carry out commitments:
(A) Express Gratitude every day (upon awakening, and before going to bed);
(B) Set an intention for each day;
(C) Commit to some form of movement, exercise, yoga or other practice each day. The goal is to rid yourself of bad habits and create and maintain new positive ones.
(D) Meditation and Mindfulness- Meditation is the best way to clear the mind, allow clear thinking; improve creativity, and to become your best self- both at work and in your personal life;
(E) Stretching, massage, and other forms of self-care to prevent injuries and pain and disability;
(F) Drink a glass of water with fresh squeezed lemon each morning to alkalize your stomach.
(G) Good nutrition and eating meals at regular intervals. The adage "You are what you eat" is true! Think of it as fueling your body and mind - which work in tandem by the way.
(H) Sleep! Vitally important.
(I) Plan and organize your day in advance; keep a calendar in order to accomplish your top priorities each day.
(J) Set aside quality "YOU" Time- your "Hour of Power", plus "Best work" time for your work or projects that require the most brain power.
(K) Set aside specific time for emails and other "time drains".
More will be shared in the next posts. What are some of the things you do to become and stay sharp, clear-headed, calm and feeling healthy and happy? Appreciate your input and any questions.