Find your balance

With longer working hours and more troublesome commutes, finding the perfect work/life balance can be tricky. Thankfully, Cognitive-Behavioural Hypnotherapist, Raewyn Bates, shares her insight into how to create the balance we all strive for. 

It’s no secret that 21st Century life can be hectic and chaotic. The word “stress” is no longer taboo in blue chip organizations. In fact, it has taken centre stage so much so that companies are actively seeking proactive solutions to dealing with the inevitable side effects of “stress” such as “burn out”, sickness-related absenteeism and presenteeism.

While life’s demands may leave us often feeling overwhelmed, there are a few things we can do to take back the reins and regain control of our lives, by firstly taking control of our minds.

Many people have tried meditation at one point or another and usually give up because they find it impossible to “empty their minds”. Mindfulness meditation is the buzz word whizzing around the corporate world at the moment, but unlike other trends, this is one that is rooted in a tradition with a track record of success that spans several thousand years. As little as 10 minutes a day is enough to reduce cortisol – the stress hormone – and keep your thoughts clear, positive and solution-focused. The beauty of Mindfulness is that it doesn’t require you to empty your mind. It simply asks that you pay attention to the present moment, and be fully in it, not regressing to the past, which cannot be changed, or jumping ahead to the future, which you cannot control.

Despite the constant bombardment we face from technology, technology is making meditation mainstream via an app Headspace which offers wonderfully restorative guided meditations. It has developed quite a following, with Arianna Huffington as one of its celebrity devotees. I can’t advocate the benefits of a regular meditation practice enough. It may seem challenging initially, but sticking with it makes it easier, just like learning a new language or a new sport. Think of Meditation as a gym for your mind, and Headspace is your personal trainer. Notice how you become more self- aware, less reactive, make better decisions, feel calmer, and relate to those around you in a more meaningful way.

What’s the best time of day to practice? Anytime will do but if you can manage 10 – 20mins first thing in the morning, that would be ideal, but I personally enjoy meditating while commuting in to work in the morning. By the time you get off the train you’ll be calm and relaxed, as you glide through the ticket hall and float up the lift to your desk, blissed out and ready to face the day.