Coping skills for life
Part of learning to create a work-life balance that works for you is learning to keep things in perspective. This requires us to keep asking ourselves “just how important is it?” when things happen that disrupt our day.
Apart from continually striving to keep things in perspective, there are a number of strategies we can employ to ensure resilience in the face of an ever-more demanding environment.
According to Dr John Lang, an expert on creating work-life balance and author of the book Re: Life, taking the time to exercise or pursue a hobby assists in managing stress for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it’s very difficult to think about what is worrying you when you’re chasing a tennis ball across the court. Exercise is considered a “displacement activity”, meaning you are removing your mind and body from exposure to stress.
Exercise also increases the level of “feel good” hormones and chemicals in your brain - like seratonin, which also reduces appetite and beta endorphins. Studies show that people who exercise display lower levels of anger and hostility and higher levels of calmness than their sedentary peers. Exercise also has an antidepressant effect similar to those provided by commonly prescribed drugs like Prozac.
An unfortunate paradox, however, is that those who would benefit the most from exercise are least likely to participate! Businessmen who make the time to exercise see it as an investment, rather than something that intrudes on their working day.
Studies also show that the number of people who participate in hobbies like making model airplanes, stamp collecting, playing a musical instrument or drawing/painting has declined.
From a stress management perspective, a hobby is constructive and brings balance and perspective, even while it is seen by the most stressed people as an activity that takes up valuable time which could be used “more productively”.
In the attempt to create work-life balance, nothing is more productive than reducing stress. Get a hobby, take up yoga, playsport - far from taking up your time worthlessly, it generates energy and enables you to keep perspective in your life.
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