Are people really talking about mindfulness when the topic is about work-life balance? Are the two concepts the same and we are discovering this fact just now?
Unfortunately, there is no cut-and-dried answer. In fact, it is safer to say the answer is both yes and no. This is because the objective for both mindfulness and work-life balance is to achieve simple happiness and a deep understanding of our roles, responsibilities and relationships in life, including our connection with ourselves and with the people we work with.
Is mindfulness simply meditation? While it’s true that meditation is one of many ways that can help us live our lives with greater presence, mindfulness means so much more. It begins with looking at your life with clearer eyes, becoming more aware of your thoughts, sense and feelings in the present moment, and learning to connect with your true self.
You can achieve this through meditation, but not necessarily. There are people who live mindful lives but don’t practice any form of meditation. They chose to have their peaceful moments in other ways, such as walking in the woods, taking a leisurely bath, or having a sip of tea in the morning without rushing.
Work-life balance is not something that can be attained by employers just providing a holistic benefits package or flexible work scheduled to employees. Yes, these make up a successful work-life balance, but other elements are needed as well, including individual accountability – the responsibility of each person when it comes to making conscious decisions and choices. For work-life balance to be realised, a person must learn how to align their work with their core values, manage stress, differentiate between the important things and those that can be put off for another day, and many other things.
Mindfulness begins when you gain a deep awareness of your thoughts, feelings and emotions and use this knowledge on how to improve your relationship with others, including your co-workers. Work-life balance starts, where else, but at the office! Then, it spreads to incorporate thoughts and actions among co-workers. In short, mindfulness and work-life balance have the same objective but they start at different points.
Mindfulness and work-life balance are equally important. They are both good and effective tools to help us bring simple happiness and profound engagement in the way we conduct our lives and relate to other people.
Avoid focusing on labels; they divert us from that which is really important – which is decluttering our minds so that we may be able to make conscious choices that would transform us into mindful and balanced individuals and employees.