Work/life balance . . . an oxymoron?

businesswoman sitting in lotus position on green field

A dear friend recently shared a blog article that got my juices flowing. What at first blush had me defensive, ended up presenting perspectives that I hadn’t previously explored.

This was the line that sent me searching for the comment button:

“No amount of multivitamins, yoga, meditation, sweaty exercise, super-foods or extreme time management, as brilliant as all these things can be, is going to save us from the effects of too much work.”

But honestly, I jumped the gun with my reaction. The author was making some very powerful points:

  • We’re blaming ourselves for not being able to thrive in a culture of overwork
  • Work/life balance is not achievable until we begin to say no to overload
  • We work too much to really be well!

“We’re working longer hours than ever before, and as our employment conditions continue to worsen, they’re simply repackaged into a new version of normal in an effort to make the truly pathological state of many of our workplaces appear acceptable.”

While it may be true that the burgeoning “wellness industry” (of which I am a member) has gotten the attention of corporate America, Zoe Krupka, PhD is correct when she suggests that the internal champions for these “stress reduction programs” may be in fact, a part of the very system that promotes work before life, i.e. stress.

So, how do we, as wellness providers deliver a message of hope?

In my humble opinion, meditation can save us. Meditation isn’t just about learning to live peacefully with the unrest (literally), but rather to empower oneself in a way that only “time in” can do – to promote clarity and the ability to make choices that one may not have previously thought possible.

Of the 81 comments (to date) to Dr. Krupka’s blog post, I get the distinct impression that overworked people are getting tired of hearing the glorified promises that mindfulness boasts and would love an excuse to dismiss them – perhaps because developing mindful awareness just looks like a LOT more work.

In closing I’d like to suggest that first, mindfulness should not be touted as a “fix-it-all” for work/life imbalance, and second, that mindfulness isn’t always pretty. You don’t simply float on clouds and avoid the raw nature of the roller-coaster ride. Instead, you’re invited to LOOK deeply at the reality of what IS and from that perspective, gain a ton of insight and perhaps a new, creative, constructive plan that addresses the imbalance head-on.

I invite you to read the whole blog article and let me know your thoughts:

https://theconversation.com/no-its-not-you-why-wellness-isnt-the-answer-to-overwork-42124

Be well, for now~!

Cassie

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