THE ART OF BALANCE WORKING OUT TO WORK IT OUT!
Its 7 pm, you are still at the office, and it looks like you’re going to be a while. Lately, your schedule has been tighter than those jeans that fit you in college; squeezing in a workout when you’re so pressed for time seems like the last thing you’d want to do with your time.
On the contrary, regular exercise helps you balance your time and relationships.
A study conducted by Russell Clayton, Assistant Professor of Management at Saint Leo University’s Donald R. Tapia School of Business, showed a remarkable link between physical exercise and mental calm.
The survey consisted of a group of 476 respondents who were asked about their work-life balance and their experiences of resolving demands of both home and work. These “demands” are what keep us from venturing into the “fitness” arena. You have got to work and at the same time your family is as important, if not more, to you. Clayton’s research had two major findings.
First, and not too surprising, was the fact that exercise reduces stress. One of the major problems with not being able to handle all the expectations and priorities is that it leads to high stress levels which further leads to loss of productivity in professional life and deteriorating relationships in personal life. I have had a similar experience, believe it or not. A few months ago I regularly attended cardio kickboxing classes, and in retrospect, I can say that I never felt more fresh and energized. I felt that I could achieve anything. It came in with a significant confidence boost too, which clearly reflected in my work life and in my personal life too. My workouts also served as an interesting icebreaker with which I made new friends.
My stress levels were down and this reduction is tantamount to an expansion of time. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to hit the bags of late. It gave me a sense of purpose and rush of adrenalin that kept me going through and through the week, something I could really use now.
Similarly, the second benefit that Clayton’s research shows is that exercise helps in “work-home integration via increased self-efficacy.” The term refers to the idea that one is capable of taking things on and getting them done. Now the interesting part, even though it is a matter of “self-perception” is, it has a real time impact on reality. “People with high self-efficacy are less likely to avoid difficult tasks or situations, and more likely to see them as challenges to be mastered” says psychologist Albert Bandura. I experienced this firsthand.
When my kickboxing classes pushed me to achieve a milestone, I was pushed to my limit where I thought I could do no more. However, there was a little bit of me that wanted to carry on and finish it. Pushing myself to the limit and finishing my set gave me a sense of accomplishment. This sense of self-efficacy had trickled down to my professional and personal life as well. I enjoyed taking on professional assignments that were new and more engaging.
Exercising regularly keeps you active; it kept me active too. Here are three things that I think would help:
- Choose a comfortable time and setting It can be in the morning or evening at your gym or at home or even at work. But it helps if it fits your schedule and needs comfortably.
- Analyze what is more suitable to your age group and lifestyle. I played basketball a few weeks ago and now I am writing this piece with a fiberglass cast on my leg (long story). A yoga session or a brisk walk might do the trick for you.
- Stick To It!!
This is the key and art of it. You need to commit to yourself. Your physical vitality helps you to balance your mind’s health as well. “Give time for yourself and you will have time to give to others. It’s a paradox, but it’s the truth”. – [Yours truly, Avash Nirola]
Companies should take note, particularly the guys from Management and Human Resources. Clayton’s research also suggests that companies will benefit from removing constraints on employee exercise. Giving time to exercise may not be practical, but it is advisable to do so. Companies need to take innovative steps in increasing time for activities that promote sound health.
THINGS THAT COULD HELP
- Hold outdoor meetings where “the guys” can talk about getting things done back in the office. This works dually. It also taps into the Emotional Intelligence of the person (check out TNM’s Volume 2 Issue 12’s Career section or go to http:// tnm.com.np/emotional-intelligence-thekey- to-effective-leadership/) as well as the physical activeness
- Implement “Stretch-breaks” with 10-15 minutes of light breathing and stretching techniques. This can be relatable to the practices of yoga. These can be done at the workspace itself and have profound impact on some.
- Finally, we need to get the word out that exercise is not a “selfish indulgence” says Clayton and I completely agree. Everyone needs to understand that being physically active makes life more fulfilling. Next time, make notice of employees who are active regularly versus guys who are not. Observe their emotional and behavioral patterns. You might have some people in mind already.
IN THE END
All I am trying to do here is to get you guys into thinking about the possibilities if we give a little time to ourselves. We NEED TO DO this. All of you out there who do exercise regularly: keep it up! And for all of us who are sitting down procrastinating about turning your fitness around, let’s make it happen. I am changing a few habits of my own. Although not a physical exercise I am on Dabur Chawanprash mode (its true). We need to start small by changing a habit or two of ours. Find what gets you going and find ways to do it and finally discover the Art Of Balance!
PHOTO BY: JENISH RAJBHANDARI
MODEL: KEYUSH K. SHRESTHA
LOCATION: FITNESS MANTRA, BALUWATAR.