Archive for ‘stress’

February 21, 2013

Work-Life Balance– Dream or Reality?

by mandy lipka

There’s a quote in my email signature that I purposely keep there so I can read it daily. It’s both a mindful reminder for my work ethic and a sign to others about how I do my work. It’s from Cecil Beaton (Maybe you have seen it on Pinterest lately) and it reads:

Reading this every day keeps my focus on balance in my work and for my soul. But when it comes to the daily grind, in my experience, for example– planning and writing and executing holiday promotions in a 24/7 world can suck the life out of you (especially in the retail vertical). And quickly.

Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic has a brilliant suggestion for us:

Maybe it’s time to redefine the work-life balance — or at least stop thinking about it.

In his latest HBR post, he offers some considerations:

  • Hard work may be your most important career weapon
  • Engagement is the difference between the bright and the dark side of workaholism (YES!)
  • Technology has not ruined your work-life balance, it has simply exposed how boring your work and your life used to be
  • People who have jobs, rather than careers, worry about work-life balance because they are unable to have fun at work
  • Complaining about your poor work-life balance is a self-indulgent act (And it’s the trigger to all of those negative thoughts– that vicious cycle!)

What do you think? Do you agree? I couldn’t help but soak up his every word. I kept thinking how much meditation, psychotherapy, and yoga can all play a role in helping you make these realizations and stay away from those negative cycles. And then he added the following:

In short, the problem is not your inability to switch off, but to switch on. This is rooted in the fact that too few people work in careers they enjoy. The only way to be truly successful is to follow your passions, find your mission, and learn how to embrace the work-life imbalance.

Couldn’t have said it any better! What do you do to embrace the imbalance? How do you define work-life balance? Please share below.

December 14, 2012

Breathe it all in…

by mandy lipka

breathe it all in

On a worldwide tragic day like today, it’s really all we can do. If you’d like to take the extra step, try this. I just got back from a Hatha class and it’s keeping the sadness at bay, for now.

Om mani padme hum

March 2, 2012

MBSR: Week 6

by mandy lipka

The class opens with standing yoga to wake us up and then we move to a 45-50 min meditation, our longest to date. Before we dive into our reactions, A let’s us know after reading our mid-course evaluations that the teachers purposely do not assign any reading or provide and specific background info so that students rely on themselves. I actually provided that feedback myself in the evaluation that it surprised me to not have been given any history or background on John Kabat-Zinn. We hadn’t so much as talked about any modern discussions like the recent New York Time’s piece on mindful eating. A says thoughtfully, We want you to read your own life experience, very directly.

Reflecting on the last week of practice, folks discussed mindful driving and how it combats monotonous drives. Some even turned off the radio and focused on breathing. Though we are instructed not to listen to the CDs in the car, one classmate admitted to it and mentioned he enjoyed the guide and then letting go during long periods of silence. Not filling ever moment with media was refreshing, he recalled.

This is exactly how we translate our practice into everyday life. Another classmate recalled the experience in her own classroom. Even her kids noticed her change in disposition, her increased attentiveness, and in turn, they became more engaged. Another classmate recalled a very upsetting moment during the week when she thought someone had broken into her home. The cops showed up, the dog was frightened and she just couldn’t seem to access her mindfulness practice in the moment. Regardless, to calm herself down after all the commotion, she listened to the guided meditation. This helped calm her fight or flight response to the threat allowing her to fall asleep soundly that night.

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February 28, 2012

MBSR: Week 5 – Halfway!

by mandy lipka

Tonight was the halfway mark in our course. And as you can imagine, this gave us pause for reflection. So A opened the evening with an awareness of breath sitting meditation. This time, I noticed much less tension in my face, though I still had thoughts about my current relationship, some about seeing an old friend and teeny bit of work.

Reflecting on our progress

A followed this meditation with a guided reflection on our progress– are we worried about the time we’re putting into our practice? Are we judging our practice? Are our thoughts the same? Before leading us into our minds, A emphasized the idea that growth isn’t linear, something that really spoke to me. She asked if we are open to recommitting to our practice and to losing judgment, to losing expectations. All of this sounded good to me and as I reflected on my first half of practice, I lost the judgment and embraced positivity toward the second half.

I did think I would be more disciplined in my practice, as I told a classmate, so I promised myself that in the second half and beyond, I would recomit. It seemed to be a trend in the room, despite knowing time and life events aren’t an excuse. One classmate explained, it feels more effective when it’s a constant and another made it a goal to incorporate into job with a new start.

Despite my own judgments on the consistency of my practice, I’m learning it’s working. I’ve had several life events in the last few weeks that have tested my work. My reactions are incredible different. I’m pausing, breathing and reflecting instead of giving my knee-jerk thoughts or feelings. I feel much more in control of my emotions this way. And I know I want to make this more a part of my life journey than a hobby. I do have my preferences– yoga as no surprise is my favorite for the mind/body combo and my least favorite is the body scan. I also seem to meditate at odd times. Like while I’m reflecting on the train or walking in the city. Regardless, it’s all part of my progress.

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February 20, 2012

MBSR: Week 4

by mandy lipka

We opened the class with a light standing stretch. It felt great after a vigorous yoga practice and a stressful day at work. Then we moved into a silent sitting meditation which lasted ~30 minutes. At first, I felt the immediate effects of drinking coffee shortly before class– it felt as though my heart would jump through my chest as my breathing intensified. During my meditation, I had this awful tickle in my throat and then had to sneeze. In preventing panic, I dreamt of grabbing my water bottle to relieve my throat but knew I’d disturb someone. In an effort not to “cheat,” I managed to breathe the tickle and sneeze away. Once I conquered that and felt like I was on top of the world, I realized that my thoughts started to jump and caused tension in my face. This was a first. I kept having to check-in and relax my face when A’s guidance triggered a thought (often about my current relationship). It felt very familiar to what my best friend and I call savasana brain after a wild yoga practice— that heavy, foggy mind.

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