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Homer Simpson: Okay, epiphany, epiphany… oh I know! Bananas are an excellent source of potassium!


Just like Homer Simpson I too have had an epiphany, although thankfully not involving the components of a banana.My epiphany stemmed from the thought process "Am I as well balanced and content at work as I feel I am in my personal life?" Here's how I reached my moment of enlightenment........

While coming to terms with the fact that as a working mother of 2, I spend as much time at work as I do nurturing my children, it got me thinking about just how well balanced I am both out of work and in work. With this in mind, I trawled the internet looking for articles describing what defined as having a well rounded lifestyle.

I found a fantastic self-help take on improving one element of my lifestyle: It's a deliciously proven fact, the findings of which have been published in the Journal of Nutrition, that consuming chocolate, wine and tea daily actually helps improve our cognitive performance. Researchers in Norway and at the Oxford University studied the relation between cognitive performance and the intake of three common foodstuffs that contain flavonoids. Those who consumed chocolate, wine, or tea had significantly better mean test scores and lower prevalence of poor cognitive performance than those who did not. That's a tactic I will most definitely be implementing to aid my balance in life!

We live modern life at an extremely fast pace and the pace that we work at can make it difficult to live a well balanced life. There is a strong view that we need to make time to look holistically at our lifestyles to strive towards the right balance. "Work, rest and play" is a typical adage that gets batted around. Spending quality time with family and friends, balancing our schedules and regular exercise are all deemed essential to aiding a fulfilling existence.

In my average 24 hour day, I spend approximately 8 hours sleeping (providing I don't try to catch up on recorded episodes of the Sky 1 drama "Lie To Me" at 11pm when I should be heading for bed). I have roughly 8 hours of my own time spread out before and after my working day, including getting the children to school, playing taxi driver and hostess with the 'mostess' to the endless stream of usually adorable children who arrive for tea.

This leaves 8 hours that i spend working. Straining the mathematical side of my brain, I concluded that I spend half my waking hours working. With that abrupt awakening, I realized that I need to take stock and ensure that I am getting the right balance of contentment in my working life as I do out of my own time.

While I mulled this over, I decided to ask a few of my friends to see what their thoughts on the subject of having a well rounded lifestyle meant to them. The general consensus was that on a personal level you need enough money on which to live comfortably, be relatively intelligent, and have plenty of friends.

Sounds okay until you realise that the financial security, intelligence, and popularity being held in such high regard, were actually the product of, not the basis of a balanced lifestyle. A balanced lifestyle therefore isn't innate, but something we achieve through effort and hard work. So if that's supposedly the criteria for being generally well rounded in life, what do we need to feel well rounded and content in the workplace?

Back to our friend Homer Simpson then, and a conversation from an episode in which his adorable boss Mr Burns is giving Homer back his job........

Homer: Thanks for giving me my job back, Mr. Burns.

Mr Burns: I'm afraid it's not that simple. As punishment for your desertion, it's company policy to give you the plague.

Smithers: Uh, sir, that's the "plaque."

Mr Burns:: Ah, yes, the special de-motivational plaque to break what's left of your spirit. For you see, you're here... forever.

[Smithers screws the plaque to the wall]

Mr Burns: [reading] "Don't Forget - You're Here Forever."

From my own perspective, I want to feel motivated and inspired, appreciated, respected and importantly safe. Surely as long as these factors are incorporated in the foundations of my work environment, the path i tread daily should be one of fulfillment. Fortunately, my boss doesn't share the employer ethics Mr Burns does. I don't need a plaque on my wall to state that I am "Employee of the month". Thankfully my boss has created what I feel is essentially a well balanced working environment in which to spend my time....lucky me!

So if you were to compare the balance of your well being at work, would you find yourself in the Jo Dawson place of contentment or the Homer Simpson workplace of hell?

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