Arianna Huffington has a message for you: There’s more to life than work.
If you’re among the many who prioritize the pursuit of success, money and the potential power these things can bring above your own well-being, it’s time to slow down before it’s too late.
Huffington shared her personal story and insights on how to achieve this work-life balance at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on March 27, in conjunction with the release of her book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder.
Apparently Huffington found out the hard way just how damaging overwork is. After collapsing from work-related exhaustion and lack of sleep in 2007, she fell, broke her cheekbone and injured her eye.
“They found that there was nothing medically wrong with me, but just about everything wrong with the way I was living my life,” she told the audience.
The incident got her thinking about what success really is. Despite her success—she’d just been named to Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list for her work creating and launching the Huffington Post—she concluded: “If I was lying in a pool of blood on the floor of my office, I was not successful.”
While your own work-life imbalance may not be quite so dramatic, chances are good your systems could use a reboot. Lost time can’t be recouped. We are so focused about the first two metrics of success—money and power—that we forget about the third metric, which includes our own well-being, wisdom and wonder.
No matter how much you love your work and how driven you may feel, you need strategies to help keep you balanced and centered. Huffington’s book Thrive provides powerful ideas about how to approach life differently. How to get out of mere survival mode in relentless pursuit of a one-track life.
- Make micro-changes to lead to larger life transformation. Start by altering just one habit to tip the balance back toward sanity. For example, try getting 30 minutes more sleep per night, or introducing five minutes of meditation into your day. In Huffington’s case, she noticed dramatic changes by boosting her zzz’s up to seven to eight hours each night, when before they had languished at four to five hours a night.
- Create rituals that can give ourselves the “other signals” to stay connected with ourselves. For instance commit to meditate everyday for at least a few minutes. “What study after study shows is that meditation and mindfulness training profoundly affect every aspect of our lives – our bodies, our minds, our physical health and our emotional and spiritual well-being,” says Huffington.
What’s important, she adds, is that both sleep and meditation have huge, scientifically backed benefits. “When you make room in your busy schedule for them, you’ll see improvements in every aspect of your life. And of course, don’t forget that there is always napping. Researchers have found that even short naps can help us course-correct.” (Image via Shutterstock)