When work and life are out of balance, you might have a conversation in your head that sounds something like this:
I love my job, but it hurts that I am missing out on valuable time with my kids, time that I know I will never get back. I am going to have to occasionally leave early so that I can have more time for them. When I get home too late, I know that I missed out on something very special. And I don’t like going to bed feeling guilty.
I’m tired of taking my job home with me. I need a weekend off from work, without interruption. I want to be able to do what I want—read a book, listen to music, work in my garden, sleep. I miss this part of myself, and I’m taking it back.
My spiritual reservoir is empty. Taking time to commune with nature is important to me, and I barely have time to meditate or to appreciate a sunrise or sunset the way I used to. I guess I just got caught up. Yes I’m successful, but I don’t feel fulfilled. I have to bring that sacred part of me back to myself. I deserve to be happy on all levels.
There’s no doubt we are living in a world so fast-paced that it’s easy to get lost and misplace our feelings and values.
A value can be something tangible or intangible that we hold in high esteem—like family, freedom, spirituality, health, goodness, playfulness, self-sufficiency, time to spend as we like and so on.
Your personal and professional lives are individual parts that together make up the whole of you. If you put most of your time and energy into just one, you run the risk of leaving the other unfulfilled.
So when our jobs consume us, our souls pay the price. Of course, it is important to love what we are doing for a living. It is essential that we devote quality time toward our job and do our work with excellence. The problem arises when what we do for a living interferes with our other precious core values.
These cherished values are sacred parts of us that need to be experienced and expressed. They give us self-worth. If we ignore them for too long, it leads to unhappiness, regardless of how prestigious your profession is, how much money you make or how successful you think you are.
When you have conversations like these in your head, it’s a sign that things must change—and it is up to you to change them.
When you finally become aware that your job is interfering with other important parts of yourself, you can begin searching for ways to create more balance in your life.
The result of living in alignment with all your values is pure and simple happiness—increased peace of mind, self-respect and a sense of fulfillment. Now that’s what I call nourishing your soul!
This article was published in August 2015 and has been updated. Photo by Jacob Lund/Shutterstock