DR. SNEHAL DESHPANDE has been a developmental therapist in the field of Pediatric Physiotherapy for 30 years. She deals with families whose children explore their potential in a very different way, and working with these families has given her resilience and helped her learn adaptive mechanisms. She is the Director of CME and other Healthcare initiatives for Heartfulness Institute, and here shares her insights on work-life balance with her team.
Q. You have been a professional for more than 30 years, what does work mean to you?
SD: As a physiotherapist, wife, and mother, work has been an integral part of what I call “me". My mother instilled in me that work is worship; if you want to worship God, worship what you are doing. Having this ingrained in me from childhood, I decided that whatever I did in life, I should work. There was no difference between what we call work life and family life. Work is work, joy, and happiness.
Most of us spend 40% of our lives working. We should like our workplace, because it’s another home. But do we really treat our workplaces as home, where we can relax? When we are relaxed, we can give our best. When we compare our behavior and attitudes at work and at home, we realize that we need to change things to lead a life that is aligned and balanced.
Q: Treating the workplace as a second home is an amazing way to enjoy our work. Yet many people find that difficult. What are the possible reasons for that?
SD: We think that work is different from the rest of our lives and create a distance between ourselves and work. Work is not different from us. The question is: why do we do a particular job? Undoubtedly, there is no “impossible” in the human spectra, but sometimes we do things which we don’t want to do. We do it because we want to earn a livelihood, or because of our parents, our peer group, or other social pressures.
If you want to worship God,
worship what you are doing.
As an example, we may say, “Because she is a CA, I want to become a CA,” or “Because my father wants me to be a doctor, I will become a doctor.” But what do we want to do?
What does the inner self want to do? Do we ask ourselves these questions? And “What is it that I want to do that will improve the greater good of humanity?” If we ask these questions, and treat our work as something that allows us to make the change for which we are here, I’m sure our work-life balance, the core of work life integration, as we say, can be solved.
Q: Why do you think it is necessary to have integration between work and life in this generation?
SD: Stress. It’s the biggest word that hits Google. How do we build stress? How do we build work-related stress? In the beginning it is unimaginable. When we take up a career, we say, “Oh, wow, I’m a doctor,” or “I’ve become an engineer,” but when we start really working, it becomes a tragedy. We meet friends and say, “This is happening at work,” or “Shifts are there,” or “I’m not liking my job.” Work-related stress is now one of the biggest concerns.
Work-life balance is ultimately created by our choices. By agreeing to take on more work when we don’t have the capacity, or cannot delegate that work, we create stress for ourselves. Improving our work-life balance improves our mental health, because it helps us to become organized. It helps us to compartmentalize; our wardrobes becomes user friendly, our houses become neat, etc. Having balance means having better physical, mental, emotional, occupational, and intellectual health. Wellness covers all aspects. And even working on one of them definitely works on all aspects of well-being.
Q: Can you share some well-being tips with us?
SD: Accept that this is going to be the life I will lead.
Be creative in your workplace. Feel free to do something good every single day at work. Simple things like a bunch of flowers and keeping photos of your loved ones will make you happy.
Seek support at work. Asking for help does not mean you are incapable. It says, “I’m here. I’m new. Let’s walk this way together.”
Create a schedule, something that modern life thrives upon. Include your morning wake up time, your exercise routine, meditation time, and travel time. A schedule will help you make use of that travel time, and arrive at work 15 minutes early.
Chart out where you want to go. Think about what will help you to do better. What really helps you do better is to give of yourself. Then you feel like you are contributing and you feel happy about it. Find purpose in your work, and your workplace will automatically become a happy place.
Create boundaries so your work does not creep into your home space.
Switch off your gadgets to give yourself some “me” time. Your brain need time to rewire. Instead of scrolling through your mobile, talk to a friend or family member, or just be quiet.
is ultimately created by
These are a few tricks I follow to integrate my personal and professional life. By fine-tuning things we can maintain harmony and joy in the long run.