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Prioritizing well-being: Lessons from my father

Let’s face it – we’re all aware of the importance of wellness. So, why do so many of us find it challenging to achieve and prioritize?

While I crave balance, I would not describe myself as someone who has achieved balance. In fact, I have long struggled to balance my work volume with my well-being properly.

In September, my father passed away. My father was well ahead of his time when it came to wellness. Even though he worked until he was 75 years old, he always found time for a lunchtime run. Skiing was his top priority – he often pulled me out of high school classes for exceptional “ski days.” He deeply understood the importance of balancing well-being with work.

A recent Deloitte study of working professionals in Canada, the US, the UK, and Australia, highlighted alarming data about balancing well-being and work in today’s environment. Of the respondents, 91% had specific well-being goals, with many considering these goals more critical than career advancement. However, over 80% reported obstacles preventing them from achieving these well-being goals. These challenges include heavy workloads, stressful jobs, and long working hours. Despite emphasizing well-being, many find it difficult to carve out time to pursue their goals actively.

So, what can we do? The key may lie in keeping things simple:

  1. Identify your non-negotiables. What are the times of day or activities that you will safeguard? What will you not budget on, even when workload increases and deadlines are near? The routine of having regular, dedicated carved-out time helps firmly ground our well-being practices.

  2. Write a well-being to-do list. Many of us have daily task lists primarily filled with work-related items. What if the first two items on that list were dedicated to our well-being instead? Could making that small change shift your daily focus?

  3. Find an accountability partner. Working with a professional coach can be a valuable way of pausing, checking in, and assessing how you balance what’s important. Goal-focused coaching conversations help you stay on track and remain motivated. Coaches who specialize in mindfulness and well-being practices can have useful tools and strategies to share.

My father and I shared some similarities but differed in our approach to well-being. Perhaps it’s time to draw inspiration from those who’ve mastered the art of balance, as my father did, and embrace something new this season.


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