Where did the idea of “work-life balance” come from exactly?

It’s crazy to think that during the Industrial Revolution, prior to the 1920’s, the average work week was between 70-100 hours!!

Can you imagine?!

It was Henry Ford who established the “nine to five” workday and although it quickly became mainstream, he wasn’t the first to come up with this idea. In 1817, Welsh manufacturer and labor activist, Robert Owen came up with the phrase “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest”. Once the “nine to five” workday was established, it became clear that workers were more productive with a shorter workday, so in 1940, this became part of the U.S. labor laws.

While there is an interesting push to change the 8-hour workday in recent years, until then, encouraging boundaries and organization is the best way to protect one-self from burn-out and prioritize well-being.

Ways to CULTIVATE a healthy work-life balance:

Just like you do with work related tasks, use a planner to carve out time for things you WANT to do versus things you NEED to do:

Get out in nature
Read a book
Engage in a hobby
Have a meal with friends or family
Watch a movie
Engage in a form of exercise that you look forward to
Play a game
Do something that stimulates laughter

Another key skill to helping create more balance between the attention and energy that go into work versus self is to develop awareness of the signs that indicate you may be slipping out of a healthy  balance and a identify strategies for getting back on track:

Examples of signs:

Decreased focus, concentration, attention span, motivation
Fatigue, lethargy
Irritability, impatience, reactivity

Possible strategies:

Get support! If you want help with creating a wellness vision, setting goals, and having accountability
Take a break: Stretch, Breath, Go for a short walk, Meditate (even for just a few minutes)
Carve time out to re-evaluate your work-leisure ratio and re-commit to a more sustainable balance.
Remind yourself that taking more time to recharge and fill your cup will ultimately increase your productivity in the end.

I invite you to schedule a complimentary Discovery Call with me here so that we can chat about what’s consuming you and come up with goals and strategies to help you THRIVE, not just survive!

About the Author:

Abby Thrasher

Abby Thrasher is originally from sunny San Diego, CA and recently relocated to Cincinnati, OH after living in the Bay Area (CA) for almost 30 years. She is a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach with a background in Occupational Therapy, Dance, Yoga and Massage Therapy. She received her BA in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz in 1999 and her MS in Occupational Therapy at San Jose State University in 2009. Her experience as an Occupational Therapist (OT) was primarily in acute and outpatient mental health settings, with a few years of physical rehab work, which both strongly complement her training as a Health Coach. 

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