To the Point

Balancing Act

Let’s find ways to relax and recharge this holiday season.

Achieving work-life balance is a challenge for many of us in the meetings industry. 

Whether it’s our busy travel schedules, long hours spent on site, or just relentless deadlines, taking time out for ourselves is not an easy task. Rest assured (or not), it’s an issue for most Americans, according to the 2014 Better Life Index from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The United States ranked on the lower end of a list of advanced countries that OECD studied for the amount of time their citizens devote to leisure and personal care.  

And now the holiday season — bringing even more hustle and bustle — is upon us. If it’s not your phone or computer pinging, it’s your head pinging with all the things you must do after or in-between work. Send holiday cards … stop in at an after-work party … make cookies … take advantage of a “today-only!” sale online.

But despite our overflowing to-do lists — or perhaps because of them — now more than ever is the time to recharge our batteries. “Even if you don’t have much control over the hours you have to work,” says psychologist Robert Brooks, Ph.D., co-author of The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence, and Personal Strength in Your Life, “you can ask yourself: In what other ways am I bringing greater enjoyment into my life?” Brooks, who is quoted in a work-life balance article on WebMD, advises: “Focus your time and attention on things you can control.”

In order to stay healthy and energized, the article suggests the following: Build downtime into your schedule, drop activities that sap your time and energy, rethink your errands, exercise, and remember that a little relaxation goes a long way.

At PCMA, the timing of our annual meeting, Convening Leaders, makes for an even more hectic holiday season. We could forgo our holiday party or postpone it to another time of the year. But for many years instead, we’ve held a low-stress, highly enjoyable event here at the office for staff and their families. We’ve found it to be an extremely effective way to relax and recharge, spend some more time with our loved ones, and get in the spirit of the season with our colleagues.

This holiday season, I hope you also find some time to enjoy your friends, family, or some solitude — whatever fuels your spirit. (And hopefully this is really the time you learn to put your phone down for a few hours!) I also encourage you to look for ways to help co-workers get the most out of the season. That could mean anything from organizing a volunteer activity or seasonal outing, to offering a yoga or exercise class at the office one day.

I wish you all the best during the holidays and in the New Year.

Deborah Sexton

Deborah Sexton is president and CEO of PCMA.