Finding Balance in the Hustle: Rethinking What’s Important In Life
In the bustling city-state of Singapore, where the demands of work, family, and personal life often intertwine, finding balance can seem like an elusive goal. In a recent podcast episode of Wise & Shine, hosts Reggie and Dawn delved into the topic of balance and its relevance in Singapore’s fast-paced lifestyle. They were joined by two insightful guests: Jaslyn Koh, founder of The Busy Woman Project, and Jayme Joy Ne, a pre and postnatal exercise specialist. Together, we explored the concept of balance and shared their perspectives on achieving harmony in various aspects of life.
Jaslyn, being an advocate for women’s well-being, emphasized the importance of finding inner peace amidst the external chaos. She described balance as a state of mind, where one feels an inner locus of control and a sense of tranquility within oneself.
Jayme Joy, a specialist in pre and postnatal fitness, chimed in with her experience. She highlighted the challenges faced by mothers in juggling multiple roles and societal expectations. Jamie emphasized that achieving balance requires making conscious choices and prioritizing certain aspects of life at different times.
Defining a balanced life in Singapore:
Modern society expects individuals to excel in various domains, leading to an overwhelming array of responsibilities. Balance is not about evenly distributing time and energy across all areas, but rather about accepting the need to prioritise certain aspects while maintaining inner equilibrium. Then there’s the gendered expectations placed on both men and women in Singapore’s society. Recognising that the pursuit of balance extends beyond gender and encompasses the pursuit of personal goals while avoiding burnout. Living a balanced life in Singapore means pursuing one’s aspirations without compromising mental well-being.
The Elusive Quest for Balance
‘Balance’ is “a very nuanced word.” According to the pre and post-natal fitness expert, true balance comes from “building that safe home and safe space within” through cultivating inner peace. Balance is “a state of mind” involving acceptance of life’s ebbs and flows. “There will be periods…where you would be over-emphasizing on something more than the other, but it’s accepting which one you want to prioritise,” said Jaslyn.
While balance cannot be perfectly quantified, Reggie proposed considering what a balanced life looks like in the context of Singapore specifically. As the host put it, balance means “pursuing your goals while feeling in control and comfortable during the process – not cracking under pressure.” Both guests concurred this encompasses the qualities Singaporeans strive for amid fast-paced living: accomplishment without burnout.
A Case Study in Imbalance
To explore balance more tangibly, Jaslyn volunteered a current challenge – running her business at “more than 100%” capacity with work continually increasing. “Bills are being paid late. I’m missing admin deadlines,” she described. Recognising imbalance signals overextension, the hosts asked how Jaslyn plays a role in perpetuating the scenario through self-expectations as an achiever. While admitting her part, Jaslyn affirmed “life is like that – it’s going to shift” requiring dynamic management, not static perfection.
Practical Tips for Reclaiming Balance
With imbalance so easily creeping in, what realistically helps busy Singaporeans restore equilibrium? Jayme cited exercise like gym sessions or runs as offering mindfulness through focused physicality absent distraction. Jaslyn shares journaling provides her personal routine and internal processing space. More broadly, the busy woman advocate stressed self-compassion through self-care, accepting one’s limits, and prioritising wellbeing.
Top 5 Tips for Maintaining Balance:
- Establish non-negotiable “me-time” like exercise without devices
- Practice journaling to preemptively manage stress
- Show yourself grace by acknowledging life’s ebbs and flows
- Prioritize wellbeing by preserving energy for important priorities
- Recognize when imbalance happens and take proactive steps to course-correct
The evolving terminology around work-life balance:
Singapore’s government shifting towards the concept of work-life harmony. This shift reflects the acknowledgment that true balance may be difficult to achieve, given the demands of a fast-paced society.
Check our piece on Forward Singapore: Part 1, Part 2
Balance takes continuous effort not perfection. The key is cultivating perspective and presence of mind. In a demanding city, one must make peace with imperfection, stay vigilant for signs of overextension, and leverage support systems. With self-care, prioritization and flexibility, balance remains an achievable quality of life even amid life’s demands. As Jayme fittingly summarised, “It’s about fighting for the right problems and caring for your wellbeing along the journey.”
It is an ongoing process to achieve balance that requires self-awareness, adaptability, and the courage to make choices that align with one’s values and aspirations.
You can check their full interview on Wise & Shine, Episode 59 on Spotify, YouTube, or Apple podcast for the candid banter on how ‘Balanced life’ is differently viewed by different groups and is it a sacrifice or a reprioritisation?
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