Author: Dan Klco, Clinical Director, Nomina Integrated Health Winnipeg, CD, MACP, RCC, CPA
There's an emerging paradigm shift in contemporary society: a significant drive towards reduced work hours. Workers worldwide demand fair compensation and improved working conditions, underlining the fundamental principle that every individual's contributions should be valued. However, the prospect of expanding leisure time prompts an essential question: how should we utilize this newfound freedom?
Dr. Adrianna Wilson, renowned for her research in psychological wellness, underscores the importance of finding purpose and meaning. These concepts form a cornerstone of her STAMP model, highlighting their role in maintaining balanced health. For many, work provides a crucial pathway to discovering this purpose and deriving meaning.
That's why the general advice is to seek a career that provides fulfillment. When that's not feasible, the alternative is to find a role where one's skills contribute positively to society. In both scenarios, the feedback mechanism of feeling acknowledged and valued for our contributions and the visible positive impact on our communities creates a sense of fulfillment.
Indeed, not all jobs offer a profound sense of fulfillment or infuse our lives with meaning. Yet, it's possible to uncover more minor elements of purpose within any role. However, the question then becomes: how do we occupy those freed-up hours if we reduce our time on the job?
The immediate assumption is to fill these hours with more meaningful or leisure activities. Yet, studies indicate that individuals working excessively, those underemployed, or the retired face heightened risks of depression and other mental health issues. Unfortunately, when the sense of purpose remains undefined, increased leisure time can often lead to feelings of depression. Some individuals may even withdraw from social activities, resorting to substances or maladaptive behaviours to fill the void.
As society trends towards less work, ensuring people remain engaged and feel they contribute meaningfully is crucial. Beyond professional pursuits, various activities can bestow a sense of purpose. Volunteering with youth or seniors, assisting those less fortunate, or engaging in mentorship roles can provide fulfillment for those with increased leisure time.
It's imperative, however, to avoid replacing working hours with aimless entertainment or unhealthy habits. Such behaviours can pave the way to dysfunction and illness. As we navigate the transition towards a society with reduced working hours, individuals must actively seek to find their purpose and meaning, ensuring that their well-being remains a priority.
Struggling with finding a balance and seeking a purpose in life? If you're finding yourself at a crossroads in the shift towards fewer work hours, reach out to us at Nomina Integrated Health. Our dedicated team, led by Clinical Director Dan Klco, is ready to guide you through this journey of self-discovery. You don't have to face these challenges alone. Contact us today, and let's redefine your work-life balance together.