The phrase “work-life balance” has now become rooted in our lexicon. For many it has become the elusive leprechaun at the end of the rainbow, impossible to obtain. Life contains multitudes that can overlap and overwhelm. Careers, commutes, family, financial hurdles and even carving out time to ‘relax’ are just some of the elements that fill our daily planners and saturate our thoughts. The founders of The Charleston Wellness Group (CWG), Hallie Buchanan and Lyn Tally, began their business with the desire to help others accept and learn to manage life’s hurdles as well as to make “mindfulness” a part of our daily vocabulary.

Buchanan and Tally met in 2012 and bonded over their mutual practice of the Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy technique. The client-centered Phoenix Rising method explores more than just the physical act of practicing yoga, but is aware of the mind-body connection. It’s a non-directive method of yoga that propels the concept of mindfulness. They wanted to bring this concept to others and focus on accessibility and ease. From that motivation The Charleston Wellness Group was launched with the ultimate goal to “befriend stress to de-stress.”

In this time when humans are nearly interwoven with technology it can daunting to find a healthy balance between work and everyday life. Our phones ping with work email alerts on an otherwise lazy Saturday afternoon, we’re reminded via text by a supervisor about an upcoming deadline during Sunday dinner, etc. The work hours boundary has been blurred in part due to accessibility. Buchanan encourages her clients to protect their well-being through boundary setting. As hard as it is to resist that pinging and ringing, it’s the easiest way to maintain a delineation between personal and career life.

One of the major themes that The Charleston Wellness Group focuses on is mindful stress management. In order to manage your stress however, there must be a conscious effort made to recognize and cope with it. Buchanan advises her clients to have “the awareness and mindfulness of how they’re showing up to their life.” This can start simply with recognizing that there is time in your busy day to include an exercise of mindfulness. Whether it comes in the form of a 2 minute meditation walk during lunch, taking note of each time you see the color yellow, or being more aware of what you eat throughout the day. The CWG program titled the Deliberate Method, includes options for personalizing the practice of observing mindfulness. This program will take into account each client’s personal life and how best to incorporate the skills they teach into each client’s life. It all begins simply – a mere 2 minutes of reflection can make a world of difference.

Multitasking is often touted as a admirable trait. It’s something that we should all strive for, right? We should be able to take that conference call during the morning commute and send off a quick text to your spouse to remind them of the kid’s play at 5 while you’re at the stop light. After work you can head to the gym. While you’re on the treadmill you can plug in your headphones and make some audio notes about tomorrow’s presentation or focus in on the TV monitor in front of you and get immersed in CNN. It’s easy to get lost in multitasking, because it’s encouraged to constantly “kill two birds with one stone.” Buchanan and Tally encourage a single focus mindset, to be 100% present in the moment of your single task. A minor task such as sweeping the floor can be a meditation, if you become focused on that one act. Don’t let your gym time become another outlet to multi-task. Be present in the moment of your exercise routine. Notice how your body responds to each movement. Tally notes that their method begins with teaching their clients the ‘Why’ of mindfulness. Why is mindfulness a necessity? Both Buchanan and Tally have seen clients who have battled the physical manifestations of stress, whether that be anxiety, heart palpitations, auto immune disorders or insomnia. They teach that ignoring your mental health is not something that anyone can afford. The Charleston Wellness Group integrates yoga, counseling, and online guidance to assist their clients on the path to slowing down.

In an effort to further break down any barriers that newcomers to The Charleston Wellness Group may harbor, Tally provides a simple way to view mindfulness:

“Growing up you learn to do certain things regularly, such as brushing your teeth or bathing. If you don’t do these things in a 30 day period, how would you feel? That’s what we want to do with mindfulness – make it essential.”

The work life balance, while daunting is not insurmountable. Incorporating small steps into your everyday life can lead to a new awakening and ultimately an enhanced well being. We are grateful to have their calming presence in our Local Works coworking family!

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Larry Downey
Community Manager at Lowcountry Local First