The International - July 2020

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DEAR DENMARK, THANK YOU! DENMARK IS KNOWN FOR ITS WORK-LIFE BALANCE BUT, WHAT DOES IT MEAN, AND IS IT ACHIEVABLE FOR ALL LIVING IN DENMARK?

PHOTOGRAPHS ISTOCK PHOTO

TEXT KATHY BORYS SIDDIQUI

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NOW, AS WITH most topics, the truth lies in the middle, and often a lot depends on from which perspective we look at things. The work culture in Denmark provides the employees with a lot of autonomy and freedom to express their opinions. The companies tend to have flat hierarchical structures, people relate to one another as equals and address each other informally (first name basis). The atmosphere in most companies is professional as well as casual and informal. According to copcap.com “The working week in Denmark is 37 hours, giving you the freedom to pick up your children from daycare every day. Moreover, employees in Denmark earn the right to five weeks paid holiday after 12 months of employment.“ It all sounds fantastic, and it is true for the most part. I have been living in Denmark for many years now, and I have experienced the 37-hour workweek first hand. Now, just to clear things up, the 37-hour workweek is standard but does not apply to everyone. Certain job positions, companies, careers simply require more. It is essential to clarify this and not expect the 37-hour workweek to be the norm for all. How can those who have a more demanding workweek implement work-life balance?

TAKE WHAT IS YOURS

The fact is that we all need balance - especially now during the COVID pandemic. Granted, the work-life balance may be harder to obtain in certain countries and jobs, however, we are still in control of introducing, implementing, and harvesting the fruits of good habits in everyday life. We all have the same amount of is to choose something you like, it can be as simple as taking a time - 24 hours a day - what you do with it, to whom and what 15-minute walk, dancing to your favourite tunes, running, yoyou give your attention, and what you prioritise is up to you. The ga… as long as you feel joy. There are so many beautiful ways to ball is in your court, and that means that you have control over connect with your inner self and become fully awake and aware. the choices you make. Starting the day out in a systematic approach is a big step in obTherefore, good habits are the key that unlocks the door to taining the sought after balance. We like routines and strive to the secret garden of abundance. A morning feel in control; hence, a good habit morning routine or ritual is a fantastic way to jumpfeeds those needs. To practice good habits, " T H E W O R K I N G W E E K I N we do have to spend time on them. A slowstart the day. I have created a routine that I follow each day. I start the morning with a DENMARK IS 37 HOURS, GIV- er, structured morning is a rewarding way to swim in the sea then followed by simply enstart the day. How do you stick to a routine? ING YOU THE FREEDOM TO You enjoy it, and you make time for it. Yes, joying the early morning stillness while sipping my java. P I C K U P Y O U R C H I L D R E N it means that I wake up early, but the beneWhat you decide to incorporate into your fits outweigh the negatives. FROM DAYCARE EVERY DAY." routine is up to you and your preferencThe years I have spent living in Denmark, es, however, consistency is essential. Simhave allowed me to conclude that among - COPENHAGEN CAPACITY ply open your eyes and going in autopilot to many things Danes enjoy structure and valthe coffee machine does not mean you are ue their time. This goes hand in hand with “awake”. How can you be in the here and now? Awareness. One work-life balance. To have time for the things that bring you joy, way to be present is to meditate. Never in my wildest dreams did serenity, rest and relaxation, you have to choose wisely and make I see myself meditating. But, I tried it, and now I am hooked. A yourself a priority. The fine art of living for me is being fulfilled great way to relax, to feel grounded and calm. in my personal life, and professional life and that comes with takAnother great practice is journaling. It is creative, awarenessing time for the people, tasks, and activities I value and prioriraising, and healing all at the same time. I finish off my routine tise. Denmark has taught me to be mindful of time - other peowith a morning run. Not everyone is a runner, and the solution ple’s time and especially my own time. THE-INTL

KATHY BORYS SIDDIQUI FOUNDER, ACTIVE ACTION Kathy was born in Poznań, Poland and has lived in 4 countries and on 2 continents. Growing up as an immigrant and a cross cultural kid she was able to discover a multicultural world that shaped her into the person she is today. As an adult she experienced life as a re-pat as well as an expat and she is not a stranger to the challenges and opportunities that life abroad offers. Just when she least expected it, she met her Danish husband and once again packed her life in boxes and set off to live the happily ever after in the land of the Vikings and Hygge. Over the span of 10 years she has lived on Fyn, in Jylland and currently in Nordsjælland. Kathy has a background in Cultural Studies and also a degree in American Studies. She has been able to combine her passion and profession as an Intercultural trainer, Personal Branding and Expat Spouse and Partner Specialist at Active Action. A firm believer that if you are lacking something - create it. She is the co-founder of #BeGreatCollaborate, a running enthusiast, speaker, active lifestyle advocate, wife and Mom. www.activeaction.dk kbs@activeaction.dk https://www.linkedin.com/ in/kathybsiddiqui/

JULY 2020 - WWW.THE-INTL.COM


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