With so much information available around work-life balance -- from hundreds of research studies to aisles of books to many hours' worth of podcasts -- you'd think we'd have the hang of it by now.

Not so much.

That's because there are literally thousands of variables that impact work-life balance, from big-picture issues like how we define success to seemingly tiny decisions like which partner's schedule will better accommodate shuttling the kids to soccer practice. Our individual dynamic around each of those variables makes some canned, universal answer impossible from one day to the next.

Now imagine trying to manage those variables of work-life balance with a glass of wine--or spirits, or beer--in your hand. That's the reality for those of us in the beverage alcohol space: trying to find equilibrium when it's our job to drink, or at least to be engaged in the business of drinking, day in and day out.

This year has seen a surge of interest and new initiatives within the hospitality industry for resources designed to help maintain work-life balance when your work involves alcohol on a daily basis. It's such a critical and pressing issue that the audience for these resources have extended outside the trade to embrace consumers as well. A few examples include Chefs with Issues, A Balanced Glass (full disclosure: I contribute content every other week to this community), and Yoga Unwined.

The common ground here is that we like to have a good time, and most of us also enjoy our work in such a convivial, high-adrenaline, high-touch industry as hospitality. We just want to do it mindfully.

This is where work-life balance comes in. Here are three tips for getting there, whether you work in the hospitality industry or not.

1. Cultivate a Clear Head

Do you also work in a high-adrenaline industry? Then you already know the value of starting the day with a clear mind. But that's exceptionally hard to do when that high adrenaline is fueled (and rewarded) by keeping an unreasonable number of plates spinning at the same time.

"I was proud of being able to 'run' a four-day event in my head," said Su Birch, formerly the CEO of the Wines of South Africa trade organization who now runs a life coaching business. But constantly running checklists in her head for whatever she was planning next work-wise is not something Birch is particularly proud of. Instead, she wishes she had learned to meditate, clear her mind, and be more present, which would have helped significantly with stress levels.

2. Reframe Conflict (and Your Body Language)

Conflict happens in any work environment but consider this: if you walk into a meeting expecting conflict, and also expecting to fight tooth and nail for the outcome you want, it's going to show in your body language. That, in turn, will make others in the room even more determined to dig in their heels and stick to their own opinions, rather than open-mindedly considering yours.

It's a recipe for disaster, not to mention increased unlikelihood that you'll come away with the result you were seeking. What to do instead?

Start by reframing the context, Birch suggests. Yes, inevitably there will be times when your position will differ from other stakeholders who are sitting across the table. But that doesn't mean there's no common ground between you. Anticipate their arguments ut also think through opportunities for negotiating an acceptable alternative.

In Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, the classic text on negotiation skills written by Roger Fisher and William Ury of the Harvard Negotiation Project, the conversation reaches a critical juncture at BATNA, which stands for Best Alternative To A Negotiated Agreement. Knowing your BATNA increases your negotiating power; if you know you have a good alternative, you do not need to concede as much.

3. Yoga

Many of us turn to yoga to recalibrate our muscles and those nagging aches and pains at the end of the day or on the weekends. But balance, in work and in life, can't necessarily wait for Saturday morning. Step away from your desk if need be, find a quiet and safe space, and bring a little yoga to work with you.

My personal favorite? Shoulder rolls, front to back, while at my desk. It reminds me to straighten my posture while sitting for so long. Plus, it's a gentle heart opener in the opposite body pattern most commonly found in everyday life.

Published on: Dec 11, 2018