Ahhhh…BALANCE…that elusive state of existence that so many of us seem to be chasing. Walk through the magazine aisle at any store and it’s easy to see that there is an obsession, need, desire to obtain balance in our lives. And yet it often feels like it is just out of our reach.
What I’m finding in my own life is that balance is much less a single destination to be reached, but rather an ongoing journey to travel in and out of as the winds of life blow. What is balance one day is completely out of whack the next. And vice versa.
Most days I struggle to feel that calm, peaceful feeling of being balanced, but the days that I do are pure bliss. While I’m far from begin an expert in this area, I have plenty of learning to go, the following are some things that I’ve found helpful to focus on when I’m feeling the need for balance quickly.
- Priorities– Taking the time to write down what my current priorities are…then write them again bringing them to less than 5 items. I’ve found that EVERYTHING is a priority until I start to really look at what’s most important. Writing it down is key for me.
- Lists– I’m a list girl. I like to see something physically written down in front of me. This really helps me to organize my thoughts, my needs, and what I really need to do. And what I don’t. Goes back to priorities. Some days making my bed just isn’t as important as making donuts for breakfast because my little girls are begging…and telling me I’m the best mom ever. That always helps to get donuts 😉 Back to a list. Having one allows my brain to be dumped out of my head clearing the space for calmness to enter.
- Kick perfection to the curb– That’s right, kicking it to the curb! Perfectionism sucks. It’s great to have high standards, but the problem with perfectionism is that no matter what we do it’s not enough. It creates severe stress and chaos in life trying to reach it. Letting it go creates lots of room for balance to occur.
- Sleep– Okay, full disclosure, I’m horrible about going to bed and getting enough sleep! Lack of sleep creates all kinds of issues, especially when trying to achieve some semblance of balance. It seems counterintuitive in our go until you drop society where resting is seen as lazy, yet without adequate sleep it’s hard to feel calm. Life seems overwhelming no matter what’s happening! This is my personal quest this year, to get more sleep on a consistent basis.
- Just say NO– This one habit, and I believe it is a habit, will do more to bring balance into our lives then any other. Just my opinion, but I think it’s also very true! Goes back to priorities. Once priorities have been established it becomes much easier to say no to things that really just are not that important. They feel important, but really probably aren’t. This is a tough one, after all the kid’s school NEEDS us to run the bake sale or any other number of things that just will not get done without us…or perhaps they will. My personal experience is there are plenty of other people that will step up and say “yes” to these opportunities. I don’t have to. Unless I really, really, really want to….and normally I don’t really want to, I’m just feeling like I “should.”
- Check in Daily– Or even moment to moment. I’m finding more and more that being balanced is a constant changing state of being in my life. When I consciously ask myself what I need in a specific day or situation, I’m more likely to maintaing a feeling of balance. Saying no becomes easier, my lists become shorter as many things can be left for a different day. Overall, this one, simple task can be the difference between balance or absolute chaos in any given moment. Many of us do this unconsciously for special days like weddings, parties, events at school, etc. But doing it daily, or multiple times a day, can be life changing! (Note to self to do this more often!)
Like many other people I know, I’m striving to find that balance in my life. I want to be able to be the best person I can be for myself, my husband, my children, my friends, and my community. What I’m learning is that I can do it “all” just not all at once! More importantly, I don’t want to do it all at one time!
I would love to hear how you find balance in your life. What works for you? What doesn’t?
Photo credit: Nathalie Babineau-Griffiths