Is balance possible?
And if so, is it really achievable?
I recently celebrated a birthday & while I am a firm believer in having this day off to do whatever makes your heart happy I wasn’t sure this was going to happen this time around seeing as I also recently started a new job. Luckily for me, my boss insisted I take the day off & so I did. My first thought as a multipassionate entrepreneur with a seemingly endless to do list? There’s so much I can get done!
My grandfather & I made plans for an afternoon adventure which left me with a few hours in the morning, but I think it’s safe to say the Universe had other plans for my celebratory day because every single email I attempted to send that morning bounced right back to me. I closed my laptop & decided it was going to be a free day, a day which involved no work of any kind & also no guilt for leaving this all behind in favor of quality hang time & exploration.
One of my biggest struggles is wanting to do/be/make/experience everything without feeling rushed or icky with my decisions & my work. This personal quest for balance is very real & all that more relevant as I juggle responsibilities including a full time job, an evolving business, varying relationships, and a lot of hobbies.
Balance is most commonly thought of & referred to as an exactly equal amount be it weight, time, money, or effort. The perception is if we aren’t in complete & total balance every minute of every day, then we’re clearly out of whack & headed for disaster.
But here’s the thing: this is another person’s perception who most likely has no insight into your priorities, responsibilities, desires, or even the very wide spectrum that is your life.
Personally, balance means more of a give & take like I’m going to give my body the nourishment it requires to sustain my sometimes hectic schedule, but I’m going to have my take with the occasional treat in the form of a frozen yogurt sundae. Or, I’m going to give every ounce of my energy to both the company I work for & the business I am growing, but then I’m going to take a night off to relax & hang with friends or watch television. This is what balance looks like to me & both sides are essential for my lifestyle with all its very active components.
But this isn’t to say that I've got this balance thing nailed down or that this is how it is all the time because if I’m being honest, there are days & weeks when I feel like it’s all or nothing. A case in point was this time last year when I was helping my sister plan her wedding, moving to a new city & starting a new job, and beginning my journey to become a certified life coach. There was a bit of traveling thrown into that mix, too, but everything happened within a few months. It was overwhelming & I didn't want to admit that so I spent most of last summer feeling drained because I was trying to do it all without giving myself the necessary recovery time.
Stepping back to gain a realistic idea of what I can actually accomplish is another thing I struggle with when it comes to juggling all my plates. This is still a very new concept to me because, like I said, I want to do it all! Unfortunately, this isn’t possible all the time so I’ve learned to accept that I cannot burn the candle at both ends without quite literally burning myself out.
There actually are only 24 hours in the day & we are all only human. You can’t be everything to everyone & you certainly aren’t expected to be 'on' every single day. For me, it comes down to a combination of acceptance, flexibility, self-kindness, & letting go of expectations.
HERE ARE 4 QUESTIONS I ASK MYSELF WHENEVER I BEGIN TO FEEL EVEN THE SLIGHTEST BIT OF OVERWHELM:
What are your priorities?
Make a list (which shouldn’t consist of more than a few items) of what makes you happy & keep it close. These are your non-negotiables & where your attention needs to go first with everything else taking a backseat. Time with family? Check. Weekend festivities with friends? You betcha. A few hours alone at your favorite coffee shop? Yes please.
How’s your energy?
I wish I had a ton of energy all the freakin’ time but even rock stars need a break now & again. I know I'm not going to be happy with half-assing something just to get it finished so I'll take it easy if I'm feeling spent, but you can bet your butt I'm riding the motivation wave all the way when I'm feeling that extra bolt of energy. Paying attention to how I’m feeling has been hugely helpful & I’ve noticed a difference in the short time I’ve consciously been tracking it.
When is my next adventure?
It’s important for me to have this day of play in mind when I’m in the midst of a handful of very long days. Spending time in nature or exploring a new city feeds my curiosity & also helps me to refuel so any time spent exploring is wildly beneficial.
Where can I turn to for some much needed encouragement?
Some of us thrive with in-person interaction, some of us have a go-to support system online & based around the world, and then the rest of us have some mixture of these two. Work out which suits you best & hold onto it tight. The odds are that you will at some point need someone who has stood in your place & felt the exact same emotions while you are trying to live your best life, conventional or otherwise.
AND IN THE EVENT YOU'RE STILL FEELING FUZZY & A LACK OF BALANCE, HERE ARE 4 REMINDERS I FIND HELPFUL WHEN I'M FEELING LIKE THINGS ARE ALL OVER THE PLACE:
I choose what I want to do rather than what I should be doing.
I’m not sure when we all decided to ditch our wants for shoulds but I’m putting my foot down right here and right now. I promise not to tell you what you should be doing if you promise not to tell me what I should be doing, deal? To me, this is truly listening to what my body needs when I’m beginning to feel run down, following what my heart wants, and taking a break when I'm just not feeling it.
Sustainability and consistency are key.
I’m in it for the long haul with many of the things I am passionate about and this is especially true for my budding business. I want to feel happy and content with everything I am producing from these blog posts to the images I share on social media to the handmade goodies I create which means I need to be flexible & go easy on myself when I cannot tackle everything.
Say, “Yes!” to the present moment instead of waiting for someday.
When did the future become more appealing than now?! What’s worse than this is fearing that it’s now or never. I want to create really great things in many different forms & this doesn’t happen when I’m feeling pressure so loosely forming my schedule allows for days when I’m feeling supercharged & able to take on the world while also making room for impromptu adventures & quality hang time with the people who fill me with joy.
Remember to celebrate.
Momentous things happen all the time but many of us breeze by these milestones with complete disregard on our way to the next level of achievement. This cycle can carry on for a long time before you notice & you may find yourself drained while searching for something you don’t really want for yourself. This is why I make it a point to toast on even the most ordinary of days for the most basic of reasons.
Many of us are in our flow & carrying on with our daily lives so much so that we forget to take a step back & examine where our balance lies, but others find themselves caught up in the pursuit of absolute balance rather than experiencing what lies on both sides of said balance.
So what’s the takeaway here?
Balance is possible, but unfortunately (and fortunately!) it isn’t one size fits all because it is a chosen mindset. Your balance is unique to you and a concoction of your responsibilities & priorities, your wants & needs, and ultimately, how you wish to fill your time. It’s best to think of balance as a spectrum where you can fall somewhere different each day because the parts in your life are constantly moving & shifting.
I’m dying to hear your thoughts & I would really love to hear what balance looks like for you so leave a comment below or shoot me a message. Either way, this is something that affects us all so it’s crucial we continue the conversation.
Sharing is caring especially when it comes to a topic as important as life balance so please feel free to pass this on to someone you know who may be struggling.