Finding Life Balance
I've never been particularly good at creating balance for myself. I'm the stereotypical creative type that can forget to eat because I'm engrossed in designing a garden or writing an article. I exercise in fits and starts. My writing keeps me sedentary, and we all know how bad that is for you.
So lately I find that I've been short-tempered, reactive, and irritable. And confused. Because, if I have all these awesome things going on in my life, why aren't I happier about it all? Because...drum roll...I'm waaaaaay out of balance.
And this bothers me for a number of different reasons. I don't like feeling this way, the people I love don't like me to be this way, and I write/speak about wellness. When my platform is wellness, balance is a part of that. And I don't like feeling disingenuous.
I know myself well enough after 55 years to know that I will not stick to a rigorous schedule (see "stereotypical creative type" comment above), but I know I need to regroup before I start to be deeply unhappy. I'm a regular person just like you, so I know that you experience this, too.
So what do we do? Here are my thoughts:
Try not to worry about achieving balance every day. If I feel balance overall on a weekly basis, I think I'm good.
- Balance means taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and financially.
- Eat regularly, and watch sugar intake. For me, sugar leads to hills and valleys of energy, which I don't need when my goal is to be steadier.
- Take a day off every week. I know this sounds basic — trust me. But when you work from home and like what you do, it's easy to think on a Sunday, "Oh, I'll get a head start on those articles due next week." Pick a day, any day, and use it to relax, rewind, regroup, and organize your surroundings — but no work unless it's an emergency.
My goal is to eat more regularly, move every day, pay attention to my yoga/meditation practice (when I get busy, I stop doing this), and use my garden as a place to regain balance.
My yoga deck was a gift from my fiance, Brett, after I finished my treatment for breast cancer in 2013. He wanted to encourage me to be outside, in the garden, to heal and find balance. This is where I practice yoga, meditate, do some light gardening, and just relax. My office also has a window that looks out onto the yoga deck, so I can see this healing space even when I'm not out there.
Look — I know it's difficult to have balance. You're thinking it's a pipe dream and you'll worry about creating balance for yourself when work slows down, your children are older, or you're retired. But balance is about creating a good life for yourself now, particularly when things are stressful — and your children can learn by watching you take care of yourself.
Bottom line advice from one who struggles — don't make creating balance into a checklist for yourself, or you'll quickly wind up feeling guilty and resentful. Think of it as a gift to the best friend you have...you.