I used to feel so off balance- constantly overwhelmed, out of sorts, feeling anxious and stressed, working working working my little tail off to the detriment of my own health & happiness, my relationships and what the hell is a social life?
I love LOVE my work (obviously) but I also love my husband, friends, animals, house, music, my garden, reading, movies, painting, photo taking, road-trips and a whole lot of other stuff that I wasn’t spending much time doing because I was always just “too busy” with work.
I hit a wall of overwhelm from life being all WORK all the time to the point where just getting out of bed in the mornings felt like a big accomplishment because it was the last thing I wanted to do. I was just too stressed out and knew I needed to get more LIFE back into the balance- soon!
That’s how we tend to think about balance, right? (probably Americans especially) That it’s some sort of ultimate achievement. It’s what we all seem to be striving for, to just “find a GOOD WORK/LIFE BALANCE”. Like, if only we could find it or figure it out, life would be so amazing! Cue the angelic horns, clouds parting and you feeling like you finally have a handle on everything!
That’s how it plays out in our daydreams, but that’s the only place it’ll ever happen. Balance is not something you are going to find, or a place you will ever arrive to.
Strike that idea of finding a work/life hunky-dory-morning-glory-equilibrium out of your mind because, to put it bluntly, that shit doesn’t exist! That idea of balance is impossible to achieve.
This is probably one of the only times I’ll use the word impossible, but in this case, it’s true. Think about what we’re trying to balance: work over here, life over there- those are two external things that are both totally outside our control. We never know what bump, roadblock or complete change of course will come at anytime to mess up our schedules, goals and good attempts at trying to balance it all.
We get so focused on balancing our work life with our home life, our family life with our friend life, our mom life with our wife life and all too often, in having to juggle all these different roles, we forget our own life and the things we deeply yearn for.
The things that thrill us, fill us, engage us, make us feel healthy and happy, that bring us back to this moment- that’s what we’re missing out on the most, often times. In our pie chart of time spent during the day, the thinnest sliver is often the one devoted to our own physical and mental wellbeing.
And I think that’s what makes us feel like we’re off balance. We’re trying to balance our responsibilities with our obligations with all the things we want to do, rather than focusing on balancing our own selves- from the inside out.
That’s the kind of balance that I’ve found is real, and is possible- an inner balance. Developing that solid yet flexible center within yourself will help you stay up on the board riding the waves of life, instead of toppling over inside them, constantly getting saltwater up your nose, or worst of all, drowning in them.
The more balance I can create in myself each day, the better I’m able to stay flexible thru the inevitable ups and downs of work, life and everything in between.
It’s through taking care of myself better, being less of a mean boss to myself, giving myself days off and respite, taking real breaks to move my body and eat good meals, not being so hard on myself, not dwelling on all the stuff I didn’t get done, pushing myself to try new things, striving to learn each day- the more I take the time to do those things, the the better I’m able to move and sway with whatever comes up, the happier I feel and the more I’m actually able to get done because I’m not wasting time being stressed out at every moment!
It’s about constantly shifting your balance where it needs to be for that moment, that day, that week- depending on what’s going on- and being able to do so from a place of groundedness, from a feeling of wholeness, so that you don’t get totally knocked down by whatever’s tipping the scales at the time.
If it’s balance you’re seeking, it starts with you. Inside your own mind and body.
It starts with balancing how much you give away of yourself by giving to yourself.
It starts with balancing how much time you spend in your comfort zone by stretching way beyond it.
It starts with balancing the negative and doubtful thoughts you tell yourself by moving forward anyway.
It starts with balancing the “have-tos”, “shoulds” and other people’s expectations by trusting and acting on your instincts.
That sense of balance you’re looking for is totally achievable, but you won’t find it anywhere “out there.” Look within.
Check out Jen’s post on her blog, Becoming Balanced? For her take on balance and how she’s able to find some in her life.
Share your thoughts/tips/struggles around the idea of work/life balance on your blog too, and we’ll post a link right here for our readers to check out!
Aimee from Print & Pretty got truthy about what balance means to her & shares some things she does to help restore it
Shanna from SoCoDivka Designs shares how the idea of balance has been hitting her over the head the last few days as she’s seeking balance in life and work
What do you think of the idea of work/life balance? Is it something you find yourself striving for?
What are you going to do to start better balancing your inner life so you can stress less and not feel spread so thin?
ps: We share lots of tips and insight into how to create more time for our own needs and happiness in our Catalyst Course, so that we can all give our best selves to the world! The next round starts soon and inner-circle subscribers will get special first dibs registration at a discount, so be sure to get on the list if you’re interested!