Is balance possible? In a world where we are constantly juggling responsibilities is it truly possible to achieve perfect balance in our lives?
We are constantly being pulled in so many different directions: work reports, deadlines, children’s play dates, hobbies, school, part-time jobs, etc. The list goes on and on … and on. Even your house is calling your name! The front door needs to be fixed, there’s a leak in your bathroom, and you have to paint the living room walls because your children “ran out of paper”. Yikes! You think, “Gosh, there’s not enough time in a day!” A strenuous work load and having to make time for your family along with household chores is difficult to balance. You feel absolutely exhausted even though you’re not pushing forward or making any progress with anything. Why do you feel this way? Because you are trying to balance everything in your life.
If balance is so impossible to achieve then what are we doing every day to make time for the different responsibilities in our life?
It’s called counterbalance.
Counterbalancing is simply prioritizing. It is the constant shift of our attention from one thing to another to make time for everything in our lives. This will naturally force you off-balance. That’s okay, as long as it is done so for the right reasons. Sometimes you have to be at the top, the bottom, or to the extreme left or right side in order to give your attention to your priorities.
There are two parts of your life that you will continually attempt to balance out:
- Work and life
- Within work and within life separately
There will be times at work where you may feel like you are being pulled in different directions. Priorities at work are ever-changing which is completely normal. You will be at extreme ends of the scale much of the time.
In order to counter balance your life there are three things that need constant attention:
- Family and friends
- Body and spirit
- Personal needs
Family and Friends
- Make time to spend time with those close to you, especially family; even if it involves putting household chores, work responsibilities, and hobbies on the back burner. Just be sure when doing so, it doesn’t produce negative effects. You have to pick and choose what needs to be taken care of and what can be put off.
Body and Spirit
- I am a huge advocate for taking care of your body and spirit. Whatever direction you choose to take for physical activity: yoga, weight lifting, running, walking, etc. It is truly important to take of yourself. When it comes to spirit everyone has different beliefs. You can take care of your spirit by joining a church, meditating, giving back to the community, etc. Exercising your body and spirit is important to living a healthy lifestyle. Stress relief will naturally help balance your life.
- Let’s face it. We just don’t put aside time for ourselves. When you work full-time and have a family to take care of, it’s easy to put your own needs on the back burner. The thing is, setting aside time for yourself is very important. Even if it’s just 5-10 minutes every morning before the kids get up or on your lunch break from work … 5 – 10 minutes alone to reflect will relieve so much built up stress! Go get your nails done, a massage, go for a walk, read a book, go to the gym, go shopping, go to a gun range, meditate, participate in yoga, etc. We don’t utilize these things as often as we should.
- Not only should you set aside time for what you love but you should take care of yourself just as well as you take of your family. If you have a family, I’m sure you are strict in making sure your family eats three meals a day but do you, yes you as an individual, make time to eat? Probably not. Here’s an example; my mother played such a huge roll in my health when I was growing up. She made sure my brother and I ate 3 meals a day, that’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The problem? She doesn’t eat breakfast, never has, and rarely eats lunch, if she does its very small maybe a granola bar. She is such a hard worker that she puts her work and family needs before her own. I am sure she is not the only one that does this. You, the one reading this, probably falls into this same routine. You have to make time to nourish your body.
Below are a few simple ways you can satisfy your own personal needs at home and/or at work.
- Snacks – If you are a person who doesn’t eat enough or your work doesn’t allow you take very long breaks, buy snacks specifically designated for your office. You go to the grocery store for your family right? Well, buy your own snacks you can take with you to work. You can also meal prep if you have the time to cook your meals for the week.
- Music – Music is extremely underutilized as a stress reliever. Maybe your office doesn’t allow you to play music. That’s okay. Bring some headphones with you. When you go on your break walk outside, sit down, plug-in and relax. Whatever music relaxes you is what I recommend. When I am trying to clear my mind I use an app called Spotify and type in “Relaxing Music” in the search bar. It brings up different playlists I can choose from. I choose one, sit back, and chill.
- Meditation – This may require some practice but once you learn how to meditate and clear your mind it works wonders! There are also apps out there that will walk you through the meditation and breathing process.
- Reading – Reading a book is an easy way to escape the real world. Whatever interests you, fiction, science, fantasy, romance, etc, bring your favorite book with you and read on your break. It will refresh your mind and allow you to escape reality!
- Manicures & Pedicures – I am targeting mostly women with this one, not saying that there aren’t men out there who love these, but a large majority of women are fans of manicures and pedicures. This is such a great way to clean yourself up, especially if it’s been a long week planting or playing with your kids. The plus is that it’s relaxing! (They have massage chairs that will make you feel like jello) ;).
- Date Night – Let’s face it, when you have a family it’s difficult to designate time for dates but I think it is a necessity. Now, you obviously can’t go on a date at work but you can certainly make time for it. Making time for date night with your significant other is very important not only for you as an individual but for your relationship. It’s refreshing to get that alone time and chances are you probably need that “connection” (you pickin’ up what im puttin’ down?)
- Set aside alone time in the morning or at night – Talk to your family or significant other and just let them know that you want ten minutes alone just to relax and de-stress. It can be in the morning before your kids wake up or at night after they go to bed. For those of you who don’t have families to take care of setting aside time should be easier! No excuses! 😉 Setting aside mental time will help you rejuvenate and recharge.
- Lists – Now, I know some of you are list people. If there are multiple things you need to take care of make a list AND prioritize; key word being PRIORITIZE. That is how you truly counterbalance.
Join the conversation
- Do you think it is possible to achieve true balance in life? Or, are we constantly shifting from one side to the other counterbalancing our work responsibilities and life responsibilities?
- What are some things you do to either counterbalance or achieve true balance within your own life?