How do our lives get out of balance? Is life ever balanced? Sometimes I nail one aspect of my life and completely neglect another. We are all balancing many aspects of our life all at once: our spouse or significant other, family, friends, a career, our home, finances, personal growth, fun and recreation, and our health. So, what’s the trick? How do we keep things as balanced as possible?
I think there are a few things that are absolutely essential to creating some equilibrium. First of all we need awareness. I know I’ve said this before, but like with all things we need to be aware when life gets out of whack! There have been many times that I’ve found myself on auto-pilot going from one activity to the next feeling lackluster and lethargic until something snapped me out of it!
When my kids were much younger it was extremely difficult to balance my self-care. Sleep? I was lucky to get a solid 3-4 hours when they were babies. Food? A few home-cooked meals a week was a victory. Exercise? As long as pushing the stroller through Target or the grocery store counted, I was good. Meditation or quiet time? Ha! Non-existent. Yes, there are times in our life when our self-care practice is more in line with our ideal, and other times that it truly is a struggle. But if we want to bring balance to those areas we’ve first got to recognize that they are out of alignment.
It also takes deliberate practice to create balance in our lives. If we regularly schedule date night with our significant other it won’t be months or even years before we realize how far apart we have grown. If “girl’s night out” is put on the calendar every month we won’t feel deprived of the social connection and play time that we all so desperately need! If we remember the importance of taking care of our health in the form of The Four Seeds of Self-Care then we KNOW we need to take the time to look at our week and schedule exercise, meal-plan and create a meditation practice and bedtime ritual.
Here’s a biggie - ALLOWANCE. Allowing others to help us! Several years ago my dad became very ill and moved in with our family so that we could help take care of him. Obviously the scales were tipped as we cared for him in his last days. Our family spent precious hours being with him and as difficult as that time was I considered those months caring for my dad a tremendous gift not only for myself, but for my children as well. During this time I leaned on my husband, friends, co-workers and strangers to manage work, family and my dad’s medical needs. It’s times like these when we need to lean on our village. The problem is that these days people “don’t want to be a bother.” I know because I was one of those people that thought that. So was my dad. I remember him telling me how he didn’t want to “be a bother” to us. We’re all so damn independent. And lonely. Why? Because we don’t want to “bother” anyone. But guess what? No man is an island. Why are we here if not to help each other? It’s a gift to the person you ask, because when they need a helping hand then they don’t feel like they are a bother! WE ALL NEED EACH OTHER. WE’RE ALL CONNECTED. Please read that again. Leaning on each other is how we stay in balance. And doesn’t it feel good when we are of service and help each other out?
If you are feeling pinched off from happiness and you can’t answer the simple question “what do I like to do for fun?”, or you don’t know the last time you went to the movies with friends, or had date night, or read a book it may be time for you to get quiet and be honest with yourself. What area of your life is in need of balancing and your attention? Pick one or two areas and start where you are. Think about small changes you can make today. And DO IT! BEGIN! Before you know it you will feel the fullness and joy of life return! You will FEEL SELF-CENTERED!
With Love & Gratitude,
Kinda and Rachel