If there were one tenet that I was most consistently working on, it is balance. My friends joke with me and say I must be Jamaican with all of the jobs I had or “you’re always doing something”. All of it has some truth to it. Between work, family, and community commitments, I have a lot going on. There is always this constant struggle of not over-extending myself, over committing, and over scheduling my life. I enjoy being involved. I am interested in so many things and I am recovering from FOMO (fear of missing out). I was not only saying yes to the responsibilities of life, but also saying yes to things that sound fun. I am interested in a lot of things and I am also a fixer. I enjoy being busy and having things to do. There is nothing wrong with that. I had to come to terms with the fact that this is just who I am. Where it became an issue is that I was so busy that at the end of the day I only had enough energy to eat dinner and hop in bed at night. What is interesting about my struggle with balance is that what I am over-extending, over-committing, and over scheduling are not things for me. I spent so much of my time giving to others, there was seldom anything truly left for me. Although I enjoy the activities I’ve committed to, they really weren’t for the benefit of me. I was last on the list, if I even made the list.
Over the past year I have made a conscious effort to do the things I love for me first and then schedule other activities around that. I make time to practice mindfulness and meditation daily. I’ve traveled to spend time with friends. I maintain my monthly self-care appointments. I took classes to expand my knowledge in areas of interest – cider brewing and investments. These conscious steps making myself a priority first have been very effective for me to maintain balance.
What I realize now more than ever is the power of “AND”. I can make myself a priority and I can be successful in my career. I can make myself a priority and my children can thrive. I can make myself a priority and I can have a fruitful marriage. I can make myself a priority and be involved in my community. Balance is about not having to choose. Balance is about making space for yourself so that you can be the best you in all other aspects of your life.
At the end of the day, you have to feel good about you. You have to make sure you are putting energy into things that fill your cup so that you don’t lose yourself in the demands of life. The sacrifice you may have to make is nothing compared to the results that balance can bring.
What have I learned:
I must schedule time for myself and the things that I want to do or it will not happen! I meditate daily and am appreciative of the quiet time. I also know that I need and want make myself a priority by spending time with my friends and also taking time to pamper myself. If I need time with girlfriends or want a date night, I schedule it. If I need a day of pampering, I schedule it. I have gotten good at anticipating my needs and making self-love a priority, so there is at least 1 thing on the calendar every month just for me!
I cannot run on fumes so when I feel like my energy is low and I am dong way too much, I start to rearrange my calendar, cancel commitments and extend deadlines. No one benefits if I am on empty. My work suffers, my mood is bad, and I am not productive. It’s a better outcome for everyone if I reset and find balance before moving forward.
How can you use Balance to make yourself a priority:
Being conscious about balance with you in mind helps you be intentional about how your spend your time. One exercise to try is to make a list of the things you need and want for yourself. Make a list of the things that others need and want from you. Prioritize both lists Find ways to incorporate those needs and wants into your schedule, but start with your needs and wants.
Do something for yourself daily. It doesn’t matter how small it is, do something for you before you do anything for anyone else. Read or meditate for 15 – 30 minutes in the morning. Take a walk. Spend time in silence. If you have a family, communicate that you are having “me time” and you are not to be bothered. It may take a bit of adjusting, but the effort is worth it!