When was the last time you took half an hour for yourself? Can you remember what it feels like to sit and be comfortable in silence ? Or does your world constantly feel like a busy noisy whirlwind ?
Life is hectic. There is no doubting that. Juggling things like work, family, friends and fitness. It all takes time and it can often be all consuming. Running a household, keeping on top of a home, finances, running a car and even looking after your health. It all leads to very busy days and very busy weeks. And ultimately to feeling as though there is no head space. Or as though there is no time for you.
The reality is that if we try to make sure we cover all of the above, and we do our best to do them well, then we can feel stretched in too many directions. And sometimes as though we are doing a lot, but achieving very little. It can also feel that while we are spending time with people, we aren’t fully present. Because the heads too full and there is very little to give.
If you recognise this then your currently struggling to strike the balance. You will know the signs. Perhaps your feeling exhausted, run down, or maybe you keep getting ill. Perhaps you find yourself turning to food or alcohol as a coping mechanism for your stress. Maybe the smallest of things are upsetting you. You might be feeling tense and anxious a lot of the time. If this is the case then you are in the world of burn out. And your balance definitely needs restoring.
Stop. Pause. Think about your life. What does it look like? If I asked you to draw a circle and then split it into the sections of your life. What would that image look like? How large would each section be? What colour would it be shaded? What feeling would come from each section?
For some people too much for the circle might be taken up with work, for others family or children. Some on the other hand might be all consumed with health issues, money worries or addictive behaviours. Everyone is different. What does your life circle look like? And what does it say about you?
Reflect on what you see, and evaluate what you feel. What would you like to be different ? How could you achieve more of a balance? Is there something you could give more time too or something you do less of. It’s important to restore balance and it’s equally important to do what makes you happy and what makes you feel good.
To live a balanced life we need time for ourselves. Even if it is half an hour a day. We need some time to reflect, to pause and slow down. Some people find me time when they are in the bath, or walking, reading, writing, drawing or perhaps listening to music. There are many distractions to fill time. Such as social media, television, food, company, alcohol etc. But the most valuable time is spent slowing down, and taking care of ourselves. Try and create a window in your day for you. Block it out in your diary if you need too. Make it happen.
Achieving balance means keeping fit and healthy. But it doesn’t mean taking this to extremes. There is no need to spend your life exercising or worrying about what you eat. Try to head for the place of moderation. It does exist. Aim to exercise a few times a week and to eat balanced diet. This means having things like salad, fruit and vegetables. But it also means having things like pizza, chocolate and wine. There are no rules. There are no good or bad foods. Work towards balance.
The same goes the other way. Try to avoid drinking or eating to excess. It’s good to have a night out and off steam. But if it becomes dependency then there is an issue. And if it’s something your turning to all the time, especially during stressful periods, then it’s not good for you. Think about your relationship with alcohol and food. Or even drugs if that’s an issue for you. Look at the amount you are using things and think about how you might like to do things differently. Work out a balance that suits you.
Maintaining a healthy balance also extends to areas of our life like work, finance, and running our homes. We need and have to devote time to these areas. But none of them should be extreme. Never get too busy making a life that you forget to make a living. Ensure that you don’t spend all your time working. Create some down time, even if it is small windows. Money is an issue for many people, there is no doubting that. Try to organise your finances in a way that they don’t cause you extreme stress or worry. Remember to try and find enjoyment in the small things.
It doesn’t have to be extreme. The same goes for running a home, taking care of a family etc. Yes it’s important to have things clean and tidy, but there is no need to spend all day trying to create perfection. And yes it’s important to spend quality time with loved ones, including children. But it is equally important to spend quality time with you. Never let any one area of your life dictate or take over. Step back. Evaluate and make a plan. A plan the includes you. A plan that makes time for you. And a plan that ensures your head doesn’t feel so over loaded it can’t take any more.
Life is like learning to ride a bike. You need your balance to do it. Without our balance we are wobbly, lost and unfocused. Get back on your bike. Focus and find your way.