The Missing Piece of Your Balanced Life

Thursday, January 30, 2014

After spending 20 years in the work world, I am still trying to crack the nut on having a balanced life.  Not specifically “work-life” balance but overall life balance.  Work is a part of life so you can’t really separate it or create specific balance between work and the rest of your life. In my opinion it’s about living a fully balanced life, where you are giving enough time and energy to all the important areas of your life: family, self, career (work), friends, community, and so on.   Many clients I work with struggle with creating balance.  They spend the majority of their time and energy on their career and the rest of it on family commitments.  They don’t feel any sense of balance but instead feel like they are barely keeping up with all their responsibilities.  Their priorities constantly shift so some days, weeks and months are more family focused and some are more career focused. But the bottom line is, there is little time for anything else and a common feeling of rushing or trying to keep up with all they have to do.  They do not experience many moments of feeling balanced.

I too can be a victim of this. I find myself rushing from one commitment to the next and before I know it another week as gone by and I am still behind on work, connecting with friends, making doctor’s appointments, etc.   For both my clients and me, often times this imbalance comes from forgetting the most important piece of the entire “balance” puzzle – you.    We are so busy doing and giving ourselves to others and all our commitments that we forget to take time for self-care; that is the missing piece of creating a balanced life.

You’re probably reading this thinking, “I don’t have time for self-care”.  And yet this is when it is most essential.  We are not designed to work ourselves into the ground or become acclimated to a chaotic environment – our bodies and our minds are not designed to operate this way.   I’m sure you’re familiar the experiment that was done a very long time ago with a frog in boiling water?  If you put a frog in boiling water it will immediately jump out but if you put it in room temperature water and slowly increase the heat, it will cook to death.  That’s what we do to ourselves. We acclimate ourselves to highly intense rushed lives so that becomes the norm – until we get a wake up call of some sorts.

It is when we are busiest that we need to take time to nurture ourselves.  My friends, you don’t have time to not nurture yourself.  If you are depleted, how can you give to anyone else?  You would be amazed at how a 15-30 minute walk per day or even 15 minutes of journaling or meditating can renew your spirit and recharge your batteries. When you do this for yourself, you approach everything else on your list of things to do with a greater sense of calm and better energy.  Self-care is what takes the chaotic rushed feeling out of your days.  If you take time for self-nurturing you then approach your to-do list with different energy and actually feel more in control of all you’ve got going on.   Self-care gives you back your sense of calm and creates more balance in your life because you are approaching all your commitments with calmer energy; that alone creates more balance in all areas of your life.   This is the missing piece to creating the balanced life we all strive for; it’s not about finding time to fit in all your work and “other life” commitments but is about caring for yourself and giving to yourself so you can approach those commitments as a balanced person.

What do you do for self-care?  What can you do to take 15-30 min per day to renew your spirit?  Try it for two weeks and see if your life feels more balanced; I bet you it will because you, the missing piece, will be more balanced.

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