The term “work-life balance” has gotten a bad reputation in recent years, and in some instances it feels like the word “balance” has become synonymous with busy-ness for the sake of being busy. Balance really means so much more than juggling endless tasks, and there are a lot of good, healthy reasons for you to aim for a balanced life. I’m so excited about the juicy-ness of balance that I have now written two courses and love leading retreats on the topic. So let’s dive in on what balance is! To start, let’s look at what balance is, and what it isn’t.
Let’s Start With What Balance is NOT:
Balance is not accepting every task, request, obligation, or idea that comes your way and finding a way to juggle it along side everything else that you’re already doing. Because life moves quickly, and because we are all very busy, it gets easy to be lulled into a reactionary mode. In that mode, you’re just treading water to get through the day, and often times, you’re not always putting thoughtful consideration around what you choose to add to your to do list.
What Balance IS:
Balance means mindfully engaging with each task, request, obligation and idea and choosing if it’s something that you want to do.
It involves working to understand what your purpose is, and defining your values to use as a road map to let you drive towards that purpose, allowing you to feel more aligned, more ease, and more joyful.
Balance means taking a look at what you truly want and need and reassessing things, and adding a very mindful lens to the process. It first means getting in touch with what you want, what you dream of, and what you value. It’s quite possible that have done a check-in with yourself on your values, purpose, and dreams this in a very long time, and have been relying on external means (checklists or to do lists) to keep the show running. After a certain point, check lists and running yourself ragged is longer sustainable. Balance means making choices about what you accept to do, and making loving choices about what you do not care to do with your time. Balance means working in time for you, along with making time to do activities with others. Balance means looking at the ebb and flow of life, and recognizing the harmony that we need to feel rested, peaceful, happy, and joyful. Balance means defining this for yourself, and not comparing yourself to anyone else in the process.
“Work-life Balance” is difficult because you are likely really, truly busy. You’ve probably been busy for some time, and you’re working from a “reactionary” mode right now. This is wearing you out. It’s making everything feel harder than it needs to. And, it’s probably not leaving you a lot of time for yourself. Let’s go through a few beginning steps to make balance work for you.
How can you start working on finding work-life balance, now? Get out your journal and start answering these questions from four different areas:
- Look for opportunities to get curious about what is on your “to do” list. If you get anxious just thinking about a task, ask yourself why. If something has been on your list for a year (or a long time), ask what’s going on with it? Why is resistance showing up around this item? Is there a way to make the task easier, so that you can get it done and move on to the next thing?
- Slow down and ask yourself what really want and need. If you’re feeling like you’re running on empty. see this as an invitation to ask yourself what you need, right now. Sit, close your eyes, and ask yourself what would make you feel at peace? What would happiness or contentment look like for you, in this moment? Wait for an answer, checking in with your heart to see what it has to say.
- Question HOW you want to tackle managing and organizing all of the tasks on your list. Many of us are taught a “right way” to deal with getting things done based on either how we were raised, or on something we learned in school. If working on a to do list makes you feel trapped, what would make you feel better? Would limiting it to 3 specific thing a day be better? Do you notice that you have more energy earlier in the day? When during your day would be the best time to work?
- Let go of the shoulds and sticky obligations. You may have a few things on that list that are “someone else’s dream,” or, that are on there because of FOMO. (Fear of missing out.) What would it be like if you let them go? Can you give yourself permission to release these things that are not feeling especially energizing.
If some of these ideas have felt good, or resonated with you, then I’d love to invite you to explore balance in a new way, in a brand new class, Roots & Wings. Christy and I will be looking at balance from the inside out; digging in to what you need to create a sense of calm, peace, and contentment in your life. Join us by clicking here.
So, how are you feeling about balance in your life?