“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”
How do we balance our everyday – cross chores off the list, spend quality time with the people we love as well as having our own ‘me time’?
Good question and one which I spent a lot of time asking myself during 2014 The Year Of Striving For Balance.
This post is a refection of the year which began with me acting as my usual perfectionist, highly organised, efficient, ’I’ve-got-this’ self who realised, while lying around in bed choked up with the flu and absolutely exhausted, that perhaps my intention to ‘Strive for Balance’ wasn’t going so well. My determination to keep the household running 110% whether my husband was out of town on business or not was completely unreasonable and it back fired. Big time.
The lesson learnt during this period was, when times get busy it is important to prioritise your activities, limit them to the ‘have to’s’ and those which add the most value to your wellbeing. The reason a lot of us move at a warped speed is because we tend to get on little missions to make sure everything and everyone around us is doing ok. The reality is, if we burn out in the process, then we can’t help anyone. So saying ‘no’ every now and again is actually helping those you love and care about in the long run (note to self…).
After a period of trial and error I have established a little self-care recipe which helps me to maintain a clear head and sustain a much happier and ultimately healthier everyday. Now to just remember to take my own advice…
Managing Time – how to make the most out of it
The easiest, clearest way I have found to use the hours in the day most efficiently is to spend 15 minutes or so writing out a schedule. Now bear with me here. When your ‘chores list’ is getting out of control the best way to gather perspective and stay efficient is to break them down in calendar form. Prioritise items daily, weekly, monthly and annually.
Let’s keep it simple: grab a notebook (or if you are really clever, set it up online), run some lines down a page and start delegating straight away. It is amazing how putting items down on paper can calm down an over active mind, help prioritise those ‘have to’s’ and most importantly, see them completed right on time.
Sleep – set yourself a regular bedtime and do your best to stick to it
Leading health and wellness professionals such as my trusty ‘go to’ ladies at Healtheco and Balanced Naturopathics will tell you good quality, undisturbed sleep is crucial to achieving and sustaining a balanced lifestyle. As loving Parents we manage our children’s fatigue by ensuring they have enough physical activity, eat sensibly and get enough sleep but, who does this for us?
Establish a cut-off time to begin your end-of-day wind down, choose relaxing activities to go ‘off duty’ (as my Mum used to say) and take yourself to bed at a reasonable hour. Your won’t regret it I promise. Cleaning the house, sorting out washing, ironing, catching up with social media and finishing off that over due blog post can all be done much more efficiently after a good night sleep.
‘Me time’ – ask for and accept help
Getting this one sorted was the game changer for me and my everyday happiness. Don’t be too proud to ask for help if you need it to schedule time out and, more importantly, say ‘yes’ when it is offered. Think of it this way – what would you say if a friend asked you for help, or worst still, you found out later that they were struggling to manage something and you could have been the person to lend a helping hand (I know, I know, so much easier said than done).
For me the challenge is managing ‘me time’ during a particularly busy period and, I have come to learn, to aim for quality not quantity…
– Start simple. It is amazing the impact which can be felt just by introducing one little ritual to your day which allows you to stop and recharge. Don’t underestimate the value of taking even a simple 15 minutes to top up your batteries and set you on your way with a fresh dose of motivation. My Little Girl helps me stick to this one – you can read more about that here.
– The next challenge is to introduce something a bit more sustaining, an activity which you schedule in at least once a week (yes get that calendar out). For me starting Yoga was this big ticket item, you can read and have a laugh at my expense here. A friend of mine chose completely the opposite – kick boxing, which just goes to prove we all have different needs. It is important to be true to yourself and keep exploring new things till you find what works best for you.
Screen time – outside of work commitments, how much time in front of a screen adds value to your day
Again we have screen time boundaries for our children but do we have them for ourselves?
Practising what we preach is a constant challenge which, considering all the online distractions and electrical devices available at our finger tips, is one situation I am personally conscious of setting a positive example. Children provide a good reminder to switch off devices, be present and interact. I appreciate how they bring me out of my screen trance as my passion to share with the growing tribe of the online community which is CWMS grows.
Can we remember a time when we were comfortable with our own space, able to entertain ourselves with just ‘being’ and enjoying quiet time with minimal distractions rather than reaching for outside stimulation? Here is a link to a very thought provoking article on the topic written by Joshua Becker founder of ‘becoming minimalist’. Progress not perfection for me with this one as, once again, achieving a balance is something I am determined to persist with.
The most important thing when you contemplate these suggestions is to not beat yourself up when your best laid plans and well organised intentions, go completely pear shaped.
This is an excerpt from a guest post I recently wrote for cool people doing cool things regarding the benefits of Naming Your Year:
“We cannot predict what the future holds but each year we can work towards improvements – it is how we take positive steps forward.”
So now it’s your turn. Working at implementing these steps is what helps keep me on track and they are consistently at the forefront of my mind as I reflect even a year later. Now I am interested to know what works for you? How do you manage when you are feeling overloaded and what tools have you come to rely on when you feel a little run down and overwhelmed.
Join in the conversation