Life doesn’t present us with a clear, unobstructed road. On our way, we get potholes, roadblocks, and mudslides. Here and there, our lives spin out of control. We worry about our jobs. Our businesses falter. Our children seem to have grown up overnight and we are not the center of their world anymore. Our parents age and their health fails. We fall out of love. We’re stressed . . . a thousand thoughts racing through our mind . . . no time left for us and us alone.
Life is complicated. We can’t possibly divide our lives into neatly separated territories. “Is life balance a myth?” we wonder. “Am I really expected to keep all these balls up in the air?” What if they all come crashing down?”
Here’s the catch. If we’re not happy at work, it’s going to affect how we’re at home, with our family. If we’re concerned about our family life, it’s going to affect the level of energy and creativity we bring to the office.
When things at work begin to heat up, our focus changes. We become consumed. Work comes with us everywhere and we walk around in a daze. The more we think about it, the more we can’t see the forest for the trees. The children try to attract our attention and we become impatient and react abruptly. “I need space to think and work.” “Why can’t they leave me alone?” That’s one phrase that stops me in my tracks. Do we really want to be left alone, no matter how good it feels at times?
Then guilt strikes. “Why do I have to be so short-tempered? I love my kids and they just want to be with me. What is happening to me? I didn’t use to be this way!”
Guilt is an unproductive emotion. Don’t even go there.
- Why not take a break for a moment? Take a deep breath. Just stop and look around, let yourself settle.
- Is there one thing you can do, in this very moment, to help yourself feel better? Do it and stop racing in your mind. The problems you’re trying to solve aren’t going anywhere. They can wait for just this moment. Have a drink of water, eat something, step outside and look around. Hug your kids, go for a quick walk, talk to your partner and ask him/her about their day.
Life balance is not a formula. It doesn’t look the same for everyone. At times good enough is all you can come up with and that’s perfect. Life balance is about being present and doing what is asked of you at the moment. Can you be at peace with yourself and your choices? That’s life balance. You do the best you can at the moment and you don’t torture yourself with self-doubt.
More often than not, living in balance means emptying “the closet” – sort of speak.
- Take a good look at things, as they are today. What is it you’re carrying around that doesn’t serve you anymore? It may be old stuff you keep around but not use. It may be unproductive habits or ideas. You may be investing your emotional capital in relationships that deplete you. Lighten your load. Get rid of the clutter. Honor who you are today.
Take five minutes and mentally scan your body.
- How do you feel? Have you been neglecting your health? Is there anything you need to take care of? Don’t push it aside any longer. Take care of your body and your body will take care of you.
Life is not going anywhere. It doesn’t stop on its tracks just because we may take some time off.
Don’t wait for the “right” time to do what’s right for you. The right time is now and you’re the only one who can step off the hamster wheel.
Photo by Kate Remmer on Unsplash