Thursday, September 22, 2011

Adding Balance To Your Life

Back in the day, I bought into Women's Liberation and the ideas of equality of the sexes, better jobs for women, the "idea that you can do/have it all".  So I worked hard.

I went to college. I decorated my house, according to the latest trends in Architectural Digest, I baked like Betty Crocker, I sewed my kids clothes till they were 5, I made their baby food to avoid preservatives, I entertained--a lot, I cleaned my own house, I painted when a room needed painting, I sewed curtains when a window needed covering, I went to Mom/tot swim lessons and play groups, I was den mother, room mother, PTA board member, Sunday School teacher, made meals from scratch to besure we had family dinner time together,  was chauffeur and chaperone. As if I had a lot of time on my hands, I got a job too.

Don't get the idea Foxtrot Freddie didn't have a huge roll in this family.  The opposite is true, he was/is the rock that holds us all together in so many, many ways, but this is a different blog post-stay with me.

Fast forward to last weekend, when I had the opportunity to go to a class on adding balance to your life.  As I sat there when the speaker was espousing the idea to let your house go, prioritize, do something for yourself first, I had to think, all that is good, but I can't do that. It's not in my genes. I know I thrive (as we almost all do) in a clean and organized home  where things are put away, the laundry is where it should be instead of thrown on a couch, you have healthy food in your body and you can go to bed with the satisfaction of calm.

Here are some of her ideas that made sense. They can help you have balance, get the things done that need to be done and yes, still have time for yourself and your loved ones.
1. Have an "unplugged" day (or night). Turn off the phone, the computer, whatever you have that takes away from your family time.
2. That "spark" in your life, the vital energy source, is what keeps you going.  Yet, some people, whether at work, in your neighborhood, or yes, even in you family, can be vampires that suck the spark right out of you. Limit your  exposure to them, or if they are in your family, let them know what bothers you and see if it's something you can change.
3. It's currently a status symbol to be busy. We've all heard it; "I'm so slammed". "I can't go, I'm just too busy." "Sorry I'm late, I'm putting 10 pounds in a 5 pound bag and just couldn't get here faster."  Take those excuses off your radar screen. Whenever you feel like saying that...stop. Busyness destroys balance. Change your attitude.
4. We are all busy, but when your happy busy turns into ultra busy, the warning lights should flash. When ultra busy turns into fatally busy, things will die, your relationship or maybe even you! It's time to rethink and retool your life.
5. Learn to say no. Maybe you have to sugar coat it for some by saying,  "That doesn't work for me." "I have a prior commitment." "Tempting, but I'll have to pass."
6. When you are present, be engaged. Soften up (and that does not mean "weaken up"). Smile, sit slightly forward/lean when listening, maybe touch (careful here, in best of circumstances, touch the forearm only), make eye contact and nod slowly to reaffirm that you are listening.
7. What is someone else's balance (your friend, your co-worker, etc), may not be yours.  Don't compare, you hear that, don't even go there.  Find your own balance, what makes you happy.

Balance is is an active, ongoing process throughout your life.  What works today can change tomorrow. When you achieve that balance you will see how good you feel and how it benefits those around you. It takes practice.

Remember, it's not where you're at, it's where you're headed.

No comments: