Can you really have it all?
That's the question I often get asked by busy working moms who want to be able to work, have a family and take care of themselves. My answer is always "yes, absolutely". Finding balance in life is a realistic and important goal. However, sometimes there are glitches and life feels out of control. When this happens it's usually because you are not getting your needs met or you are not aligned with your values. When you're out of integrity life feels out of balance.
What it Means to Live a Balanced Life
Balance is a feeling derived from being whole and complete; it's a sense of harmony. It is essential to maintaining quality in life and work. Your life is made up of many vital areas including your health, family, financial, intellectual, social, work, spiritual, recreation, personal growth, romance and more. You won't necessarily spend time every day in each area in equal amounts, but if in the long run, you spend a sufficient quantity and quality of time in each area, your life will feel in balance. However, if you neglect any one area, never mind two or three, you will eventually sabotage your own success. Much like a table, if one leg is longer or shorter than the rest, it will make the entire table wobbly. For instance, if you don't take care of your health, your family and social life will suffer; if you put too much time into running your business, personal relationships and self care may suffer.
Finding Balance in Life
Living a balanced life is about integrating those components of your life that are truly important to you and realizing that sometimes you need to make choices about what has to come first. Making choices is powerful and allows you to live a balanced life that's aligned with what you value. By choosing what comes first, sometimes there are sacrifices. But living a balanced life doesn't require you to give 100 percent of yourself 100 percent of the time. There will be times when personal/family life and work collide but by knowing what's most important to you and making choices based on this criterion, you'll be better able to balance your decisions and feel whole.
When you are ready to bring balance to your everyday life, follow these tips:
- Focus on your priorities. Concentrate your time and energy on your personal and professional priorities. Be willing to say "no" to everything else. Identify your values and align your life around what's truly most important to you.
- Get organized. Create a structured plan each day rather than reacting to whatever comes up. Don't allow someone else's poor planning to become your emergency or priority. Plan ahead and anticipate your needs. Have back-up to handle your emergencies and a support network so that you are prepared with a contingency plan should the need arise. Arrange time in your schedule for other activities besides work so that your days are not only balanced, but rewarding.
- Be flexible. Accept that needs will pop up that will require your readjustment and perhaps new choices. Forgive yourself when things don't get done. Stop striving for perfection and allow for more reasonable standards.
- Create daily routines. Instill healthy habits into your daily life. Find ways to relax, relieve tension, and minimize stress. Allow time for self care by practicing daily journaling, meditation, exercise or some other form of quiet time just for you where you can go to reflect, plan, relax and envision your day ahead. Eat healthy meals, drink plenty of water, get adequate rest, and take care of your personal hygiene. Give yourself a break every once in awhile throughout the day to restore your natural state of harmony and calm and to rekindle your creativity. Structure your day to take advantage of your peak performance times.
- Establish support networks. Be willing to ask for help and receive it. Enlist family, friends, neighbors, professionals, and others to help you as needed.
- Simplify your life. Stop over-scheduling and over-committing. Begin eliminating things from your life that really aren't important to you. Being busy 24/7 doesn't mean that you are any more important than anyone else - it simply means that you are busy and probably missing out on the things that would really make you have more joy and fulfillment in your life. When your life is overcomplicated and overfull, there's little space for what truly matters. And there's no room for personal growth, positive energy, love, or even breathing at times.