Balance is something many people spend their lives striving for, and if they find it, have difficulty maintaining it. As we prepare for the holidays, we can choose balance over striving trying to reach unreachable standards while trying to please family and friends. Choosing balance instead of overextending our precious energy and time is possible if we understand why we do the things we do.
Let me say that I spent most of my life as a pleaser. I wanted to help people I worked with and loved to have more ease in their life. I was an efficient multi tasker and thought I was really helping people out by taking on more. I discovered, as I took on more, people were relaxing, going out, and having fun while I was burning the midnight oil. Eventually, I started having my own health issues because I was doing so much instead of enjoying life.
I took baby steps as I tried to get back into balance. The following baby steps should help guide you to begin to find your balance, so you can enjoy life as well.
Ask the question
Regardless of how you spend your time and energy, make it a priority to ask, “Why am I doing this?”. People in our life can be very demanding by creating high expectations. Demands in the workplace, school, and in our family can leave even the most energized person feeling worn out. Know why you are doing what you are doing can help you shift from being bogged down to empowered. If you are doing things to please people, you might want to consider what you could be doing instead that would bring you happiness and balance.
The key to mindfulness is to remove as many distractions as possible. Distractions such as computers, mobile devices, TV and even co-workers can take you out of the mindful zone. Distractions can cause us to over commit to projects, fundraisers, and other activities because too many things were going on at once. Being mindful can give you the time it takes to pause and review your schedule can make healthier decisions regarding your time and energy. You might want to explore what is distracting you and consider making small changes that empower you to feel more in control of your life.
It is too easy to put yourself last. It is necessary to make “you” time a priority. More young people are taking mental health sick days to rejuvenate. Taking mental health days help alleviate stress and anxiety. Too often we take life, goals, and over achieving too seriously it takes more than a vacation to get back into balance. During a mental health day as yourself “What does my body need today?” “what does my mind need today?” and “What does my soul need today to feel its best?” Let those answers be your first action and priority of the day. Experiment and see what resonates with you.
Time- or lack of it- can cause anxiety and stress. Decide to simplify your life by using a calendar to keep track of personal and professional appointments. Be sure every week you dedicate time for self-care or mental health on your calendar. Make self-care days a priority to do less and just be in the moment, stillness, and quiet. When you get a request to take on another project, assist with another’s needs, be mindful and check your calendar. A dedicated spot on your calendar means you don’t give it up to take on more responsibility. Factoring in time to rest and recharge will make it easier to have healthy boundaries and a clear conscious when you are asked to help put out another fire.
Make a list of priorities
Establish any people, tasks, or distractions that might tempt you to get out of balance. Become aware of the people who are constantly asking for your time and energy. Then determine what is important to you. Be sure to put self-care at the top of the list. It is always best to do more of what you love and love more of what you do. Focusing on what you love will minimize stress and anxiety. Block out time to re-evaluate your priorities.
Balance is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you create for the present. Give yourself a present this holiday season, choose balance.