So this week sucks. I’ve got more demands than I’ve got energy and I’m struggling to find work, life, and family balance. And trust me, my family gets a front row seat to my lack of balance. I preach “balance” all day long. Yet, I know it can be as elusive as Big Foot. It’s hard to get a good picture. What does balancing the unbalanced actually look like?
I’m in one of those weeks that feel overwhelming on all fronts. I’m in a job that already has a lot of mental and emotional demands and there has been extra added to it. Also, add to this, my beloved family’s ever changing and evolving needs and I’m a girl out of balance. I’m keeping my head above water most days but add anything extra and sometimes I tailspin. As a result, I’m mentally burdened and distracted by the requirements of my time and energy. Thank goodness all of these demands are good things, I’m not sure I would have the wherewithal to deal with something awful, but they are demands just the same. My balanced life got unbalanced.
So back to my question…how does a person find balance when there is a crap ton to balance? I have to let some things go. That is the simple answer. Yet the struggle is real, people. How can I say no to my boss? I’ve made a commitment to my clients. I’ve made a commitment to my co-workers. My family is the most important thing in my life. How do I let any of those things go? In my mind, I can’t and guess what happens?
Imbalance. Imbalance is when I find life a burden and not “my life.” Imbalance is having a heaviness in my chest and back aches (it couldn’t possibly be age). It’s being cranky and short tempered over things that would normally be enjoyable or at least endurable (don’t get me going on the recent “bottle flipping game” my boys have discovered.) Things start slipping. My temper for one but my motivation slips too because I lose sight of the meaning behind the demands. This is imbalance and it’s not fun.
The funny thing with balance is that it will look different every day. Balance is an ever shifting entity that looks one way today and something different tomorrow. It’s probably why it’s such a struggle to hang onto. Today, I haven’t found good balance between work, family and self. What am I going to do about it?
What Not to Do.
I will tell you what I won’t do. I won’t beat myself up about it. Most of the demands I have on me right now is temporary. When life fills up my plate, I know that the way to tackle it is one bite at a time. Talking “smack” to myself about having a full plate will definitely not help me be my most effective and efficient self. I’m choosing to accept my life as it is, full to overflowing today. Perhaps I need to embrace the imbalance.
Also, I’m not going to add to my loaded plate extraneous things that aren’t as meaningful. Do I really need to tackle remodeling my pantry this weekend? I’m gonna say no. Knowing that I am “full” means that I can’t take on anything else and I need to remind myself of that and give myself permission to say no. And it might mean saying no to myself. I have to wait on things I would like done. So do I really, really want a remodeled pantry, heck yeah, but it’s not gonna happen this week. No, no, no.
Start To Do.
As much as life is demanding right now, I’m going to up my gratefulness game. Seriously, I am talking about first world problems here. So my diamond shoes are a bit too tight and my tiara is slipping. Overall, I am healthy, I’m happy, I’m needed, and I’m making a difference. That perspective alone can make it all worth it and almost enjoyable. Rather than having to worry about food on my table and shelter over my head; I’m thankful that I have to worry about meeting a deadline (which no one dies, by the way if I don’t meet it).
Last, I am going to be present. I’m going to be “all in” wherever I may land. If I’m at work, I am setting my intention to be AT WORK. If I’m home, I’m going to be AT HOME. You get the point. I’m totally out of whack if I’m thinking about work around the family dinner table. While I can’t necessarily “let things go” entirely right now, I can certainly let them go on a temporary basis and “bloom where I’m planted.” I have to be intentional about participating in that moment.
Can we think about that for a minute?
If I’m fully present where I am, the burdens I carry outside of the moment have to wait their turn.
I won’t allow them to jostle around in my head trying to take over and rob me of what my life in that instant has for me. Now that, I like.
I’m pretty sure that I am not the only employee, wife, and mother out there that struggles with dealing with all the crap thrown her way. Trying to make all of our energy expenditures and daily sacrifices meaningful and worthwhile is the trick and it helps us find balance. The beauty of this is that it is largely perspective and I’m in full control of that. My burden of imbalance begins to change with simple attitude shifts and a few simple choices. I have to have action, of course. But I’m working on it, one bite at a time. And that’s really all anyone can ever ask.
So, how do you find balance when life throws you too much? Can you keep the balance when life is unbalanced? Leave a comment (for the love of Pete, leave a comment) and share with me your struggles and solutions.