Ahh, that elusive term all the self-help books tell us we need to be finding.
But how do we find, create, or discover balance in such a noisy, distracting world? When everything and everyone seems to be pulling us in a million different directions, how can we feel steady?
Sometimes I feel like my life is anything but balanced.
I asked 19 of my very inspiring blogger friends for their #1 tip on staying balanced in this crazy world of ours. I respect each of these ladies immensely so if you’re inclined, I recommend you head over to their blogs to get to know them better. You won’t regret it.
Here is what they had to say:
My number one tip is based on four words: My Life – My Choice. When I discovered that my life was a series of choices rather than “have tos,” it was as if the skies parted and the angels sang, “Thank God, she finally gets it!” I experienced a huge shift in perspective when I began saying, “I get to go to work” instead of “I have to go to work,” or “I get to drive kids to soccer practice” rather than “I have to drive kids to soccer practice.” One simple change in the language I use (“get to” rather than “have to”) made a profound difference in living a more harmonious and balanced life.
Peggy’s podcast: http://apple.co/1EOkEuX
My number one tip for maintaining balance is saying no. Being able to say no enables you to say yes to and maintain boundaries around the things and people who are important in your life. When you say no to volunteering at the latest bake sale, you say yes to your family. You say yes to the run you want to take later. You say yes to your values and priorities. These are the things that are already held in such delicate balance which is why saying no is so important.
The way I stay balanced in such a busy world is actually scheduling out time for me. I am huge on using a calendar, both digital and paper, and I spend one day a week scheduling out my next week and making sure I actually set time aside for breaks and “me” time. Sometimes its hard! But, I set a reminder for everything on my calendar and when the reminder goes off, I stop what I am doing and move to the next task. Sounds super boring, but it works for me! I even set a reminder to get ready for bed every night!
Balance is a tricky word, and I’m not sure if I’m ever perfectly in balance. For me, it’s a constant evaluation of what my priorities are and whether my time reflects those priorities. The thing that has helped me the most is to take care of myself and my needs so that I am more able to meet the needs of my family and others around me. One way I do this is to get up at least 1/2 hour earlier than the rest of my family to have my quiet time for prayer and coffee before the demands of the day begin. This, among other things, helps me to stay balanced and sane!
My#1 tip to create balance in a busy life is to consult, trust and listen to your intuition. I believe that you have the answers within to find equilibrium. Each situation you encounter in life will require your own unique answer.
I work with a lot of stressed business people and execs, and see on an almost daily basis how work can take over.
I recommend making a real distinction between work and ‘me’ time. Simple things like putting your phone on voicemail/emails to out of office at a certain time, changing out of your work clothes, going for a walk, keeping a designated area or room for work, if you work from home, to enable you to close the door on it and keep it separate.
But a vital part of the balance is in how you spend the time you have away from work.
Chilling out in front of Netflix is great sometimes, but by making full use of your time off, whether that’s being social, being alone, being active, doing hobbies or crafts, you get more enjoyment and pleasure out of life, and therefore reduce stress.
Jane’s workbook on balance – www.janetravis.com/work-life/
Nicole-Locksmith for your Soul: NicoleLevac.com
After spending a lifetime observing myself, creating a life of balance has been quite a process.
Narrowing it down to one tip is a difficult task yet I would say that the one thing that I have learned and still serves me today is self-compassion. Learning to love myself was very demanding. Coming from a place where self-destruction and self-hatred were my best friend, I had to learn to have compassion for myself. Every time that I noticed myself going down that road of judgement, guilt or shame, I reminded myself that self-compassion was necessary for me to heal. With time, this practice brought me to a place of self-acceptance. Then I started recognizing my own limits. So now, when I come to a place where I fall back into judgement or fears, I know that self-compassion is the best way to nourish my relationship with myself so I keep it handy and available whenever my old patterns or habits return.
I find it exciting that there are so many women who are doing life and business and for the most part doing it well. The biggest challenge they share with me is finding the time and the strategies to also create a quality family life.
Many of us feel guilty because we are unable to spend enough time with our own family. We can often get dragged along in the whirlwind of daily life saying yes to things without thinking about it and we end up overloaded and overwhelmed. So my top tip is to think about what your family ‘time values’ are. My experience is that almost none of us do this, and so we give away control of our time.
Take the time as a family to discuss what are the most important things you want your family to spend time on? How important are dates with hubby, visiting grandparents, sports with the kids, after school activities or weekend outdoor adventures? Eliminate or adjust those things that are really sucking away that quality time.
When you have worked out what your family time priorities are, future time-use decisions become much more intentional and less stressful.
Kristi Jo: KristiJoJedlickiBlog
Over the years, I have been relentless in my pursuit to create a sense of balance in my life. This quest has led to varying degrees of success, and it definitely is a work in progress. For me, a balanced life requires taking intentional actions each day to nurture the body and mind connection. Some of my favorite body and mind practices to create balance in my life include:
• Body: exercise; choose healthy foods; stay hydrated; get enough sleep
• Mind: meditate/pray; use positive self-talk; day-dream; keep a gratitude journal; set daily intentions; laugh
I cannot control the curves life throws at me, but when I consistently incorporate these practices into my life, I can regain my footing faster and return to a state of balance.
The most vital way I see to find balance in our busy lives is to create space for ourselves. It might be physical, mental, emotional – whatever we need as individuals – and it’s a space where we can explore what it means to be ourselves, and ourselves alone. Not as employees, parents, spouses, or in any way defined by our relationships to others. In that space of our relationship with ourselves, a space of self-discovery, what is most important to each of us will emerge. Prioritize important over “urgent.” Do at least one thing that’s important to your individual Self every day, and you will begin to find balance in life.
Murielle Marie: MurielleMarie.com
I would say that my #1 tip to create balance in the busy world we live in, is to learn to love yourself. By loving yourself – really loving yourself – you start to listen to your body and your soul in a profound and very compassionate way. As a result, when you get out of balance, the act of taking care of yourself and returning to a place of balance is so much easier.
The way this looks in our daily lives could be you’re overworking, you’re not eating a proper lunch, you’re not taking enough time to rejuvenate and refresh, you’re out of sync with family and friends, you’re stressed out. When you have a direct self-love line to yourself, you’re much more aware of this, and so you are able to notice, then address these issues faster.
Also, when you are in a self-loving relationship, you’ll be able to say no more easily as a safeguard of your own wellbeing. You’ll also be able to make difficult decisions, that might not please everyone. Because you know you have to in order to be loving and compassionate with yourself.
How do I find balance? When Karen asked me this question, I busted out laughing because some days I feel like I’m falling too far one way and then I say to myself, “Ah Shit,” and start leaning in the opposite direction just so I don’t fall flat on my face! There are days when I FEEL like I don’t balance being a wife, mothering special needs kids, running a home, and growing a business very well. One thing I have learned is not to go on my feelings but give an honest look at what I DID get done and reward myself for even the smallest accomplishments. One strategy that I put in place is the good-better-best rule. Each day there are good things that I could spend my time on; there are things I better spend my time doing and then there are the things that best get done. When I apply this strategy, along with prayer, planning, routine, and consistency, most days I don’t fall over.
Coming from a background of abuse as a child and then fleeing from a physically and mentally abusive relationship as an adult, I have had my fair share of stress and “busyness.” Dealing with this trauma on top of navigating the justice system, being a single “mompreneur,” and creating a family of the heart has forced me to find balance.
I had to find a way to balance and deal with all of this all together. And to be quite frank, I am not always the best scheduled person in the world.
What helped me is to decide to love myself. And to love myself meant to take a step back when I felt that I needed it. Listen to music, pay attention to my surroundings, do fun things, spend time with loved ones, meditate, read, and go for a walk or exercise to relax. Plan non-negotiable time to do things for me.
There is only one you, and only you can decide to not live someone else’s agenda and to take care of yourself – mind and body. If you have time for other things, you have time for yourself. Make the decision to love yourself and put your well-being and sanity first. To find balance have a good schedule and make your priorities clear and straight.
Prioritize what’s important in your life and don’t leave yourself off that list. If something is truly significant to you, you’ll find the time for it. Let go or outsource what’s not important to you to make room in your life so you can practice being still. Meditate, take a bath, sit and just read an actual book. A few minutes of stillness once or twice a week will remind you of the essence of who you are and what’s meaningful to YOUR big picture.
I remind myself daily that balance is something that varies from day-to-day. I attempt to review a balance wheel of my life every few months to remind myself of what may have lost priority. There are days that certain areas of my life are going to need me more. I try to be mindful about my schedule each week and note when there are days that are going to be more difficult. I always try to schedule in a workout and make sure that I eat but I am realistic that there are also times when I will not have the best lunch and the workout gets skipped. I try to make sure I am giving time to everything that is important to me. I regularly schedule lunches and girls night with my friends as well as having a date night each week with my husband. These connections are the most important to me and I have learned from experience that not giving them priority easily takes my life out of balance.
My number one secret for getting it all done is planning. Life is all about enjoying the moment and living for the now but you can’t truly enjoy any moment fully knowing your to-do list is growing out of control. The solution is very careful planning. For the longest time, my life motto has been “fail to plan and you plan to fail.” This is the only way to get through day-to-day life without feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Life has to be about doing things you love and spending time with the people you love. Get the important things done but also be incredibly strict about not letting work dominate your life. It’s a non-negotiable for me, weekends and evenings are spent with my family.
Life is about doing the things that make you happy. Make sure you know what they are.
“Life with Balance” is the goal in every stage of life. My life revolves around it daily. It boils down to time management of personal life and business.
To have life with balance in the blogging world is not easy without discipline. After I started blogging, I was overwhelmed by all the information about blogging. In fact, overwhelmed is an understatement. Following the experts’ advice, I incorporated scheduling into my daily tasks.
I separate what tasks are important and what tasks are urgent. The important tasks are handled first. I complete as many urgent tasks as possible without mercy. I will not end the day until all tasks are finished.
I never skip exercise and meditation even on days with a heavy load. They increase my efficiency in completing the tasks for the rest of the day.
I practice the Sabbath each week. I give myself a day off from all activities completely from Friday evening to Saturday evening. This “rest” gives me the refreshment of my soul, my spirit, and my mind. I have new energy and clarity to embrace the new week ahead by doing this.
When everything turns into chaos, I will not hesitate to isolate myself to clear my mind.
“Sometimes, what I need to do to get balance in life is: Fly away and get lost.”
Well, Danielle isn’t a friend per se but she is one of my favorite people to follow. She has an interesting take on balance. You can read more here. Here is one of my favorite quotes:
When you refuse the banality of balance and go for full on life (which includes full on productivity and full on stillness,) you’ll see the inevitable mess of it all as something more beautiful and purposeful – full of peaks and valleys – an adventure. The climb can be rigorous, grueling sometimes, but the air is cleaner, and the view will blow your mind. The fruit you’ll find on your own tilted path is so much sweeter – and there’s so much more of it to share. ~Danielle laPorte
Karen: OneSaltyKiss 🙂
I find that when the different elements of my life are in the correct proportions, I feel balanced.
I am on balance when my priorities are straight and I am spending time on what’s important.
Whether it’s accepting the butterflies I get with all the new tasks in starting my business, handling the urgency that overwhelms me with blogging, relishing the time I spend with my kids as I feel it slipping away, or feeling the peace that envelops me when I’m in the ocean, spending my time on what’s important, even when it’s nerve-wracking, keeps me balanced.
It all boils down to doing only that which brings life meaning.
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