Author: Tracy Lackraj
“Balance is not something you find, it’s something you create”
– Jana Kingsford
I love this quote. So many of us are living life on the go, ALL. THE. TIME. We never take a break. Whether it’s family, spouses, children, work – it just never seems to end. But the truth is, that type of lifestyle isn’t sustainable, nor is it a very healthy lifestyle.
A healthy lifestyle has BALANCE. As a young woman who very much wants to pursue a successful career, there is always the question of “How do we balance work and family?”. But what most people fail to realize, is that there is something so HUGE missing from that question. What we should be asking ourselves is “How do we balance work, family, and self-care?”. That’s right, self-care – “me” time. How do we balance making ourselves a priority in our lives? How do we balance taking care of ourselves and building a healthier lifestyle?
Most of us tend to neglect ourselves – our diets, our bodies, our feelings, our dreams – because we are so busy taking care of others and putting their needs first, whether it’s our family, friends, or employers. But the key to finding true balance in our lives is to make ourselves a priority. Once we start to take care of ourselves, balancing everything else becomes so much easier because we are healthier, happier, and can therefore be more productive.
So how do we achieve this balance? How do we make ourselves a priority?
Leave work at work.
I’m starting with this, because it’s a huge one. If you work a standard 9-5 job, leave everything behind at the office once you leave at 5pm, and don’t think about it again until 9am the next day. Use the time in between to focus on everything else in your life. If you start bringing work home with you, you’re constantly distracted and are never really present for whatever else you may be doing.
If you work from home, you’re not off the hook! Schedule certain times throughout the day to get your work done, and when that time is up, walk away from it. Put the laptop away, turn your phone off, and just be present in the moment.
Develop a routine
Some of the earlier posts in this challenge talked about routine, so I won’t go into too much detail here. But routines are so important and really help with achieving balance in your life. If you can set aside certain times throughout the day or week for certain tasks (whether it be meal prep, laundry, going to the gym, doing the groceries), it helps in ensuring that you stick to that plan and don’t become overwhelmed with things piling up. It also helps to free up your time, because you can space things out over the course of the day or week so that you have more free time in between to balance everything else.
Me-time is SO important. I can’t stress it enough. In order to live a truly balanced lifestyle that incorporates taking care of yourself, it is crucial to find some time at least once a week to have some time for yourself. Whatever you do during that time can vary, and it can change every week. Maybe you decide to go get a manicure/pedicure one week, and the next you just want to curl up in the silence of your bedroom with a good book and a cup of tea. Whatever it is, find some time to just rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit. Sometimes that’s all you need in order to be more present and succeed in all other aspects of your life.
Do something you love
A lot of people may think that this is the same as me-time, and for some it might be. But when I think of me-time, I think of relaxation or rejuvenation – doing something that helps me to reset emotionally, mentally, and physically. On the other hand, when I think of doing something I love, I think of personal fulfillment – finding a personal passion and pursuing it. Many people tend to ignore this when they think of self-care, but it is so crucial to building a happier, healthier, balanced lifestyle for ourselves.
The idea of finding a personal passion and pursuing it will mean something different to everyone. Maybe it’s volunteering once a week at a local hospital, maybe it’s going to church once a month, maybe it’s learning a new language, or maybe it’s starting a blog. Whatever it may be, pursuing this even in small increments will help to bring personal fulfillment.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
Last but not least, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. In The Self-Love Experiment, Shannon quotes a popular meme that says “Some days you eat salads and go to the gym. Some days you eat cupcakes and refuse to put on pants. It’s called balance.” How true is this?!
We tend to put pressure on ourselves to do it all, and we beat ourselves up when we don’t. But let’s all take a step back, realize that we’re human and we’re not perfect, and take some of that pressure off. If you have to work late one day, sure. If the kids are being a handful and you don’t have the time to cook that keto meal plan you had prepped, no problem. If you have to skip the gym today because it’s your mom’s birthday, it’s fine! We don’t have to get things perfect every day. There will be days when we don’t stick to the routine, or things just don’t go our way. But that doesn’t mean that we’ve screwed up the balance of our lives; in fact, it’s all part of the balance.
Keep striving towards a healthier, balanced lifestyle, and it will become much easier to incorporate all of these things. But make sure that your balanced lifestyle includes self-care, because that is the true secret behind success.