Do you find yourself only half-listening to a friend or spouse? Do you race to get to your job each morning and sprint to pick up your kids after work? Then rush home to start dinner? And no matter how many things you check off your list, when your head hits the pillow at night, your mind is racing with all the things left undone.
Yes, our lives are very full, sometimes even hectic, so rushing is understandable occasionally. However, if it's a regular occurrence, your stress level is building, and the frantic, frazzled self is becoming a habit. Stress is a reminder of the need for a better work-life balance. And trust me, self-care is NOT selfish! You can't go anywhere on an empty tank!
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Work-Life Balance Begins with Self-Care
The question is: Can you find balance in your daily life, or is a work-life balance an illusion?
Many people fill their days by checking things off their to-do lists. And when their schedule has an opening, they fill it as fast as possible. No time just to BE! Time for self-care can be a foreign concept for a productivity fan. Perhaps, this behavior could also point toward people-pleasing. Regardless, of how you view productivity, filling our lives with too much doesn't allow for truly living.
We even turn "being" into an action: being on time, being a good friend, being a high-performing employee, being a loving mother, etc. But genuine BEING means to be entirely present to yourself without something pulling at you.
Being IS the highest form of doing.
Read that sentence again.
What do I mean by that statement? When we are stressed, rushing to get somewhere, or half-heartedly listening to a friend, spouse, or our children, we pretend to be present. But let's be real: there is no love in hurrying. Stress short-circuits connection with self and others.
If stress is in the driver's seat of your life, then giving attention to those you love may turn into a competition for your own needs to get met. And it can feel like IF we give our full attention to someone, it will devour the time we don't think we have!
There's a new way.
You can take small actions to feel differently inside, dramatically affecting how you show up for your life. Developing regular self-care and emotional fitness is crucial if you want more sanity. Work those serenity muscles just like you achieve physical fitness by working out at the gym!
Presence isn't so much about time as it is about perspective. How could we ever be fully present if we don't think we have enough time? When we know what is most important, there is always enough time because we're able to say "no" to those things that are not aligned with our values. We relax into each moment with confidence that we're exactly where we need to be and want to be!
Take a Breath: a Calmer Life Is a Decision Away
So if you'd like to make a change and create a future that you will love, keep reading. Remember, your future is the accumulation of all your decisions today.
Decisions are tricky. It's so easy not to recognize how BIG our little daily choices are and how they can impact our well-being and the quality of our lives. For instance, we can greet our partner with a big hug and kiss, or we can barely say hello. We can calm ourselves when upset or yell at our kids. We can skip self-care again to get one more task checked off our list or take a 15-minute breather to renew ourselves with a mindfulness exercise.
We get to choose moment by moment the quality of our lives. What will you choose?
Related reading: "Self-Care Begins with Self-Love: a Formula for Heightened Inner Peace."
Practical Steps to Bring More Calmness and Well-Being into Your Life
STEP 1 - For greater calm in your life, take a serious look at your schedule.
What makes you feel stressed? What raises your energy and uplifts you? Is there time in your schedule for your passions or hobbies? Decide what tasks feed you and what commitments bleed you dry.
Knowing these elements empowers us to make wiser decisions with our time and our lives!
STEP 2 - Next, determine or remind yourself of your highest values?
Are your values represented in your schedule, or are you depriving yourself (or only giving yourself leftovers) of what matters most to you?
STEP 3 - Reflect on where you tend to say “yes” when you really want to be saying "no thank you."
Who do you commit to helping regularly, and the relationship doesn't feel equitable? Are you overcommitting outside the family and feeling guilty that you don't spend enough quality time with your children? Is work devouring family time? Do you love your job? Or have you been wanting a more fulfilling career?
Find those vulnerable places where you make choices that don't reflect your highest values or your best self. Identify where you are saying yes but screaming no inside.
And if you're having trouble setting boundaries, learn how with this step-by-step process.
STEP 4 - After reviewing where your time goes each day, decide what needs to be thinned and pruned.
What can you let go of altogether? Are there activities that feel like too much? Perhaps, a committee you're on and have been wanting to quit. Are there items that you can delegate? And what are the things that you want more of; what will you prune to make time for these activities?
Let go of what you can; cherish what you keep. However, if you can't find anything to free up time, at the very least, think things through before you commit or agree to anything new in the future.
STEP 5 - Now, moving forward, LEAVE OPEN TIME in your schedule for things you enjoy.
Add extra travel time, so there's no rushing to and from work. Reserve some self-care time to rejuvenate yourself! Carve a spot in your schedule for exercise a few times a week.
And how 'bout that emotional fitness? How will you flex those muscles?—with small actions daily!
Take a few moments throughout every day to stop, breathe and check in with your emotions. Self-regulate and calm yourself when you start rushing or revving again.
I get it! We don't always have openings in our schedule to fly to Mexico for ten days. A staycation is within your reach. And we can use our imagination for a mental reset using visualization. For instance, imagine you're at the beach. Listen to the ocean waves lapping the shore, the sun warming you as your feet are licked by the warm saltwater. Completely immerse yourself into the experience until your senses believe you're there!
And lastly, make a firm commitment to be fully present to the people you cherish in your life. No multitasking when your kids want to tell you something about their day or your partner wants to run a new idea by you. Slow down. Be more present.
Related reading: "Why Work-Life Balance Isn't the Best Solution."
Keep Calm and Carry On!
Practice a more relaxed way of being. Mindfulness and being present take daily practice and attention. Each day, you have the opportunity to make a choice to feel frazzled or calm?
Get support today to eliminate relationship stress, increase emotional fitness, and learn mindfulness. Check our Heartmanity's Resources. Or contact us at email@example.com.