Each season of life and life’s demands is different. Being a single woman trying to balance a career, family, friends, and staying healthy can seem very different than a young mom balancing a career outside or inside the home, family, and staying healthy. However, no matter the stage of life we are in, we as women will feel the demands and pressures of life. My hope is to give you just a few practical thoughts on how you can achieve more balance in your daily life. Only you know (because you took the time to reflect) where you are potentially out of balance. More often than not, I see women who are giving a tremendous amount of time to their family and their jobs whether they work in or outside of the home. Knowing this to be true, I am going to work from the assumption that most women are struggling to nurture the physical wellness leg of their stool and are rarely able to find personal/quiet/reflective/spiritual time. The rest of the blog will be devoted to a few practical tips that might help you to achieve a little more balance in these areas of your life.
Hints that have helped with balance:
Say NO before yes. If you always say yes to “good things” you will probably miss out on the BEST things that come your way. (Good is the enemy of best …paraphrased from Voltaire.)
Grab a friend…two are better than one. She will hold you accountable to your workouts when you are tired and have had a long day. She will listen and help you make better choices in the future. She will FORCE you to get “you” time if you haven’t in a while. Start this conversation now with a good girlfriend!
Set a regular time for personal quiet time or reflection. Some seasons of life are more available for this than others. Maybe it is an extra 5 minutes in the shower for some…or maybe it is a cup of coffee and a quiet extra 20 minutes before the day starts while the house is still quiet. Quieting yourself and not RUSHING from the moment the alarm goes off is good. Maybe take a few moments of gratitude at the end of your day to quietly reflect or pray. A journal can also really open up a heart and soul.
A little praise goes a long way. No husband wants to be helpful at home when he is constantly nagged or criticized for how he does it. LET GO of all the things you think HAVE to be done a certain way…close your eyes take a deep breath and walk out the door and pound it out on the pavement. Your children will still be alive when you get back sweaty and feeling awesome. Your hubby will gain confidence when you give him the reigns. This is true for all things…you may not be getting “you” time because your hubby does not feel that he has your permission to do the helpful dad thing or anything around the house for that matter. Tell him the things you appreciate that he does with the kids, or to be helpful. Let him do those! (This probably goes for in-laws, siblings, or babysitters who are willing to watch your kids. They are no substitute for you, but if you are looking for perfection or for them to perfectly handle life the way you would, you will NEVER get out of the hosue!)
On a budget? Get Creative! So many women talk about having no money to pursue their interests.
Swap keeping kids with another mom, so you can go run errands without little ones…grab a coffee along the way…or go check out the yoga class you have been wanting to try. Consider sharing a sitter so that you can get a date night with your hubby. The kids play with friends and you save a little cash.
Need girl time? Go grocery shopping or workout with a friend. Delegate one night a month to get away with friends. Join a book club.
Cannot afford a gym membership? Buy equipment you can use over and over again that is versatile. Buy a punch card—shameless plug—and that way you can go to classes on your time and get ideas and then take them home and use them there!
Need some alone time? Go to a coffee shop and read, (again) go for a run or wake up a little earlier and sneak in a bit of quiet before the rest of your crew gets up.
Don’t use money as an excuse! Find what fuels you and do it!
If we are always placing the demands of family, job, and others before us, we will eventually feel depleted and empty. On the contrary if we give very little of ourselves we will feel the need to overcompensate in the areas in which we lack. Giving is supposed to be one of life’s greatest joys. Giving of our time, energy, and talents to those we love can produce an abundance of fulfillment and happiness. We just can’t do it at the expense of ourselves and what we enjoy in life. If you take time for yourself to recognize and pursue what you need to refresh your mind, body, and spirit, you will most likely come away feeling fueled and ready for the demands of life with a more positive attitude. Everyone benefits when you take time for yourself.
Realize that each season of life is different. Be willingly to adapt, change and grow with each season. Some of your desires and interests will have to be put on hold during certain seasons of life. Embracing the season and making the most of it while still giving yourself time is so important.
YOU matter and are worth spending time on YOU!
YOU are worth a girl’s night with a friend.
YOU are worth the money & time it costs to workout.
YOU are worth a new outfit every season.
YOU are worth time to read a book for pleasure.
YOU are worth getting a babysitter for date night.
YOU are worth going back to school to pursue a dream or career.
You are valuable simply because you are a person; a precious soul that matters. Embrace this truth and seek balance!
(This was written in conjunction with a friend…who wishes to remain anonymous. She shares my passion for women knowing truth and how incredibly valuable they are. Our thoughts and ideas are woven into one.)