It All Comes Back to Balance

There is no doubt that we live in a society now that demands…well…basically …everything: a thriving career, a puzzle-hand-isfulfilling social life, strong family ties, happy relationships, good health, solid finances, passions, creativity and physical activity- just to name a few things.

But how on earth are we supposed to maintain those things with only 24 hours in a day? How do you fit all the pieces together?

Seriously! It can be overwhelming, I know.

Most of the time, if we pretend like we have a grip on it all, we can put off dealing with the fact that we can sometimes be horribly off-balanced.

GET A REAL GRIP!

I don’t know about you, but what usually happens for me is that I put off doing something until it becomes a blazing house-on-fire-priority or a less dramatic example would be that I wait until the deadline date to submit my column, sometimes even at 4:59pm.

It’s not even just about work, I can do this with dinner, a chore (in fact, sometimes I’ll wait to mow the lawn just as a big, grey thunder cloud rolls in), or I’ll buy a birthday gift on the WAY to the person’s party and so on.

Not procrastination, because I’ve done a million other things in the meantime. It’s not easy to admit but in hindsight, the apparent trend that causes my behaviour is that I was lacking balance. I don’t even notice it until I start hearing a voice in my head all too often saying things like “I’m so sick of rushing all the time!” or “Why is she mad at me AGAIN?” or….”I thought I called her back?”

The thing is -no one wants to admit that they can’t do it all. But, logically, it’s completely unrealistic to think that being balanced comes naturally. When things start to get difficult for me, it’s time to stop and assess what’s going on- and it’s usually determined that I’m off-balanced. I’m spending way too much time on something, and neglecting a bunch of other things and I’ve got to make adjustments.

 OKAY…BUT HOW?! Equalize?

I find the word “priority” to be almost paralyzing at times. So, to make things a bit easier to digest, I tell myself I have to “equalize” things. By doing this, I start with a monthly view- in a panoramic way, like just taking a look at the whole month in a calendar glance to get myself prepared for the weeks ahead.  From there, on weekly basis, I find it works for me to check on my fiscal responsibilities (what’s due? what can I spend? what’s pending?), organize my work schedule, and make notes or reminders for things I need to remember on specific days.

Then daily, I have to get back to basics by allowing myself  the right balance of things. It’s all important, it’s all equally a priority, so without stressing myself out, I see what’s logically do-able in a day. Work wipes out a good 7-10 hours a day, right?

Well, before even starting work, some “ME” time is essential and that might mean setting the alarm 20 minutes earlier but it will give you time to play with the cats…(or kids!), have tea or coffee, read a chapter of a book… meditate, do yoga (Ok, that’s not my thing, but maybe for you, it is?) Then start your routine because soon enough, you’re off to put in your work hours.

But, think about these: can you squeeze in a “thinking about you” text to your partner? Yes. Can you use a few minutes at lunch time to call your Mom and say hi? Yes. Can you drop a friend an answer back to her email? Yes. Does dinner have to be right at 6pm? No. Could you mow the lawn after work instead of Saturday? Sure. Could you take the kids for a pizza instead of shuffling them off to do homework right away? Yes.

Do you have to save up ALL your errands and chores for the weekend? No! You can do a few things before or after dinner any night of the week. Are you having enough fun? No? Plan something.

Find the time. Make the time. It IS all about balance.

Take even just a half day off once in a while. It’s a delicate dance- but it comes down to being aware of when your work is taking over your life. Or a family issue is so big that it’s interfering with your work, or your caring for an ailing friend so much that you’ve been out of touch with your partner. Or your child is demanding all of your attention and you & your partner haven’t had any romance time in ages.

When something…anything… starts to take over  it can weigh you down. Step back, remind yourself to re-calculate your time and get your balancing act on. Be alert to how even you’re load distribution is.

THE BEST ANALOGY I CAN FIND

One time I was waiting to check-in for a flight. I was in the “Bag Drop” line, ready to get myself off to security and get to my gate. The person ahead of me steps up to the airline agent, sets one of their suitcases on the scale to be tagged and weighed and the agent says, “Oh my. Your bag is over the weight limit,” and the person becomes completely panicked, unzipping the luggage, taking out flip flops, sweat shirts, perfume, bras, socks and shoving them in another bag, while the agent smiles politely, waiting for the person to try to re-distribute and balance the weight properly in both bags now.

The entire growing line of people, including myself, are watching the chaos that ensues while this person’s personal items are scattered all over the ground, suitcases lie open everywhere, even the carry-on case now slipping down off their shoulder is being stuffed with things. In that moment, watching all of it, I could confidently think to myself, “Thank goodness I checked the weight of my bags at home.”

 

 

 

 

 

About Denise Warner-Gregory

Denise Warner-Gregory hosts the successful, funny podcast “The
Lesbian Lounge” on iTunes & Podbean. At the age of 45, she's lived in
NY, FL and now resides happily in London with her wife, Jemma. Denise
contributes regularly to many popular LGBT blogs, websites & resources
and hosts live events in both the US and the UK.

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