I recently came through a week of very hard work, chaotic energy and long hours. As I reviewed my goals and progress for the week, I realized that I couldn’t remember much of anything that happened during that week. It was all a muddled blur in my mind, one day blending into the next. I do believe that hard work is good for us. However, if we don’t also include periods of rest, quiet contemplation and recreation, what are we working so hard for?
They say “a woman’s work is never done”, but this holds true for men also. Work in general is never done – which is a good thing really, because if there is no more work to be done, there is no more progress to be made. I love making progress, it is what drives me. But constant work without play makes for a very dull existence. The key is balance. It is a difficult thing to achieve for many, myself included. For most of my life I have either been going 100 miles an hour, or stalled completely.
So how do we create balance in our lives? I believe there are four key areas of our lives that require (yes, require!) daily attention.
Spirituality – taking time to center yourself is crucial. Meditation or quiet contemplation are so important to our overall health. Adopting this practice first thing in the morning is best for many people, since it can help to adopt a positive mindset for the day. Others may prefer the late evening, to help de-stress from the day. Regardless of preference, developing this practice for at least 30 minutes this day will do wonders.
Self – each of us needs time every day to work on our physical and emotional wellness. This is time we can use for exercise, journaling, self-exploration, and hobbies. As women, we tend to be very adept at taking care of everyone else and neglecting ourselves. We should not do that! You cannot fully give to someone else when you are empty yourself. So, make yourself a priority and make time to care properly for yourself physically and emotionally. Trust me, you will be a much happier person and be able to give that much more to those you love.
Significant Other/Family and friends – This is actually two categories, but they do tend to blend together. Time together with loved ones is so important, and it is something that is sadly beginning to happen less and less in our hurried society. Here are some ways to help that. Make it a priority to have dinner together with your family. No distractions or television blaring in the background. Have a “family day” or “family night” where you spend one evening or perhaps one weekend day together doing something fun as a family. Time spent together having fun is the most important thing. This goes for you and your significant other as well. Have a weekly “date night” where the two of you spend time alone together without distraction. All of our relationships require maintenance to keep them strong.
Work/Business – are you surprised I put this last? Most people today put work first, but doing so creates a sense of constant duty and drudgery. Work is important, but it’s not the most important thing in life. If you make the other three categories your first priorities, your time spent working will be much more productive. You won’t feel so burned out and stressed out, and you will accomplish alot more than you would otherwise.
Lastly, one of the most important things we can do to become more balanced in our lives is master the art of mindfulness. This means being fully present in every moment, giving our full attention to every task. This practice can be difficult for many of us, because as we are performing one task, our mind is already moving ahead to the next task, and the one after that. So at at any given time, we are performing multiple tasks at the same time. One we are performing with our hands, and the others in our mind. What a way to feel exhausted and overwhelmed.
Try focusing only on one task at a time, and I think you’ll be surprised at how much more you can get done, and with less fatigue at the end of the day. It takes practice though. At first you may need to consistently bring your attention back to the task at hand. Your mind may want to keep wandering, as it is used to doing. That’s okay, simply bring it gently back to what you are doing right now, and continue on. With practice, you will be able to master this and feel much more centered and calm throughout your days.