The Myth of "Balance" & 3 Key Things To Do Instead
Do you ever feel like you're trying to achieve "balance" in your life but it seems so elusive?
You've got work, family responsibilities, fitness goals, household duties, friends, major life events, etc....sometimes it all seems overwhelming, am I right? It's like there's just not enough time in the day for it all.
This week has tested me in so many ways. Our little guy has been teething (ie crap sleep for all) and understandably grumpy (who could blame him?), we've been trying to organize in international move whilst still abroad, I've barely had time to work out, and I've been juggling the multitude of re-branding & work tasks that all seem to need A LOT of attention.
It's made me want to curl up and cry. And binge watch Netflix while binge-eating eat candy. Luckily I didn't indulge either of these two things...
...Because it's also made me stop and reflect on what is MOST important right now. AND to realize that "balance" really is a giant myth. Diluting your energy among a zillion things usually equates to everything being mediocre at best. It's really when we push to our extremes that magic & success happens.
Trying to do EVERYTHING 1OO% at all times, no matter what's happening in life creates a HUGE amount of stress, which just drains your finite energy stores.
And ain't nobody got time for wasted energy right?! I certainly don't!
I've learned it's really more about "Counter-Balancing", because life is dynamic and constantly changing. There will times when something in your life demands more attention & energy, and to be truly successful we have to sometimes live in those extremes. BUT, and that's a big but, you've got to eventually find your way back in the other direction. Those other important things in your life will then need to be nourished and given more time, energy and attention.
So how do you keep your sanity when you've got A TON on the go, and you still want to achieve things like sculpting your body, losing weight, getting ahead in work, and spending quality time with those you love?
When life starts feeling overwhelming and the balancing act is a struggle, here are 3 Key Things to Do Instead:
1) ADJUST EXPECTATIONS:
I get it - you're a go-getter, you're ambitious, and you want it all (Hello, this is me too!). There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But if you feel like everything you've got going on right now SHOULD be getting 1OO% effort and time, you're going to set yourself up for disappointment and feelings of failure if you don't achieve all those things. Not to mention eventual burnout.
You've got to decide what things are THE MOST IMPORTANT things. And how you spend your time and energy on these things is what you need to take a good hard look at and adjust in terms of your expectations.
For example, you've got a big work deadline coming up, but you're also trying to tone up and get fitter, and you're feeling super stressed. You could adjust the following:
If you normally train 5 days per week but you feel like the work deadline means overtime hours, adjust your training schedule to decrease the frequency and/or duration of the workouts. Focus on quick & effective HIIT sessions (try this one HERE!), or shorten your workouts in general. Something is better than nothing!
Take some of that workout time and make it "Destressing Time" - 5-1O minutes to meditate, breathe deeply, go for a walk, listen to music - whatever small thing you can do for yourself to tackle this energy-zapper!
If you normally cook every night to keep your nutrition on point but you feel the crunch of time, batch your cooking 1-2x per week, so you've got healthy meals throughout the week that you could easily warm up or pull from the fridge. Or you could hire a meal service company for a short period of time to get you through the madness and still keep healthy eating a priority.
If you're goals are losing weight or leaning out, but work is crazy, maybe you go into "maintenance mode" for a brief period, meaning don't place the expectations of losing weight/fat right this second! Take the pressure off yourself and you'll feel a whole lot better.
It won't be perfect and it won't be your ideal situation. But it also doesn't mean that all these things have to fall completely to the back burner either. Decide where you are going to be flexible and easier on yourself, so that the things that are demanding the most from you get your focus. And once the crazy deadline is met, you re-balance again and swing the needle back to those things that were put on maintenance mode.
2) ASK FOR HELP:
You're intensely independent and feel like you want to prove you've got things under control (Hello, me again!). But sometimes you really do need to lean on others to help you get through those tougher, more demanding times.
Sometimes asking for help is one of the hardest things to do. I know it is for me. BUT when you do, you're also allowing others the opportunity to give & love on you. So why not give them the chance?
Ask your significant other to pick up some of your normal household duties. Delegate tasks at work (if applicable) to make your focus singular and on the things that you are best at. Ask a friend to watch your kid for an hour so you can go and get your hair done. Today I'm writing this blog at a coffee shop on a day that I normally have Aiden with me, but my amazing hubby took the day off to give me the time to work. What a guy!
Wouldn't you help a friend out who was struggling? Of course you would.
Give your circle of trusted friends and loving family a chance to help you out and unload some of your normal duties or responsibilities so you can do what you need to do.
3) LET GO:
This one's a big one. Especially since you want it all and feel you should be doing all things, all the time. Letting go really means giving space to those things that are truly important in this moment.
And again, it doesn't mean you won't ever come back to those things you let go of. You are just emptying your cup a little bit to make room for the most pressing and most important things in your life right now.
So I challenge you - look at all the things you are currently doing, and ask yourself "What can I let go of (for good or temporarily) that will give me the space I need and reduce the stress?
Maybe it's letting go of late night tv watching so you get a good night's rest. Or maybe it's cancelling a social event that you're not really even excited to be going to. Or maybe it's letting go of the idea that you need everything to be perfect, and maybe sometimes good enough is good enough.
Letting go can be extremely liberating and can really take the stress levels down. For me this week, letting go of the idea of an agenda at my workouts, leaving the chores, and adopting the "good is good enough" attitude has helped bring some calm to this crazy week.
So now I'd love to hear from you:
What are you feeling overwhelmed with RIGHT NOW?
How can you use these 3 Keys to counterbalance and reduce the overwhelm?
Let me know in the comments below. Remember, insight without action is useless. Tell us what actions you're going to take TODAY to reduce the overwhelm & start counterbalancing your life!
You never know - someone else may be feeling exactly what you are, and you're courage to share could really help them break through their own struggles.
There is a way forward and I'm cheering you on!
xo Coach Crys