We are taught to strive for balance. How many times have you sworn that you’ll do better, be better, and “get more balance” in your life? Google “living a balanced life” and you’ll find over 8 million results in only .92 seconds so I’d say it’s something people are really interested in. If that weren’t true there wouldn’t be books, blogs, coaching events, and Facebook posts galore about “ how to achieve balance.” This isn’t another one of those articles. This article isn’t a “5 steps to a completely balanced, perfect, unobtainable life.” It’s designed to ask a few questions, maybe raise a few more and spark a healthy conversation about what we are all looking for.
We have all tried to create the perfect work/home/friend balance or the perfect food/exercise/cheat-day balance. Have you ever watched your Facebook newsfeed and witnessed the wonderful tropical vacations, the perfect graduation ceremonies, the impeccably dressed couple at yet another exclusive retreat, the neighbor’s new car purchase, the homemaker mom with all the homemade recipes and wonder why your life feels so messy, unorganized, and dare I say a little crazy? Please tell me I’m not the only one to get out of work late and while so focused on what’s for dinner I forgot to pick up my kid from school, showed up to a meeting with the mysterious “white slime” on my shirt, and walked off the stage after speaking to over 100 doctors only to realize that my pants were unzipped. Seriously, am I the only one? I too live an unbalanced life! But I am thankful for it. Are you?
I made the decision to embrace my unbalanced life. Please hear me out. I am not talking about accepting an unhealthy lifestyle because it’s easier to eat fast food than pack my lunch or accepting that I will just be a little smooshy because time doesn’t permit me to visit the gym 5 days a week. I made a conscience choice to evaluate what a balanced life really means and if that was what I really wanted. I discovered these things:
What do you see when you look at a balanced scale? No movement, completely even, and completely static. I know I want movement in my life. I want to learn, challenge the limits, and continue to grow. My husband and I get out of town (just about) every 90 days. You don’t have to go on an extravagant vacation, you just have to experience something new. Science shows that a change of routine and scenery forces our brains to work in ways it doesn’t have to when we’re plodding along day after day in our balanced life. I’ve been coaching clients to take the every 90-day get-a-way challenge for a few years now and am continually receiving texts and emails sharing their adventures, stories of increased creativity, and increased productivity when they return.
Can I balance family and work? Absolutely not! Why? You can’t balance passion. My work is my passion. Working with clients to help them achieve their health and wellness goals is what I was put here to do. My passion burns at my core and no amount of tired, article deadlines, lack of budget, or beat down is going to squash it. I include my family in my passion as much as possible. I share essential oil tips with them, invite them to check out the garden, encourage supplementation and hydration. I love what I do so it never really feels like work.
Can I balance quality time? No matter what your passion or calling is we only have 24 hours in each day. As my business grows I’m reminded that I will always have to give up something in order to gain something else. Especially when it comes to my schedule and responsibilities: business, exercise, errands, husband, children, grandchildren, hobbies, clubs, etc. the list could really keep going. Everything is competing for our most valuable resource—time. There isn’t enough time in the day to give each of these the time it demands or deserves. So I’ve gotten creative in combining activities. I coach clients to ditch the word “exercise”. We call it fun sweaty activity! Get the children (or grandchildren in my situation) outside. Run around at the park, have an Easter egg hunt in July, or design a treasure hunt in the neighborhood; even water gun fights can really get you moving. Definitely incorporate the whole family in meal planning and preparation as well.
What if balance isn’t the answer? If it’s not the answer – what is? For me, it’s harmony. When you have the opportunity to hear me speak in person I’ll share my story about how I came to this line of work. Because of what I’ve experienced I believe life is too precious to not show up as the best version of myself. Life will always have it ups and downs. For me, living in harmony means, you understand there will always be challenges whether at work or at home. The key is to use the tools in your toolbox to communicate effectively, regulate stress responses, practice self-care, and appreciate those around you.
More than 90% of your overall health and wellness is a result of personal choice so it is extremely important to pay attention to what we eat, drink, think, and do. When you’re ready to embrace your unbalanced life and update your toolbox please come to the First State Health & Wellness Integrative Health Center where we are committed to educating, inspiring, and facilitating health and healing through detoxification, nourishment, mindfulness and movement.