If you read this headline and got very excited, well, I’m sorry to disappoint. Before you keep reading looking for the solve, know that there is no miracle solution to finding balance. “Work-life balance” is a myth. You just have one life. Work is a part of that life. It reminds me of what they used to say about working mothers– “she wants to have it all!” well the reality is you can’t have it ALL. Something will always feel like it is out of whack in some capacity. But what you can do is find routine and ritual to keep what matters most to you moving.
I decided to write this post because one of the most put together people I know was one of the people requesting it. If I couldn’t ask her to be a guest blogger on this topic, I was fairly certain there isn’t a clear answer.
This is coming from someone who searched for the answer for years! I remember my first real job out of college. I was working super late every night and really it was my first time really living on my own. I always felt too tired for the gym or to cook when I got home. I ordered takeout nonstop. I craved balance so badly. I kept saying there had to be another way. Well I can tell you, that led me to quit said job and move to another continent for a year in search of a better way of life. And I can say I learned a lot in that one year from the way that the Aussies live their lives in work and play. But moving to another continent is not really an option for most people, nor is it desired! The real question is how to make the life you have right now feel more ideal.
Here are my 3 steps to help you reclaim “balance” in your life.
1) Determine what feels off to you
If you are searching for balance that implies that something is imbalanced. Do you just feel like you are struggling to reach your goals? Do you feel exhausted with your current lifestyle? There is a tool I use with my one-on-one coaching clients called the Circle of Life. It helps you identify where you feel off in your current day-to-day life. What’s amazing is that it can change entirely from one week to the next. But it’s a great place to start if you are struggling to identify what feels off in your day to day. I’ve included it here for you, just because! Note: it includes a variety of facets to life. Those may be applicable to what comprises your circle, or you may need to make an adjustment to fit your life! Ask yourself, “what does balance mean to you?”
Do the exercise and see where your gaps come up for you right now!
2) Set a goal (or not)
Once you are clear on what is off, you can move forward deciding with what is most important that you would like to change. If goals are your thing, you could make yourself a goal to help correct the imbalance. Sometimes I feel like setting goals for everything takes away their power, so I would most likely give myself some weekly objectives (in my world they are different!) I would like to aim for.
An example of my weekly objectives: exercise 4x/week and meditating daily. I have check boxes in my planner for them both. I don’t always hit them, but that is okay too!
If it is something you really care about, you need to make it a priority. If you don’t really want to make it a priority, think about why that is. Maybe it’s that you feel like you should do something, but in your heart, you just don’t care. THAT IS 100% OKAY! But don’t beat yourself up about not working out everyday if it’s not something that you really don’t have any interest in prioritizing.
3) Be Prepared
Now that we are clear on where our imbalance lies, and what we would like to change, now it’s time to make sure it happens. If you have a typical 9-5 the weekend is a great way to get on top of it. Carve out time for yourself during the weekend or whenever your off days are. It’s easy to load up on social events, but make sure you have time for a bit of productivity. I have one friend who says “Sunday’s are sacred”– and it’s become my favorite phrase! For many people it’s meal planning and doing cooking for the week on Sundays. For others it’s plotting out and signing up for their work out classes for the week. Make that time a part of your ritual and then the Sunday scaries become empowering!
I’ll be honest with you, this step is my weakness. Because I work for myself, I’ve just gotten good at doing things that matter on the fly, and that works for me. I wouldn’t aim for that, but know that success looks different to everyone.
As I am all about the healthy eats, I will tell you the number one way to ensure success is to prepare in advance. The Shed nutrition plans have meal plans built in for 8 weeks. If you use one weekend day to really make meals in advance and portion things out for the week, you will be on the right track from the very beginning of the week! It’s all about making that a priority, if that is what matters to you!
Allowing for grace
For me, living intuitively within my body is the goal. I listen to my body and give it room to process. This goes for eating (I eat mindfully, and try to listen to the cues my body gives me) and exercise (if I’ve worked out 3 days in a row, and my muscles are telling me they need a break, I give them a break!). But it also is a part of the bigger picture in my life. Sometimes life is going to be madness, and you need to step it up to make everything come together. But then, you need to allow for time to recoup. We live in a world where productivity is the metric of living a successful life. We’ve been trained to think that way, but really, there is more to life than checking off every item on your to do list. If you don’t make it to the grocery store because you are spending time with people you care about and having meaningful connections with them, then you know what, I would consider that more productive than meal prepping for the week! It all comes down to what really matters to you. And depending on your phase of life this can fluctuate.
Why I love working with brides is because they have a definitive time frame to when they would like to reach their goals. They are highly motivated in the moment that they find me! That being said a bride’s goals and mindset is not the same as a new mother’s, etc. Each phase of life you are in, a new balance becomes clear. Allow yourself to be comfortable in the place that you are in right now!
There isn’t a one size fits all answer
Every individual has their own, unique set of challenges. This is why I have a coaching business and not just online programs that run without me. Because at the end of the day, finding that balance in our day to day lives is hard! Sometimes you need someone there to help you deal with your particular set of circumstances (the Shed platinum program is the best for this!). Following a program works for some people, but other people have more challenges that they need to overcome in order to reach their goals. Your experience is unique to you, and your job is to find what a balanced healthy lifestyle means in the context of your life!
So what does living a balanced life mean to you? Where do you prioritize your time? I want to hear! Leave me a note below or on Insta/FB. -AHS