~by Jenn Bovee~
Since about the early 1990’s I have been infatuated with the concept of balance. Sometimes it feels as mystical as a unicorn. You know, the very minute you think you have grasped it, POOF, you are overwhelmed and overcommitted to things again! The experience I have just described is only magnified when you throw in parenting and working and other obligations. It is also my belief that women struggle significantly more with achieving and maintaining balance than men do as a whole.
My experience in working with people over the last twenty years, is that there is no one right way for everyone to achieve balance. As such, I am a firm believer that each individual has to find a philosophy and formula that works perfectly for them. We are all different, so I will give basic suggestions for how to achieve and maintain balance. However, please feel free to personalize these in ways that work best for you.
1. Outsourcing: I’m a big fan of outsourcing things that I either haven’t made time for, or that bring tons of stress with it. The two things I outsource in my life are my QuickBooks (because I’m NOT an accountant) and housekeeping. I literally pay someone to come in and clean my house. Not because I don’t want to clean it or can’t clean it, but because my time is better served working with my clients versus cleaning my house.
2. Grouping: I love this concept. The way it works for me is I don’t go to the bank or the post office with just one thing. I wait until I have several things to take, and then I make a trip. I was once giving a talk on achieving balance and a woman shared that she sets things on her stairs to conserve her energy. Then, when she’s making a trip upstairs, she takes it all with her. I do this in so many different areas of my life, and it’s been a huge time saver.
3. Use a Schedule: I have a great brain which supports me in so many ways. However, if I don’t write things down on my calendar it will absolutely get missed. I even use alarms to remind me to call in refills for pharmacy stuff. Whether you prefer paper calendars or electronic calendars, the result is still the same. Put everything you need to do down in writing so that you can look at it objectively.
4. Say No: I realized many years ago that I wasn’t serving anyone else well by attempting to be all things to all people. The result was that I got burned out and felt unappreciated. It’s okay to say no. Currently, my practice is if it’s something I won’t enjoy or don’t have time for, I say no. Saying no is very healthy for us and establishes that we have boundaries.
5. Be Realistic: It is neither healthy nor realistic to expect ourselves to be committed to activities 20 hours a day. It’s essential that my expectations of myself are as realistic as my expectations of other people. If I wouldn’t expect another person to be able to accomplish this, I can’t expect that of myself. I am so realistic in my scheduling of things currently that I schedule clients during my ideal functioning times.
6. Ditch the “Shoulds”: In my experience, “should” is a very shame based concept. It implies that whatever you did somehow just wasn’t good enough. I think the best antidote to this is acceptance. Acceptance of the fact that through each and every situation, you have done the best you could. None of us are perfect, and therefore we need to create an atmosphere in which we are much more kind and gentle towards ourselves.
7. Make Sure to Have Fun: When’s the last time you really laughed? Like, from-the-belly laughed. It’s such a healing experience to laugh. I have literally watched people who were carrying with them a significant amount of stress, allow that stress to melt away by laughing. Laughing allows us to temporarily disconnect from the stress and strain of life and just let it all go.
8. Drop the Guilt: Women, specifically, struggle with unrealistic expectations of themselves in combination with superwoman syndrome. We believe that we should be all things to all people at all times. And if we can’t be all things to all people at all times, we instantaneously feel massive amounts of guilt. My recommendation is for you to ask yourself, “How is this guilt serving me?” If the answer to this question is not positive and amazing, I encourage you to release the guilt.
9. Disconnect Often: I’m a huge proponent of down time! I have begun scheduling one weekend a month to simply have downtime. No appointments, no obligations, no expectations, and I nurture myself during these weekends. Here’s the deal though: it doesn’t need to be an entire weekend. Many years ago I had a very wise woman tell me that I needed to take one night per week just to myself. And during that one night I was not allowed to clean, pay bills or do any other obligatory activity. It was time to feed my soul.
I am committed to empowering other people to achieve balance. I would love to hear from you about how you maintain balance.
Jenn Bovee is a Psychotherapist and Intuitive Life Coach. She has specific training in both subconscious and conscious mind tools. Jenn helps people all over the world step out of their fear and doubt and into their power and knowing.