We live in a very active and fast passed society. Many people are constantly interacting with some form of technology, and the lists of different forms are endless. How many of us know teenagers who can no longer entertain themselves without some type of electronic influence? If you don’t believe me, stand in the middle of the mall sometime. You are sure to see a handful of kids with ear buds in. And while we condemn the adolescents and children of today, are we as adults much better? It seems to me as if we are so busy doing, that many of us have forgotten how to be. Many of the adults I know are currently working at least two jobs. I work at least two jobs, I know my sister works at least three (more than likely much more). My husband works two jobs. Even my bonus daughter works and goes to school. I think these are assets. I suspect that this is part of what propels us forward. It’s empowering to be able to financially provide for yourself and those you love.
I suspect, however, that this comes at a cost. It’s not possible to be 100% productive without it depleting other areas of your life. When I became a parent a few years ago, my priorities suddenly changed. Perhaps, for the first time in my life I realized that I needed to be the number one priority in my own life. I’m sure this sounds backwards to some of you. At a time when I suddenly had a husband and children then I decide to make myself number 1? That’s correct! Because, possibly for the first time in my life, I realized that other people needed me. And I desired to be a good example to and for them.
I enjoy being a therapist and I believe that I am a phenomenal therapist! However, if all I do is work then not only do I suffer but my clients suffer as well. A while ago, I was meeting with a business advisor who suggested I not plan on working 12 hour days 6 days a week. He talked to me about burn out. Truer words have rarely been spoken.
I strive for balance in every area of my life. Because I’m human and breathing, I require down time. I will no longer apologize for that. I refuse to spend 168 hours a week cleaning the house. I am okay with things being out of place today. I will not spend 168 hours a week with my teens. They need down time as much as I do. I will not spend 168 hours a week working (this includes thinking about work, planning for work, attracting more work, designing and developing work). It’s not that I’m not capable of devoting all of this time and energy into these things, it’s that I deserve to have balance in my life.
I would like to break it down for you a different way for a moment. Let’s pretend that the chemicals in your body are no longer in balance, how long do you think it will be before you are sick? Another way of looking at it is your vehicle. If we only put gas in it and deplete it of break fluid what are the likely results of that?
We are bombarded for a minimum of fourteen hours a day with things competing for our attention. How many of us reading this, have ever struggled with not feeling good enough, productive enough, smart enough, rich enough, etc? At the end of the day that is just a comparison game. One in which you lose, simply by engaging in it.
In closing, I would like to give you 7 ways to find your balance. It’s essential to keep in mind that everyone’s balance is different. What works for me, may not work for you. What works for my husband, may not work for me. And that is a beautiful thing. It’s the beauty of humanity: we are all different and unique.
7 Ways to find your balance:
- Hand write out your priorities: This is a particularly powerful one for me. When I take the time to write things out I can see them more clearly. The idea of having an immaculate house is important to me. The reality of it occurring (with a husband, two teens, and five pets) is not something I’m willing to invest in currently.
- Detox from the connectedness of society: We all want to be available to our clients, friends, family, neighbors, etc as much as humanly possible. But at some point if you are always “on” it becomes toxic. I suggest that you start with taking an afternoon or evening and unplug from technology. Read a book, play a board game, color in a coloring book, spend time in nature.
- Laugh: One of the ways to heal your adrenals (a condition caused by too much stress) is to laugh…a lot! Watch silly movies. Scroll you tube for cat or dog videos. What ever you can do to increase the amount of laughter you experience, the better.
- Set Goals: Are your goals realistic? Are they achievable? Are they in writing? One of the methods of goal setting that I value is: SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time bound. I typically set goals in the form of: 24 hours, 1 week, 4 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and a year.
- Ask for help: Or otherwise known as delegate. This is one that I personally struggled with for a long time. I mistakenly thought that it made me weak if I couldn’t do everything by myself. I strive and desire to be a kind, generous and loving person. I could not see how I was robbing others of an opportunity to help and support me.
- Creativity: Whatever that looks like or is for you. One of the things that I enjoy and value doing when I need to reset things, is to spend time painting pottery. I’m no expert painter, and frankly most of my projects are less than stellar. But I enjoy it. I’m able to make decisions doing it. I’m able to disconnect from constantly being focused on someone or something else while I’m doing it. I typically recommend people find something that works for them. The key here is to do something, anything.
- Evaluation: I value the objective inventory that I take of myself on a regular basis. It allows me to find my strengths, challenges, and things I could have done differently. When a business takes an inventory they don’t beat themselves up for running out of something. They just note it, and replace it. That’s my goal in performing an evaluation of my life: to notice what’s going well and what I could do differently.
Jennifer Bovee is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specializes in the subconscious mind. Jenn is located in Bloomington, IL. You may contact her by emailing Jenn@Inspiringenterprisesllc.com
Jennifer Bovee is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Bloomington, IL. She operates out of Inspiring Enterprises LLC. You can contact her at Jenn@Inspiringenterprisesllc.com