In my mind’s eye I picture a scale where the heavy side is about to tip the entire apparatus over. On one side there is so little, and on the other side it is loaded with clutter. Sometimes, this scale represents the worrisome thoughts that overload and throw off any peace I may have had. This usually ends in a night of insomnia. Other times, it’s a heavy load of creative ideas that just won’t stop coming. This is my writer’s flaw – thinking and re-thinking story lines. At any rate trying to find balance can be quite difficult. My mental scale is always swinging and seldom fully balanced.
I would love to say I have found the key to finding balance, but that is so far from the truth, that I can’t even attempt a fictitious version of that story. The best I can do is talk about recognizing when it’s time to take something off the scale. For me that looks like full conversations with myself better known as introspection. “What’s going on with you, Pat? Are you stressed? Do you have too many projects going on at once? Are you working on fumes due to lack of sleep? Are you carrying someone else’s burdens? Have you taken the time to prioritize things – first things first? Do you need some help? Have you asked for help? What’s the real deal?” These questions usually slow me down enough to consider why my world is out of balance.
One of the most common things that weighs me down is saying yes to too many things. Too many good things are just as harmful as too many bad things. Before you know it, you have agreed to do more than you have the time to do or more than you want to make the time to do. Whether work or volunteerism, the tendency to overcommit can definitely throw your mental and emotional scales out of balance. Getting to the root reason of why we can’t say no is a critical one. Relationships that can’t handle an occasional no may be relationships that need to be reconsidered. Yet, it is up to us to prioritize our activities and our relationships. Date books are very old school, but I find I do a much better job of balancing my life and my time by keeping a calendar in front of me. Before I give answers about my availability, I literally check my availability. Whether it’s your smart phone calendar, a day planner, or sticky notes on the window, it’s important to plan and schedule your commitments realistically.
Have you ever overscheduled yourself? I have, too many times. Recently, I agreed to pick up my granddaughter from college for her spring break, signed up to attend a writer’s conference, and committed to fill in for a teacher friend all on the same dates. All of these things are important to me. They all need to be done. Yet, it is impossible for me to be in Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina at the same time. As I was saying yes to my teacher friend, I had this nagging feeling that the dates were an issue, but instead of looking at my calendar I agreed to do it. Now I have a dilemma. The writer’s conference is definitely out. Perhaps I can get someone else in the family to pick up my granddaughter, but asking someone to drive to Tennessee is not a small thing. Perhaps I can find someone to work in my place for my teacher friend. I haven’t worked any of this out yet. On top of being over committed, I feel bad because I’ve got to let someone down. The scales are leaning.
Yesterday, I had the thought: I don’t want to be needed anymore. That is evidence that I need to find that balance that keeps me mentally and emotionally stable. Balance includes work, leisure, rest, relationships, personal discipline (This will link you to my blog entitled: A Disciplined Life), quiet time, and personal getaways. I love those signs that say: “Live, Laugh, and Love.” True balance has to have those elements as well. Finding balance isn’t a one-time event. It is a practice in daily living. So don’t beat yourself up, just find a strategy that works for you. Whether you use a day planner or introspection, therapy or a life coach, you can change the weight of your scales.
Say yes when it’s right for you. Say no when it’s best for you. Make the rest of your life, the best of your life. Manage your scales in a way that brings you peace, joy, and fulfillment.
What if you could choose how you want to feel as opposed to simply reacting to the reality that surrounds you? Amazon