Lately I’ve seen a lot of articles saying it’s a total myth to try to achieve life balance.  Hearing that feels a little defeating in my opinion.  And while the pace of our lives and what we commit to seems outrageous and impossible most of the time, there are things I believe that can make it feel better.

  1. Say NO!
    I often hear clients complain about how incredibly difficult it is for them to say no to people.  That they fear they’ll create a sense of disappointment in others or that other people will see them as unreliable or disengaged.  But the problem with this is, we then move into so much self-sacrifice, it starts to become a real problem at our own expense.  We can even fall into a dangerous trap of then resenting the person we’re trying to help or say yes to!  Or we become so motivated by guilt, we’re not really enjoying what we’ve committed to doing!  I advise people to learn to insert a “maybe” or a pause.  Say “let me check my calendar” or “that sounds like fun / I really would like to help you, but let me make sure I can commit before I say yes now.”  That gives you a chance to really assess if this is a true yes or a no this time and buys you some time to think before you respond.  When we slow down our impulsivity, we have an opportunity for real consideration and our answer may still be yes, but we’ve carefully considered the pros and cons and weighed our options before responding.
  2. Be in the MOMENT!
    Even when our plates are beyond full and we realize we’ve taken on too much for the week, we need to try to bring in experiences of being present and in front of what we’re in front of.  If we can bring our attention, mindfully to the now, we will feel a greater sense of satisfaction even when we’re super busy!  Our minds won’t be chronically rushing ahead to “what’s next, what’s next!”  Instead, we will allow ourselves to take in the experience that is in front of us in the now.  It’s an interesting trick to the brain.  The time, for example, to eat your meal will maybe take the same amount of minutes, but you’re present to the experience of the meal instead of mindlessly eating while thinking about what you’re doing after you’re done.  Another brain trick here is to tell yourself “there is enough time.”  I try to always say that when I feel rushed and I find that it immediately brings a sense of slowing down and calming down too!
  3. Permission GRANTED!
    We need to give ourselves permission to not do it all!  We need to let go of our own high bar and unrealistic expectations and learn to make simple decisions that help streamline our long, busy days and weeks.  We also need to let go of the guilt!  I often tell clients, when you know you’re coming up to a week that feels completely out of balance or over-extended, make all the easiest choices!  Let the laundry go, give yourself permission to make simple decisions around meal planning, cancel all unnecessary appointments and streamline your priorities.  Crazy busy times call for increasing our compassion and giving ourselves permission to let go of the expectation that we can do it all is a great place to start!

While it may be difficult to establish perfect life balance at all times, there are things we can do to make sure all the pieces don’t crumble and fall apart!  Saying no immediately takes an obligation or engagement of time off your list and restores a sense of balance instantaneously.  Mindfulness strategies of trying to be in front of what’s in front of you bring a sense of satisfaction and joy to the present moment even when we are busy or overcommitted.  Lastly, giving ourselves permission to not do it all creates a sense of freedom and self-compassion that we could all benefit from having more of!