How do you define balance? And that phrase: work-life balance, what the hell does it mean? How do you achieve something so hard to grasp in the first place?
For a long time I believed I am a balanced person. After all, I am a Libra and represented by the scales, I fight for fairness, equality and peace. I yearn for equilibrium and feel awkward in uneven situations. I have a strong repulsion against anything does not feel right, and anything that means others might be treated unfairly. I used to hate winning or being chosen for things, if there was even the slightest chance that my success might be mistaken for favouritism of any sort.
I do not like it when people are unhappy with me and I am a great believer in reaching conclusions. My man will testify to this, as I will strongly react when our conversation has not come to a settled end. I yearn for things to be settled and calm, therefore the sense of balance has always been a tempting state of being.
On the other hand (see I always need to present both sides of the argument!), the longer I live and breathe, the more convinced I am that balance is much more complicated than I originally anticipated. It is a tricky concept that is overused in many cases and I am honestly not sure whether it is useful anymore. I even wonder whether it actually causes harm in some cases.
To live a balanced life we often think we need to be able to have it all. Be happy at work and have time to see your friends. Focus on your relationship and be able to take good care of your health. Have a good social life and build that business you’ve dreaming about. Be a good friend and immerse yourself in your art project. See where I am going with this?
Which is the reason why we often just want to press the pause button, to give us a chance to breathe, regroup and make sense of what the crap is going on! Because the reality is how can you expect to be fully available for all these aspects of your life? Especially if one area is demanding your attention it is inevitable that your focus will shift from something else. And it really should. The trouble begins when we try to be everything to everyone. When we expect that balance means all of these things need to be equal. They don’t.
I believe that balance is more subtle than that and it cannot be quantified in terms of the time you spend in each thing. Striving for balance in that way can burn us out, much more than working hard does. It’s bad enough we run around like headless chickens trying to do everything, we also feel guilty because we didn’t have time to send that birthday card and make a nice dinner. We bring in unrealistic demands which we can’t meet, or if we do, it is never enough.
Being balanced for me is allowing your priorities to shift as you adjust your focus. Choosing what is important in this period in your life and allowing other parts to become secondary. The thing is, when our focus is fully on something whether it’s responding to an email, having tea with a friend or preparing for a work presentation, we are much more productive and efficient than when we make poor, half hearted attempts at multi-tasking. Multi-tasking is definitely overrated in my humble view. And in a world where you check your emails, while ordering your take away coffee while chatting to your friend over your ipad screen, finding the patience to work on one thing and one thing only can feel like a waste of time. But time and time again I have missed responding to an important email because I checked it on my phone at a time when I knew I couldn’t draft a reply. So the email gets swallowed in the vortex of other messages that follow and does not even register in my mind as something I need to do.
I say screw multi-tasking, drop the expectation of balance, and shift your priorities around. I started 2015 with a million projects in mind and while that’s really exciting, I’ve realised that it is simply not sustainable. I over committed out of zeal and because I will not let myself disappoint others, I deliver at the expense of my health and wellbeing.
Ironic how my life’s work is helping people take better care of themselves, right? But you know, life is full of peaks and troughs and everything that happens is an opportunity for us to learn and evolve. The trick is to identify what the Universe is trying to bring to your attention. And if you keep being faced with the same problem, the same old pattern, maybe you have not learnt your lesson. Take a step back – what is it you need to take away from this?
So this explains why things have been a bit quieter than usual on the blog front. I pulled a tiny bit back to immerse myself in other time-specific projects and work that will soon come your way as well. Over the next year or so, I’ll be revealing more, but for now trust me when I say that my inner creative beast has been fuelled and awakened in the most exciting way!
In the meantime, this is where you’ll find me ::
// Mini Bliss Retreats – My little baby and an ongoing opportunity to work with me in person! If you are a Londoner (or are willing to travel), I have 2 spots left on the next one taking place on Sunday 8th February. Check the details here.
Do you know the sure way to make yourself practise yoga? Unroll your mat, take your socks off and step on it. I’m serious. Or book a workshop and pay for it (you’re less likely to not show up). Call your friend and ask her to join you in class. Try a new studio. Don’t think about it. If you give your mind the space to reconsider, you will be faced with an internal battle, which for me is usually too hard to fight…
// Guest post: Yoga + Sleep – Do you struggle with your sleep routine? Are you exhausted yet too wired to fall asleep at night? I was invited by the wonderful nutritional therapist and naturopath Ruth Quick to share some yogic tips to help with insomnia:
Psychologically, yoga teaches us to find the balance between effort and ease, learning to let go of attachment to a specific goal. We all know that obsessing over our sleeplessness, leads only to less sleep, so yoga can indirectly help us to develop acceptance and surrender. This does not mean accepting defeat; quite the opposite. Acceptance promotes a softness, a sense of self love that helps to let go of repetitive, unhelpful patterns of thinking and worrying which often lead to nothing….
// Teaching, practicing, chakra cleansing, working, having coffee and redefining my idea of balance…
++ Now over to you. How do you define balance? What challenges you when you try to keep the scales even? Leave me a comment below and share your best tip in finding balance.
Much love xx
Image credit: Unsplash