The Illusion of Balance

The Illusion of Balance

When did we all start to buy into the belief that balance means doing everything, all the time, perfectly and with equal attention? When did balance become code for “having it all?  A new collective belief that you can be a career woman, family man, best partner all while never messing up and being perfectly attentive to all the details.

Why? Do we do this to ourselves? This is not balance. Or maybe it is balance but it is not an achievable real life balance. I am a fan of Christy Wright’s definition of balance. She says “Life balance isn’t about doing everything for an equal amount of time. It’s about doing the right things at the right time.” (Christy Wright) So how do what is an achievable balance and how do we get there?

Not all parts are made equal:

Know that you will not and can not give your attention equally to everything-at the same time. This. is. Ok. This is normal. We are not wired as humans to perfectly learn and performance one task, we are hard wired to have many tasks which further pushes this idea that we can do it all at the same time. The truth is the more we try to multi-task the less efficient we will be, the more mistakes will make and important details we will miss. This is all ok. Congrats on being human. Want to know more- watch this short video from the School of Life.

Make a schedule:

Look at the very least spend 3 minutes and write out a list of all the things making you feel out of balance. When you look at that list ask yourself if there is room for your own needs on that list. Sometimes we get so busy trying to achieve balance that we are missing our own life.  It happens. You are not alone and you have the power to make a change.

Learn your Essentials:

What needs to be done for you to feel your best? What are your needs that need addressing? I am not talking about wants. When life is busy, when you have a newborn or when you are struggling with a mental illness we can often focus on our wants and neglect our needs. You may want to complete 8 tasks including making the most perfect Pinterest birthday cake, organize your clothes by color or complete an OrangeTheory class. And yet when you zoom out you may really need to simply find the time to take a shower, talk to another adult, eat a home cooked meal or spend 10 uninterrupted minutes with your family.

Balance will look different to everyone. It will also change day by day, month by month and season by season. Start by learning your essentials and then have some fun by learning what makes you feel soul full.  Play around with different needs and once you have those down, work to add back in some wants. Your perfect balance is whatever you create. It will never be 100% equal but it can be 100% you.

Be. Nourished

Be. Nourished

Recently I joined Annie Wagoner of CORE NOURISHMENT on her podcast. Where we talk about my passion for health, supporting others, my recent partnering with Relief Parenting, running, and the pivotal experience I had training for and running the Rut, a 50k mountain race in Montana. We also dive into some of my personal truths and some truths that we all hold. I talk about the clients I typically work with and give some reminders that we can often forget. Tune in to this special edition of the Be. Blog.

Mental Health Awareness Month

May is here! Spring is starting to show its bloom here in New England. Amidst the raindrops there is the sparkle of flowers, the bees are buzzing around and the hope of sunshine. May brings us hope.  May also brings us #Mentalhealthawareness Month. For the past 70 years Mental Health America (MHA) has used the month of May to help combat stigma around mental health.  This year they are shedding some much need light on how taking care of our mental health can directly impact our physical health.  #4mind4body

Mental Health Awareness is important because we all have mental health. EVERYONE. The person you follow on instagram with the perfectly organized kitchen cabinet, the women in your AM workout class, the clerk at the store, the man on the street, the woman asking for change to feed her children. Everyone.

You do not get to opt out of mental health. You may naturally take care of your needs and you may spend 99% of your time in a state of mental wellness and you still have mental health.

Some people struggle with staying mentally well and some people think they are mentally unwell because they have never felt a certain feeling before or the stage of life they are going through is hardly ever talked about in an open and supportive way. The line can be thin.

Everyday what you do or do not do affects your mental health. Slowing down to enjoy a cup of tea vs eating while standing and packing lunches is going to create two different outcomes on your mental health. Neither outcome may be “good” or “bad”, it is the outcome that  matters. Your mental health will change with you as you grow.

Your mental health isn’t going anywhere. You know that saying “wherever you go there you are”? That is your mental health my friend. Always there, even when we do not realize it. So this May choose to speak up. Say that thing you just can’t seem to shake. I bet you find out you are not so alone in your thoughts. OR maybe your friends and family will be thankful that you spoke first. Be the first. Talk to a friend. Outreach a therapist. Make friends with your mental health. Find the hope in May.

The Zig-Zag Dance

Repotting plants has always given me small bursts of anxiety. The idea of taking a plant out of its home and giving it a new home makes me worried. I do all the things the books say I should do: I trust the plant will take care of itself. I mentally give the plant sometime to adjust and I do my best to encourage the plant to let it know that there is more room. I want the plant to take up more space and yet I worry.

This worry keeps me from repotting my plants when they are ready to change pots. The worry turns into zig-zagging. I zig over here and clean the oven. I zag over here and reorganize tupperware. When really my attention should be on this plant that is ready for the next step.  Zig, zig, zag, zag… sometimes I do this for weeks. Ignoring what I already know to be true, letting the plant sit there...waiting for me to be honest with myself.

I zig and zag because repotting plants is messy. No matter how hard I try the dirt goes places I didn’t expect. Even when I gear up and put on gloves I am left with tiny dirt specks under my nails and on my arms. Dirt scars. Change scars.

Sometimes in the middle of changing pots, I get the roots of the plants so twisted that I fear I took away the plants survival plan. Plants need to be rooted and then that fear comes back; I think “why did I even start this process”.  

When I allow myself to take action the whole repotting process only takes a matter of minutes. Even though while I am doing the actions it feels like years. And then as I clean up and look at the happy plant in its new home. I think “why didn’t I start this sooner- that was easy”.

More often than not the fear of change is bigger and scarier than the actual process of changing.  Anticipatory anxiety occurs when we are worried about a future event. This worry and fear can feel so intense that we become paralyzed and become stuck in inaction. So instead we zig, we zag and we go weeks without repotting our plants. We do not look at our own truth. We ignore that small but might call to “do the thing”, make the change, or just be honest with what we already know to be true. When we start to trust our own repotting process the anxiety will start to go away. When we allow change to take the time it will take, the moments will fly by even when the change has taken years. Small actionable steps will take you to from here to there. No zig zag dance required.