Balance is defined as 1. an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady 2. a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions. Simple, right? Wrong. Balance is a difficult thing to achieve when we start applying it to life.
I struggle with finding balance all the time. I sometimes feel like a top spinning out of control and at other times I feel almost stagnant like I’m stuck in mud. My balance is a constant work in progress. I need orange road signs alerting those around me that construction is happening and the road may suddenly shift, merge or get rough. This is okay. It’s more than okay, its great because I feel like this means I’m learning and growing. I try to do it in a way that doesn’t cause casualties along the way.
When things get whirling dervish feeling I step back and take a look at everything I have said yes to doing. Are all the things important to me, are they things I can actually pay attention to/have time for? Learning to say no without guilt has been huge for me. When life is crazy and I take stock I often find that I have said yes to way too many things or that as things changed I forgot to weed out some of them. This is a big deal. Learning to say no, without guilt, is huge. Everyone knows the feeling of saying yes to doing something or going somewhere they don’t really want to/have the time for because they feel guilty if they don’t. It can be maddening trying to keep up with everyone. So I stopped. I am learning to say No. Politely, tactfully, maybe in a funny way, but I say no.
I look hard at my calendar before saying yes to extra shifts at work. I do not feel obligated to work more than my normal hours, I will work extra because I want to. I will also not sign up if I do not want to. I do not participate in extra activities around work. I say no because it makes me feel stressed out to say yes. I work so I can live not live so I can work. My life outside of work is evaluated with the same critical eye when scheduling things. I have learned that saying yes to too much is a bad plan. I know myself and have started backing off what I plan. I make sure my plans are set up in a way that accounts for drive time or meals to be eaten.
Being picky about what you are willing to commit your precious little time to is how I feel that we can all find balance. I’ve been surprised over and over again by how well people respond when I say no to things. I do so politely and with tact but am firm in my answer. We get one precious, short ride on this rock and I do not want to waste it being overbooked and stressed out unnecessarily. And truly neither should you.