Me: It’s going…with or without me *sigh*
When the above exchange becomes my mantra, I know change is necessary. Usually, this is my minds signal that I am overwhelmed, overworked, and under-stimulated by things or people that give me life.
The following 7 reminders help me to find balance between my energy and my circumstances.
1. Set your intention for the day: Whether or not we are aware of it, every action we perform is directed by an intention, a principle or value statement that guides our actions. When I mindfully set my daily intentions, I have a guiding principle that I can recall when stressed, confused or afraid. If I have an important meeting planned, I can set the intention to engage people and situations from a place of calmness and curiosity. Before committing to a decision, commenting, or setting a goal, I can ask myself if the decision, comment or goal aligns with my intention. Without conscious intentions, we run the risk of feeling pulled in many directions; being guided by our fears or stressors; or feeling like our mind and body are not aligned with our spirit.
Ask: What value(s) or principle(s) will guide my actions for today?
2. Rethink balance. Balance is defined as the even distribution of an objects weight over an area. However, life is not a motionless area; it is an active process. Attempts to “evenly distribute” our personal energy across all areas of life will likely fail. Some days our children require an abundance of energy, while other days our work needs more attention. I view balance as our ability to adjust to circumstances by making intentional choices that reflect our priorities and values. In other words, when stressed, we achieve balance by choosing to respond to circumstances in ways that re-align us with our intentions for that day.
Ask: What is my intention for today and what choice can I make in this moment to re-align with that intention?
3. Check your health trinity: Three signs my life WILL be off balance no matter what I do:
1) 5 hours of sleep is a good night.
2) I change my car oil more often than I exercise.
3) Australian cherry licorice becomes my daily source of fruit.
We can feel energetically drained for many reasons, but we should first check our health trinity: Sleep-Good Diet-Exercise. When one or more of these are missing, our entire system can remain off balance regardless of the attention we pay to other areas.
Ask: Do I feel physically alert? If not, check the wholeness of your health trinity. Start to notice bodily signals and circumstances that inform you when your health trinity is off balance?
4. List your life-givers: You cannot give what you do not have. There are times when I expend more energy than I replace and ultimately feel drained. Making time for activities and people that rejuvenate us is important.
Ask: What activities or people cause me to lose all sense of time and leave me feeling energized? Make time for the hobbies and people that GIVE you life!
5. Challenge requirements: Let me set the scene—I sit to write a blog entry and think:
Oh wait, let me just take a minute to send that email…call that person…make that list…set that appointment…
By the end of that “minute” its 2 hours later and I have yet to return to my blog. Sometimes we believe a task MUST be done in THAT moment. The truth is often that we simply WANT to complete the task to eliminate the anxiety it creates within us.
Ask: Is this sense of urgency real or can this wait? If it can wait, write it down and go back to the task at hand.
6. “Yes” to one means “no” to another: At times I develop the delusion that when I agree to complete a worthy task, the universe will reward me with extra hours in my day to replace those spent being helpful. The truth is, we're all given the same 24 hours each day and when we give time to one task, we take away from something else.
If you take on a new task, instead of trying to complete everything (and only halfway completing anything), be intentional about what area will not receive your energy or focus that day.
Ask: Do I want to do this? Do I feel obligated or pressured to do this? If you want to complete the task, refer to question #2. If not, ask: What choices can I make in this moment to remain balanced? Should I set a boundary?
7. Celebrate the victories: When stressed, we, as humans are wired to recall negative experiences much faster and in greater detail than the positive ones. As a result, we must make conscious efforts to make our positive experiences memorable so we can recall them when we feel disappointed or discouraged.
Sometimes I’ll complete a huge task, breathe a sigh of relief and quickly move onto the next task. After completing a small task, do a silly victory dance or tell everyone how awesome you are. This will make your positive experience memorable.
If you try a task, but do not accomplish the desired result, instead of beating yourself up (which only adds to your vivid negative memories), reflect on what you learned and move on (maybe do a, “that’s okay, I’m awesome anyway!” dance).
Ask: What can I dance about today?
What reminders help you to stay balanced? I’d love to hear! Please share below.
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