In our busy lives, balance is often overlooked. It is not until we start to notice the wear and tear that we know we need to readjust.
Even after years of practice (I prefer that to saying I’m old), balance is hard to maintain. If after all this time I struggle to find equilibrium, how can I ensure my children know the importance of balance? It is imperative that as parents we demonstrate the behaviors we want our children to emulate.
Taking an initial balance inventory may take twenty minutes, but twenty minutes is worth your mental health! When you do your weekly check-in, you will find it takes less time to readjust your life.
To start, brainstorm the areas of life that bring you fulfillment. These might include family, friends, meditation, work and quality time (activities that bring pleasure). Then list how you find enjoyment in each area. Be as specific as possible.
Finally, examine how you would feel if you were lacking balance in these areas. It can be difficult to define what balance looks like, but easy to describe what lack of balance feels like.
If I look at my personal list, I know my family priorities are out of balance if there is more yelling than laughter. Communication is key to a loving home and if the balance is unstable, conversations may cease to exist. If you and your family don’t speak with one another, resentment might grow internally.
Consider having a family meeting once a week to make sure you are on the same page. We have dinner together almost every night, which provides another opportunity for check-ins.
Friendships can be tricky to nurture with busy schedules, but it is crucial to care for these relationships. Take time for your friendships and not only via text messages. A quick phone call or coffee date can really nourish your soul.
I tend to notice this area of my life is lacking if I feel lonely. When this icky feeling creeps in, I know I need to reach out. I have found that lunch dates and Zoom meetings are a must! These short breaks connect me with my friends and help me not feel isolated.
I am fortunate to have a job I love. I work with struggling students in grades 6th and higher and help them become rock star students. I am so blessed that these kiddos let me into their lives and allow me to watch them grow.
However, as much as I love my work, I must be mindful that I don’t let my passion for my job overshadow my family. Every time I consider a new client, I check in with my husband and daughters to see if it will tip the balance. Fortunately, my family is my biggest cheerleader and they are excited to see me happy. Remember your family is only together as one unit for a short time. Do you want to remember the hours at your desk or the football games with your family?
I allow my students to define balance for themselves, and I encourage you to do the same! Use brainstorming to find the areas of your life that give you fulfillment. Find time to laugh, find time to play, find time to enjoy this life.
Sit down with your family and have a conversation about balance. Learn where your balance is off and where you are satisfied. You don’t have to wait until your life feels off center. Communication with your loved ones can remind you how deeply satisfied you are with your life!
All the best,
Ps- If academic stress is throwing your life out of balance, schedule a strategy session!