I was so happy when I saw that lots of you from our survey are still into our Blogging column! I know lots of you lovelies perhaps aren’t bloggers, but so much of what we do can apply to lots of different disciplines and careers, or even lifestyles. Today, for example, I’d love to talk about finding balance — especially in a creative field or a field where you work from home, are your own boss, or anything similar. Quite a few readers responded to our survey wanting to talk more about this exact thing, and boy do I know we could all use it.
The thing is, I’m not sure it’s a topic that I consider myself an expert at, or one for which there are specific answers or formulas. But I do know that for a few years now I’ve been able to balance running a business, keeping a household, and now raising a baby who’s more or less normal. 😉 It’s so easy to just work every day away when you’re trying to build a business, and it’s scary to ever let up — there’s a fear that as soon as you stop working something or someone is going to pass you by. You can see right here that I don’t always feel like I have it under control, but there are a few ground rules that Ryan and I have laid out that truly help us feel happier, calmer, and more balanced when we stick to them.
Turn It Off Everyone says it, but it’s so much harder to put into practice. But you have to have some downtime. Some time where you’re not working, or thinking about work. I used to get so much more done when I would work from the time that I got up until 10 or 11 at night when I went to bed. But my brain was fried and I would burn out. I think we have Henry to thank — now, as soon as it’s dinnertime, our work day is done. We eat together and then we play. And after Hank goes to bed we’re usually so beat we couldn’t work if we tried, but maybe that’s a good thing.
I think the “Turn It Off” principle works double duty for bloggers or people who work in the social media world, in that sometimes I think it’s a good thing to just disconnect. Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest — these are all powerful tools and fun communities where we participate, but maybe there are some things that just don’t need to be shared. When we’re having family time or traveling especially, we make a point to share a few things, take the photos that we want to get, and then put phones and social media away and just be.
Do Other Things This is another one that I think can apply to anybody! So many of us eat, breathe, sleep our jobs. Maybe because we love them, maybe because they’re all-encompassing. But there has to be something else. Something that’s not related to work, so that when you sit down to talk with someone you have things to talk about! Something to stimulate your brain and wake you up in a different way. Something that you also love or enjoy, that adds value to your life. Some of our “other things” are visiting with friends, traveling, working on our house. It can be anything. But find yourself something. It’s worth it.
Be Fully Present Here’s the one that I struggle with. I think moms especially are always pulled in so many different directions it’s particularly hard to be all there in any one place. But it’s crucial for me. Just this morning I told Ryan, “Okay, I’m locking myself in the studio to paint.” And I literally did. I had to close the door and when Hank came knocking for me I had to trust that Ryan would get him and entertain him. And vice-versa, when I’m with family sometimes I have to force myself to ignore my buzzing phone, knowing full well that there’s an email coming through that needs answering. But being fully present in whatever you’re doing, for me at least, is calming after a while. It’s a nice reminder that the world will still turn even if you’re not the one trying to turn it.
Love What You Do This one goes a bit deeper, but it’s the foundation of everything isn’t it? Start with the basics. If you’re doing something that you love, you will be able to find balance between it and your life because it’ll just… fit in. It’ll feel right. I started my adult life in a career that in theory I loved and on paper looked like it was a perfect fit, but I could never get comfortable and finally I realized I was just barking up the wrong tree. And perhaps I’ll end up back there someday, but right then I just couldn’t find a balance; looking back I know now it just wasn’t where I was supposed to be. So not to suggest uprooting your entire life or anything, but a good gut check-in is sometimes in order if you’re feeling like things just won’t settle down.
So what about you? Is finding balance something that you struggle with too? How do you combat it? I’d love to know what you’d add to our list. Oh! Forgot one — sometimes you just need to go get yourself a freakin’ mani-pedi. 😉 xoxo