How to strive towards equilibrium in your life
By Abby Cole
As our work and home lives become more streamlined by technology and the demands of performance, it can be challenging to create balance that allows us to fully enjoy all of the moments in our day, allowing us to separate home and work, and achieve overall wellness in our lives and our relationships.
Balance doesn’t have to be a perfect equilibrium resulting in exact parts that symmetrically equal a whole. Instead, balance should be looked at as more of a big-picture idea. We should focus on striving toward balance in all areas of our lives to make sure we are nurturing ourselves and our interests, not just the mandatories of life.
The conveniences of technology have made it almost impossible to escape the demands of our jobs with 24/7 accessibility. It takes some real willpower to step in and know, that in the long run, defining separation between work and home is essential to overall optimal performance and preventing burnout.
Personally, I’ve had to realize that my to-do list will never be completely finished. It’s in a constant growth pattern – and I’ve had to accept that this is okay. What is necessary is prioritization and realization. I prioritize my to-do list, focusing on smaller tasks first. If I can complete something in 10 minutes or less, I tackle it first so it can be marked off my list. Next, I set out to accomplish the bigger tasks when my schedule allows for a break from distraction and interruption to make some real progress. This technique allows me to excel at time management and give 110 percent at work and at home to my family and personal relationships.
While this practice can be interrupted by deadlines and schedules that fall behind, overall I try to make it a goal to leave work on time and refrain from bringing non-urgent work home. It helps knowing I’ve managed my time well and was as productive as possible. However, if I do need to spend a few minutes to tidy up something from work, I try to do it at a time that doesn’t take away from my family or my own personal needs. I realize in this give and take, true balance reveals itself.
Like many of you, my top priority is family. Therefore, it is essential to productively utilize the precious time we have together during the work week. While it’s easy to jump straight into the needs of the family for the night (dinner, homework, laundry, etc.), taking just five or 10 minutes to unwind and talk to the kids and my husband about their day is helpful in transitioning my focus from work to home, plus it helps to cultivate a healthy family atmosphere that we all can thrive in and feel replenished from.
I’m a firm believer that relationships aren’t always 50-50, thus not always in equal balance. Sometimes one person has to give 75 percent because the other can only give 25 percent. As long as it is reciprocal and equitable, that’s the balance. It’s important for people to realize this and not always expect something in return. Rather, look to see that your relationships are working together, supporting one another, and allowing for times of weakness and strength between both parties.
A component not to be forgotten when trying to achieve overall balance is the need to take care of yourself. Carving out some part of the day to focus on your emotional and physical well-being is an absolute in order to achieve the perspective, endurance and optimism needed to acquire balance. Allow room for equity in your exercise regimen by rotating a rigorous cardio activity with a gentle yoga practice. Stimulate your mind with reading and also with quiet meditation. It’s all about the balance between things and not the over reliance on any one thing.
There’s not a one-size-fits-all formula to achieving balance in your life. The expectations of modern-day society charge us all to take a step toward finding a way to nurture an environment that allows us to focus and enjoy all aspects of our lives so that we may be able to appreciate the gifts that bless us on a daily basis, rather than taking them for granted or allowing them to go unnoticed all together.
So consider evaluating your energy output. There might be a need to shift a little from one place in order to give a little somewhere else that might be a bit neglected. Allow yourself to realize that your flexibility will help to create your overall balance.
Abby Cole is a wife, mother of two young boys, and high school journalism teacher. She enjoys yoga, running, reading, writing, photography and spending time with her loved ones.