Not enough time in the day for work, family, friends, not to mention a little “me” time? Need a massage, some Botox to wipe away the frown lines, can’t make it to the gym often enough, and by the way, when are you ever going to perfect that yoga handstand or get that next big promotion?
It’s so ironic. The more I try to add balance to my life, the more stressed out I seem to get.
When you think about all you need to do to take care of yourself mentally and physically do you get overwhelmed? I certainly do!
Think about it for a minute.
Just to make sure you’re eating healthy can be a challenge. Are you getting the right amount of protein, carbs, veggies, water? Are you eating at the proper times of day to maximize your energy?
Then there’s the exercise. You need cardio and weight bearing exercise. Add in some meditation and yoga for strong mental health. Oh, for proper life balance, you also need a hobby.
And don’t forget that you need to make sure you are getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night!
Trying to figure out just the proper sleeping conditions can give you grief enough. Do you have the proper bed? Is all the light blocked from coming into your bedroom? Do you use a sound machine? Sleep mask? Do you get enough REM sleep?
See why I get overwhelmed with self-care?!
How do you integrate all of this into your already packed daily schedule?
Now don’t get me wrong!
I am a BIG fan of self-care. There’s no doubt that it is vitally important, but how do you find the time for that mental health day at the beach picnicking and flying kites? (Which my family just did recently. Yay! And yes, we had a hard time fitting it in but we did it! 😀)
It’s a challenge for sure!
I’ve decided that my life will never be perfectly balanced so the key for me has to be flexibility.
When I start feeling overwhelmed I remind myself to ‘Keep It Simple’.
I try to listen to my body and reflect upon what’s happening in my week and do what’s most needed for that particular moment.
For this week’s Motivation Monday, I challenge you to ‘Keep It Simple’!
I’ve spent some time thinking about what helps me keep things simple.
Here are the top 15 things I do when I’m feeling like things are getting to be too much.
These are easy ways to remind myself that I don’t have to do it all.
15 Fast Fixes to Add a Little Extra Balance to Your Life
1. Tell yourself it’s OK just to do nothing.
2. Solicit help from those around you. People LOVE to help. It’s human nature. Don’t deprive those around you of the opportunity of doing something that will bring joy into their lives just because you don’t want to impose. Don’t feel bad. Just ask. They can always say no if they aren’t able to do it. We all want to feel needed and appreciated so give those closest to you this chance. It will bless you both.
3. Schedule exercise into your daily routine. I know you’ve heard this one a million times but it truly can be a game changer. It definitely needs to stay at the top of your priority list. As important as it is, it can sometimes be the first thing we subtract when we feel we need to cut back somewhere. Don’t do it! The mental and physical benefits are far too valuable to omit from your day. (I need this reminder myself!)
4. List 5 special ‘simple’ things you will do this week. At the beginning of your week (today for most people), make a list of one thing you will do each day that is simple but will renew your spirits. Think about what your body may be needing at this particular moment. Simple things like ‘rub my feet for 5 minutes, light a candle when I sit down for dinner, place fresh flowers around the house or even make my bed (if that’s something you don’t normally make time for)’.
Making this list will help you in a couple of different ways.
First, just sitting down to write it forces you to take a couple of minutes out of your week to reflect upon your needs.
Second, it gives you something to look forward to. If you list that you will give yourself a foot massage on Wednesday after your workout, it’s like a carrot dangling in front of a horse. You will even be looking forward to that workout because you’ll be one step closer to that foot massage. Bonus points if you can get someone else to give you that foot massage! 😉
Here’s what a typical list looks like for me:
Monday- No TV for the evening.
Tuesday- Upload new music for my workout tonight.
Wednesday- Relax; Stay home and don’t go anywhere after work.
Thursday- Take a nap after work (to make it through to Friday).
Friday- Meet a friend for quick 30 minute breakfast.
Once you write your list commit to stick to it. (with minor exceptions here and there of course)
Get into a weekly habit of doing this and it will become a fun game to see how many simple ways you can add a special touch into your everyday.
5. Read just for fun every night. Don’t skip nights no matter what. Find a fun book to read a little bit of each night before retiring to bed. It doesn’t matter how long you read, what’s most important is that you keep your commitment. So keep it light!
If you’re anything like me (and I know you are because you’re reading my blog) 🙂 reading for pure enjoyment may be a little challenging. I am in the habit of reading blogs to learn about all the marvelous things out there in the world or self-help type books like ‘How Successful People Grow by John C. Maxwell‘. But to do this fast fix, those books don’t count. They can make your mind race.
You’ll be sitting there thinking of all the things you need to be doing. You’ll also probably be sitting there with a pen in hand highlighting the various things in your book that you want to make sure you don’t forget about.
While these books are fabulously motivating and informational as well as life changing, sometimes they can also be a bit overwhelming.
Your goal with this is to read something that will let your mind wander away from the everyday ordinary and escape for a few minutes. Just a few minutes. It will give you a new found energy as you close each day out. Also something to look forward to each evening.
6. Think MVP. At work, sometimes my team wants to do such a great job on a project that we end up creating more work for ourselves and making the project way more complicated than it actually needs to be. We have now started reminding each other that sometimes the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is enough. We don’t ALWAYS have to spend an hour reviewing an email. Just hit send! (when you hit send just make sure that you included the attachment that you said you attached and you can avoid one of my most common email mistakes)
7. Meal plan. This is one area I really don’t excel at. I can barely remember to make a shopping list before I go to the grocery store. However, on the weeks I have been successful, I feel like the week has a much smoother flow to it. And you end up making healthier meals. Good all the way around!
8. Say no! Make a conscientious effort to say no to something that you don’t really have the time to do or don’t necessarily want to do. Try to say no at least one time this week. It’s very empowering! If you have a hard time saying no, practice with a partner. Rehearse a few generic lines you can use for almost anything. I suggest saying, “No thank you.” Keep it simple. No need for long explanations as to why you can’t.
9. Volunteer. This may seem counterproductive but stay with me. What I mean is to volunteer to help with something simple. (Like making copies of the materials for a meeting at work.) It will help you not feel quite so guilty when you have to say no. It will also make you feel good for going above and beyond.
10. Take short breaks. If you need some “me” time and can’t fit it in, take short breaks here and there throughout your day. You’ll be surprised by how much good even a quick break can do.
11. Pay for something to be done that you normally do for yourself. Hire a one-time housekeeper to give your house a deep clean, take those slacks that need hemmed to the tailor, pay someone to mow your lawn, or pay a teenager to weed your garden. Although you may be able to do these things yourself, it’s nice to sit back and relax and let someone else do them for you once in a while. (I think I just convinced myself that I need to pay someone to weed my garden bed!)
12. Buy lunch. Instead of packing lunch, choose some days to purchase lunches so you give yourself a little extra free time in the evening or morning when you would normally have to pack the lunches.
13. Don’t over-schedule. Why must you attend every event you’re invited to? Or sign your children up to be in every sport there is? You don’t. Be very selective on what you choose to do with your time. (budgeting our time, that’s another completely separate post that’s coming up soon) Remember, it’s OK to say no. (See number 8 above.) If that’s hard for you to do (as it is for me) Oprah says, “Just say you’re busy. It’s nobody’s business what you’re busy doing. Even if you’re busy taking a bubble bath, you’re busy!”
14. Buy non-iron clothing whenever possible. If you’re headed out to refresh your fall wardrobe, non-iron is ALWAYS the way to go! It can be a bit more expensive at first, but it’s an investment in your time bank. Not ironing can save loads of time!
15. De-clutter for 5 minutes once a day. Spiffing up a room or your house always feels good. It gives you an instant feeling of accomplishment and it creates a positive energy for your entire household. You’ll be surprised by how much you can get done in just 5 minutes. Give it a try. But make sure you’re doing something that you normally leave for later like cleaning out a junk drawer or dusting the ceiling fan.
These are just a few of the ideas that I use to keep balance in my life. Hopefully, you too can use one or two of them to add some balance to your life when things get hectic.
BONUS: #16 Stay positive! A big part of keeping things simple is maintaining a positive attitude. Even if you do have a lot on your plate when you frame things in a positive way your mental state has the power to make them seem less daunting.
People are always asking me how I keep up with working full-time and managing a large family. Being positive plays a huge role in keeping me sane and my family succeeding. It’s not always easy to do, but I have seen how things go when I let my guard down and play into the negative of things versus looking at the positives.
I much prefer the outcome of a positive spin.
Again, the challenge this week is to try to keep it simple. I know you can!
As you go about your day to day, look for ways to simplify.
It can be at home, work, school, interacting with friends and family. Don’t let outside distractions derail you from accomplishing your most important work whatever it may be. If you let them, things around you will control your time and then suddenly before you even realize it you are feeling overwhelmed.
Keeping it simple gives you the luxury to add things to your plate that you consider valuable at a time that is most appropriate for you. You owe this to yourself and if you do it you will thank yourself.
Let me know how your week goes! I would love to hear your comments.