Wake up, commute, work, commute, sleep. Repeat. There are times during life where we all find ourselves stuck in a routine that feels cumbersome and foggy. Days don’t feel all too fun and it feels like we are constantly looking forward to special events or holidays – just to escape from the daily rut. We all go through times like this in life and it takes these moments to step back and realize what exactly it is you want in life, what exactly you need to do to get out of that rut; how to create a healthy balance.
Everything in life – in our world – is balanced to a certain extent. We all hear about “work-life balance” and we usually wonder if anybody can actually achieve this state – does it actually exist??? It isn’t until we step back and evaluate the current condition and make a change until we can truly understand that work-life balance can be achieved.
I’ve recently taken a few steps back to reflect on how to create a better balance and I’m happy to say that after a few months of hard work, I believe I’m slowly learning what it’s all about.
I no longer have the “Monday blues” (yahoo!) and feel inspirited on Sundays before the work week. I enjoy a fresh, new work week and enjoy the career I’m in – it’s not a “job” because I actually like it. I’ve remembered how great yoga feels and I make sure to start my day (and try to end my day) with some time on my mat. I don’t worry about indulging in foods that don’t grow from the ground, if I feel like eating them, I enjoy them. I also enjoy salads and fruit without feeling like I need to eat them! I remember how nice it is to read books that aren’t work related and I’ve recently begun listening to audiobooks on my commute (why not kill two birds with one stone?). I’ve been able to spend more time with my fiance (yup, I’m planning a wedding!!!), family, and friends without worrying about what I have to accomplish at work and I absolutely love it.
If you asked me six months ago if there was such a thing as “work-life balance”, I would have said no. I didn’t think it could truly be achievable. I was wrong…
There’s no one saying you can’t take a step back to re-evaluate where you are in life and what you want to achieve. Everything in life involves baby steps, and learning about balance takes time. I’m no where near completely balanced, but I feel a lot more grounded then I did and it feels amazing.
A few things that have helped change my perspective on life and create a new-found balance are the following (to name a few):
1. Yoga. It’s been a huge game changer. When I’m on my mat, I try to leave any to-do lists or negativity on the side, it doesn’t get to accompany me during my practice. I started practicing yoga (after taking a few years off) by doing online classes, on BrettLarkin.com – a great site for beginners and anyone who needs the motivation to start back practicing. I do Brett’s ‘Get Fired Up’ yoga class every morning, it’s 10 minutes long and wakes me up better than any tea or coffee would.
DoYogaWithMe.com is also a fantastic site. I use this site for longer practices and I love the fact that they’re all filmed in Vancouver.
When I’m not practicing at home, I attend a studio that I’ve fallen in love with. I leave feeling extremely relaxed.
2. Journaling. I don’t journal all the time, but whenever I feel I need to, it really helps. Writing down thoughts, or better yet, talking about them make a huge difference for the mind and spirit. Getting things off the chest really lightens the load! *Buy a pretty journal though…you’ll have more motivation to write in it!
3. Meditation. I’m slowly learning what meditation is all about. One thing I’ve realized with meditation is that you don’t need to be in a state of silence for the whole 15, 30, 45 minutes you’re practicing. As long as you’re taking the time for yourself to sit and reflect, whether using a mantra, visualization or complete silence, you’re taking the step to better understand your mind and body. If your mind wanders during meditation, let it. Acknowledge the thought and bring it back to whatever your focus is on.
4. Eat, Pray, Love and Wild. I never thought a book could actually help change my perspective on life…but two (so far) have. I read Wild by Cheryl Strayd first and didn’t want it to end. I really connected with her take on life and how she took time to re-discover herself. I wasn’t inclined to take six months to hike the Pacific Coast Trail, but I loved her new outlook on life – so inspiring.
Eat, Pray, Love seems like such a cliche “self-discovery” book, and if it is, I don’t have any qualms because I fell in love with Liz Gilbert’s yogic/meditative journey. I won’t go into the details but if you need to figure out balance, I would highly recommend this book…skip the movie though (it’s a snoozer).
5. No. Learn to say ‘no’. Don’t have time to do something? Don’t commit. The past couple years have taught me that I’m not one to usually say no, which resulted in a bit of a burnout. Figure out how to distribute your time and don’t over commit.
6. Smile. Smiling takes less effort than frowning. Did you know it takes more muscles to frown??? I realize this sounds corny, but smile in your heart and mean it. It works.
It’s been an experiential past few months and I’m excited to continue on this path. Balance is real and anyone can take the time to figure it out. It just takes time and most importantly, patience.
I’m looking forward to begin blogging again and to add it to my “balance wheel”, because it sure has been a while.