Oh, the word ‘balance’. It can be a tricky one in our lives. Especially when we feel like we’re being pulled a million different directions as mothers, lovers, workers, etc.
It’s really easy to get caught up in thinking we have to balance it all. Which is typically where the mom guilt starts to reside.
Thinking that when we’re taking care of ourselves we should be taking care of our kids. Or if we’re dedicating time to our kids, where does that leave our relationships? And when we’re at work we wish we were with our kids.
Balance is more of a mental game than anything else. When we can balance our minds, that’s when we’ll start to actually feel more balanced.
So how do you balance your mind so that everything else: family, friends, work, kids, significant others, starts to feel like it’s not always out of whack?
How to balance your mind for success in all your relationships
I want to start this off by saying that I almost started this first sentence with “finding balance”. But then I realized that we don’t find balance in our lives. We have to create it ourselves.
Balance is going to look and feel different for everyone. However, there are some simple principles that I believe have helped me to create balance in my life.
Especially with two kids, friendships, a business, full-time work, and my relationship with my husband.
1. Creating balance: Set boundaries
In a time where we like to say yes to everything, this is truly where we need to start saying no.
If you want to create balance, you have to be willing to say no to certain things. The things that don’t fit within your core values and desires. And then you need to actually stick with it.
How do you figure out what your core values and desires are when everything in your life seems to pull you in different directions?
This is the time you need to sit down with yourself and start writing out a list.
Here are the things that are most important to me, and why. Having that why will help you distinguish when to say no, and when to say yes.
But don’t feel like this list is set in stone the instant you write it out. It will change with the seasons of life. What was important to you a year ago may no longer be important now.
Even my list has changed over the years after having two kids, but there are a few things that remain constant.
My list of constant boundaries and priorities
- Exercise – this has been a constant for me for the past 10 years. I almost always make time for exercise. Whether it’s getting up early in the morning before the kids. Or asking Burken if he’s good if I go for a jog and he watches the kids. Or we go for family walks. Any way to get my body moving. That’s extremely important to me.
- Mental clarity – meditation, journaling, etc. I find pockets of time during the day for this. It’s truly important for me to gain mental clarity to actually create balance in my life.
- Setting a schedule – this is more of a loose schedule. I’ve come to find as being a parent that not everything is always going to go to plan. That schedules will shift, and that’s okay. But if we at least have a loose plan of what’s happening during the week/weekend, Burken and I can have honest discussions of what we’d both like to accomplish during that time. If I have a blog post I want to write, I typically plan that into nap time. Or I tell him I need X amount of time to work on said blog post. When that time is up, I spend it with the kids.
- Spending time with the kids – which leads me here. Our kids are still really young, and spending time with them is important to me. But I’m going to go against the grain here and say that they not my entire world. Because when I get into that mentality, it actually leaves more room for feeling the mom guilt. When my kids become my whole world that leaves no time for who I am as a woman. I am so blessed to be a mother, but that does not define my entire existence. That’s why setting boundaries on the other priorities in my life, to keep me sane as a mother, are so important.
- Spending time with Burken – we’ve all heard it before. Spending time with our significant other is just as important as the time we spend with our kids. Like I mentioned, our kids do not define who we are. We were someone before we had them. Remembering that Burken and I were a unit (and also separate people) before having kids reminds us that our relationship needs to be cultivated.
Once I’ve set these boundaries, it makes it easier to say no when certain things come up that don’t fit into these areas.
2. Creating balance: How to say ‘no’
In a world of ‘yes’, saying no can feel really hard. It’s because we feel like we’re letting the other person down when we say no. That they’re going to be disappointed in us if we don’t immediately say yes.
It’s why I started with setting boundaries. So that you have an easy place to work from. You can say, “This other thing is important to me at the moment. Can we find another time?”
Saying ‘no’ doesn’t have to mean, “no, not ever.” Saying no could simply mean, “I don’t have the space or capacity for it at this exact moment. But here’s where I have time in my schedule.”
I think a really good example of this is from a couple of months ago. My parents wanted to visit on a Friday. I had some blog work I had been planning on getting done. I told my mom, “here’s what I wanted to work on and it will take me about two hours.”
Just explaining where my priorities were planned/scheduled helped us to set some boundaries on what I needed time for.
This also goes for saying ‘no’ at work. We want to make the people we work with happy. However, if you’re constantly saying yes to projects that you can’t accomplish because your plate is too full, then you’re not helping anyone.
Take a good look at your schedule on Sunday night so that you can head into Monday with a clear head and where you may need to say no to certain projects.
3. Creating balance: Staying organized
For me, organization is key when it comes to creating mental balance. That’s also what gets me excited and makes me feel more at ease.
I know for some, organization can lead to even more stress, so it’s about creating organization that works for you the most.
My few tips for staying organized:
- Write out your must-dos on Sunday night. This was a really big one for me. Especially with running a business and working full time. My must-dos are the non-negotiables that need to be accomplished that week. And here’s the big thing: it was one must-do a day. Not a laundry list of things. Save those for your to-do list. The must-dos are things that will move the needle forward that week.
- Write it down. Similar to the above, writing it down gets it out of your head and onto paper. Constantly trying to hold space in your brain for your home to-do’s, work to-do’s, family obligations, friend hangouts, gets to be exhausting. Writing down what’s coming up and planning around those will help clear up space in your brain for the important things.
- Be okay with your schedule changing. Yes, you can be the most organized person in the world, but if you don’t allow for shifts and changes within your schedule, it’s going to always leave you feeling less than organized. So take a look at your Sunday night list. Where can you be open to adjustments? What are the non-negotiables? This was probably one of the hardest things for me to accomplish. But once I realized that shifts and changes allowed for more flexibility and fun, and less stress, it made me a relaxed organized person.
Balance your mind, balance your life
Following these three tips will help you feel organized in life, which will balance out where you say no and incorporating your boundaries into these key areas.
Finding the right balance with self-care, friendships, work and relationships is a constant game. So don’t feel like you’re doing something wrong if one area feels out of balance at some point in your life.
Like I said, your boundaries and priorities are going to change with the seasons of your life. If you follow the three principles for creating a balanced mind, you will continue to feel balanced in the areas that matter the most to you.