Here’s some cold hard truth. Today I left my office after the worse kind of day, juggling a between a migraine, 60 unanswered emails, and some super fun mansplaining counterparts, and I thought to myself “God I need a drink”. I got home, looked at my wine fridge and decided it would be in my best interest to go work out instead. Did I still want a glass of wine? Sure. Would I much have rather stayed on my couch reading about Michelle Obama? Most definitely. But I realized that the stress of the day, and my self inflicted encumbrance, combined with my need to escape my emotions for a moment, were all leading me towards an easy out, which was not a solution at all.
I knew that working out would ultimately ease my anxiety, clear my mind, and generally just make me feel better. (plus burning calories is better than drinking calories and getting drunk on a Thursday am I right?)
So how you do actually achieve balance? Truly maintain a sense of what you think you need vs. what is good for you? And how do you combine the 2?
Having balance essentially means that you have a grasp on all aspects of your life while maintaining your mental health. I truly think it’s impossible to always have a grasp on all aspects in your life, I’m not Gwyneth Paltrow over here, I can barely remember to feed my dog. However, I do think you can maintain a healthy distance between the things that make you happy, your work, and the things you have to do in order to get through life.
Balancing Act 101.
In moments of stress, when life is pulling you too far in one direction, or you feel yourself coming undone, stop and think about why you actually feel uncentered, and pinpoint the thing/s that would make you feel aligned again. Are you on a deadline? Are you on your period? Not enough sleep? All of the above? What is it that you need and why?
Once you figure out the areas of concern, write them down and follow them with solutions, things that will bring you balance.
2.) Immediate satisfactions.
Have a backup plan. A go to list of immediate satisfactions that you can pull out of your hat to remedy your imbalance. For example, if you know you’re going to be working an 80 work week, give yourself permission to lie in your pjs all day Sat. and order Postmates. Give yourself the courage and the strength to tell your job you need a day off, or a 1/2 day or whatever will suffice in making you feel balanced again. Take time to reconnect with yourself and do things that bring you calm.
3.) Have a plan: Setting realistic goals.
Only a fool does the same things over and over again expecting change. You can’t continue to live an imbalanced life and expect to suddenly feel great one day! Set a plan in action to move towards your most balanced life. Make sure you are paying attention to not only your physical health: sleep, body, functionality, but also your mental health as well. Set goals that are doable so that you can reach them. Meditation 9 times a week, maybe not doable. Therapy once a week, doable.
4.) Having a sanctuary:
Have a place to go where you can shut out the world. This could be your shower, or it could be a yoga studio. Mine is a meditation center on 21st St. Whatever your sanctuary may be, when you feel like it’s time to turn to wine, go hide out in your self made sanctum instead.
5.) Take a fucking time out:
Life is demanding (as fuck). There’s been times in my career where the thought of leaving my desk to grab food seemed laughable to me because I had so much to do, and I was under so much pressure. Over the years, and as I’ve grown in my seniority and my own self love I’ve realized that it’s in my best interest, the interest of my well being, to leave for lunch, take a coffee break once in a while, and make sure I don’t miss my pilates class on Wednesdays.
6.) Write it down:
Track your progress. Write down how you felt after binge drinking in Miami, not getting enough sleep for 2 weeks, and then going on an extended business trip to Portugal. You felt like shit right? Then right down how it felt when you were sleeping correctly, and you enjoyed the occasional cocktail on weekends. Observe your moods, observe your behavior, chase your joy, and ultimately chase your balance.
Life is a constant teetering act of attempted balance. Just remember, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, make realistic goals, set a plan, find a little joy in the things you don’t like doing, and incorporate things you love into your life.
Thanks for reading in my delirious state. Signing off from my living room, sweaty, tired and tranquil. (but free from wine)