I feel like we have created this notion that we can do it all and should do it all. We are always adding more and more to our plate and are constantly searching for balance in our life. We have an ongoing battle of either focusing our time and energy on our work or on our friends and family, on either relaxing or tackling our to-do list or making time for others and taking time for ourselves. We are trying to find the perfect balance between everything, but does it exist?
Personally I do not think balance is a thing. Instead of balance, I believe in seasons. Not everything in our life is going to be perfectly balanced at all times, rather we have different seasons where different things take priority. For instance we might be launching a big project at work, so during that time more of our time and energy is focused there, taking away from our social time or our exercise routine. After the project has launched, it frees up the opportunity to focus on other things that bring you joy.
As we go through different seasons, it is always important to stay grounded in what really matters most to you and whether that season is in support of your overall goals and vision or your life. Although your priorities may shift over time, your overall vision for your life stays consistent and should always act as a guide in the different seasons.
It is also important to be aware of how your priorities are shifting over time and what you are willing to change and give up in order to meet those priorities. It can be helpful to reflect on:
What matters most to me right now?
What are my priorities for this season?
What am I willing to sacrifice in this season?
What am I unintentionally sacrificing in this season?
What are my non-negotiables that I am not willing to sacrifice regardless of the season?
What habits do I need in this season?
When you are reflecting on these questions, it is important to focus on what is true for you, not what you feel like you “should” do based on other people's values, expectations or perspective. I find we place way too much value on other people’s opinions instead of focusing on what is right for us, and is often the reason why we get stuck in this trap of trying to do it all.
If you are working on breaking free of the need to try to do it all and balance it all, check out these tips:
Let go comparisons. Often what gets us in the mindset of needing to do it all, is comparing ourselves to others and trying to keep up with them. We often look at others and think they have it all together, maybe they have a successful career, they are an incredibly involved parent, they are the glue that holds their social circle together, and so much more. Unfortunately, we aren’t seeing the whole picture and will never see the whole picture because we aren’t in their shoes. Our perception of their life might be skewed, we might not truly know what they are dealing with, how they are juggling it all or what supports they have in their life. If we are caught up chasing what works for other people, we are disregarding our unique goals, priorities and interests. Just because it might work for them, does mean it has to work for you.
Let go of other people’s perceptions. Similar to the comparison trap, another driving force of feeling the need to balance it all is to prove ourselves to others or keep up some sort of facade that we have it all together. We have this tendency to get so caught up in and concerned about what other people are thinking of us when in reality they aren’t thinking about us at all. Humans are naturally pretty self involved, we are too focused on our own lives to spend time and energy judging what others are doing, yet we seem to think that's what everyone else is doing. Stop wasting time and energy on what people are possibly thinking (we all know we are assuming the worst case scenario anyways), it is so incredibly freeing.
Manage your guilt. Once you have decided to let go of trying to do it all, let go of comparisons and let go of other peoples’ perceptions, you need to let go of the guilt that may come along with this decision. The guilt of feeling we should be able to go it all and should be able to balance everything, can draw you back into that old way of living. Be mindful of these feelings as they come and remember you made the conscious decision.
Take time to let go of the need to do it all and be it all, think of your life as seasons and start to prioritize what matters to you right now. It will be a process of letting go of your old ways and old thoughts, but it will be worth it when you let go of this constant struggle to find balance.
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