This feels like an especially relevant topic for me at the moment. I haven’t written this blog for over a week because I just plum forgot. Life got away from me. In trying to juggle so many roles (mother, therapist, writer, wife, blogger…), sometimes things just drop. I imagine some of you reading feel similarly.
So I offer the following tips with full recognition of just how hard it is to do them. You know the old saying: Those who can’t do, write mental health blogs.
But maybe they can help you perform your juggling act a bit better.
1) Realize that you’re spinning out.
This is perhaps the toughest one of all. But it’s also the most effective.
I think of awareness as the number one best thing we can do for ourselves, in all realms. It gives us the most options of how to make positive changes in our lives. And when it comes to finding balance, awareness is key.
That’s because you’ll have an easier time correcting when things are at their most managably unmanageable level. Meaning: If you’re just starting to feel out of control, you can think more clearly and have more choices of how to regain. Once you’re really off the rails, it can be harder to find your way back.
So notice if you’ve become more forgetful and less present. It’s an indicator that your life is less than harmonious.
2) Think about your ideal week. Then think about how close your week comes to that ideal.
If you’re like most people, you probably won’t get your ideal. But if you can identify what it looks like, you can begin to approximate it. You can make the kind of changes that will move you incrementally (or significantly) closer to it.
Be specific when you’re thinking about ideals (as in, how much time would be spent doing different tasks, how you’d be relating to your partner, kids, etc.)
Balance is about living a life that’s in line with your values and priorities. See how close you’re coming to that on the nitty-gritty, day-to-day level.
3) If your life is chronically overwhelming, consider whether you’re using your supports adequately.
I know that I’m a lousy delegator. I can have very definite ways I want things done, and I decide it’s just better to do it myself than to ask my husband to meet my exacting standards. But this also means I can be overloaded and irritable, and frankly, that’s my own fault.
Your problem might be different. It might be that you hesitate to bother others, that you feel you should be doing it all (“shoulds” can be the devil, can’t they?), or some other variety of impediment. But if you’re making yourself nuts, you’re not doing yourself or your loved ones any favors.
4) Use stress management tools.
That might be as simple as reminding yourself to breathe. Finding some way to ground yourself when life feels chaotic can help a lot in the quest to reestablish equilibrium.
5) Are you having any fun?
Sometimes what gets lost in the shuffle is joy. If that’s happening to you, figure out how to bring it back. It’ll lighten everything else you have to do.
Juggling image available from Shutterstock.