It is hard to believe that 2015 is half over already. I mean, where does the time go? A few weeks ago Crystal wrote a touching blog about what her life has been all about for the last several months, which got me thinking about my own life. What have I been up to? Aside from settling into my new home in the Bay Area and starting a new job I have been striving to find balance in my life. And while this journey is far from over, I have discovered a few things:
A) I am not alone. It seems that each day more and more people tell me about how out of balance their lives are.
B) What balance means for me, is likely different for you, and
C) As Mrs. Know-it-All I MUST share my experience. In addition, I hope that my musings can bring forth inspiration, motivation, and action into your lives. So here goes nothing…
Where do You Start?
Day-to-day life can be so full of everything that it seems to speed by leaving most people (myself included) gasping for breath. And with days packed from morning to night, it can seem downright silly to stop and try to make sense of it all, or ask yourself “Is all of this worth it?”
I recently had to stop and ask myself that very question. While I am wildly grateful for my life, loved ones, and everything in between, I am often not present for any of it. My mind is constantly racing, planning, and waiting for the next thing to happen or be over. I hate feeling like this and it is a feeling I know well. I felt guilty and ashamed. And I knew it was time to reach out for help.
I began by contacting a therapist and making an appointment. Sitting across from her and telling about my life I felt so relieved to get it all out. This feeling was validated when she said, “It sounds like you have a lot going on in your life.” I felt like I could finally exhale. She then explained that my racing mind, could be Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and that I could find relief from it. I walked out of her office feeling like I had taken a step forward, instead of the constant running in place I had done for so long.
Here is my point: going to a therapist was the starting point for me. For you, it could be getting a super cool planner, asking people for help, or going for a walk. Whatever your first step forward is and no matter how small, take it today!
Make a Plan and be Flexible
I am a planner and organizer. I like my whole life to follow the exact course I have chosen, which is rare. And deeply frustrating and anxiety provoking. So for me, I have been learning about being flexible when life goes left when I want to go right. Letting go of control and learning that I don’t have to have it all together all the time has given me a break from my racing mind. Planner + Being Flexible = Balance.
Depending on you and your life, you may need to do more planning, organizing, etc. Or like me, you may need to take a breath. Give it a try and keep trying till you find your balance.
It happens to the best of us. We have an idea, make a plan, and take the necessary steps to make it happen. And then something derails our progress: a sickness, event, family, or work. Whatever the issue, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things. I mean there is always TV shows to binge watch 😉
I for one know all about this. I have made many lifestyle changes in the last few years and one of the biggest ones was getting added sugar out of my diet. It has been a slow, painful, and humbling journey. I have done cleanses, went cold turkey for 30 days, researched tips, made deals with myself, and then I would slip. I would be mad and frustration at my lack of willpower. If only, I could just not give in to my temptation. If only…
In the last few months, I kicked my sugar addiction and have been happily living without the white stuff. And in a surprising turn of events, my anxiety shot through the roof. I had spent so long, managing my anxiety, as well as other emotions with food, especially the sweet stuff that I was having a hard time coping. Thus, it was about more than willpower. Learning new skills and tools has helped me stay on track, even when I had slip ups. Which brings me to…
Don’t Give Up!
Seems obvious, I know. Here is the thing; every time I gave up I tried again. I am not going to lie; it wasn’t always the next day. Sometimes it took me some time and I always started again.
If you have given up or are not doing EVERYTHING perfectly 😉 just start again. Don’t wait till Monday, New Year’s Day, or any other future date. The longer you wait, the better of any idea that it becomes and less action you will take.
Recreate your Goals
One of the issues with giving up added sugar was that I would say, “I will never eat sugar again.” This is a great goal that is general, overwhelming, and hard to measure progress with. It took me many tries to figure out that I do best with many small goals that work toward the larger one.
Breaking down your goal into smaller parts will make it more manageable. Want to run a marathon? Great, start with a 5k. Never ran a day in your life? Start with running around the block.
It may take some time to accomplish those individual goals and it is important that you do them in ways that will be healthy, doable, and reasonable and maybe, just maybe, something you enjoy. Otherwise, what is the point?
Celebrate your Successes
When I am working with people on their nutrition and diet, I get excited when they make changes that have positive impacts on their lives. I encourage them to be excited too. It can be easier to berate yourself for your failures and it will only derail you further. If you are having trouble staying on track, then you may need to adjust your goals.
No matter how small the success, celebrate it! Use this motivation to move you on to your next goal. Before you know it, all the little goals will add up to big change.
Create a Support Group
I am all about community, tribes, and in the immortal words of Grey’s Anatomy “having a person.” Anytime you are making big changes, it is important to have a group of people that support you. It could be family, friends, coworkers, or an online group. It doesn’t matter who it is as long as they provide the support you need.
I am lucky to have a very supportive husband, friends, and family who have been on this journey with me. They have cheered me on, been a shoulder to cry on, and at times (gently) gave me feedback. I also sought out an additional support group that has guided me through processing my emotions and learning to cope in healthier ways. Having all of this support has made the difference for me.
One note, I will say is that select your support group(s) carefully. We all have the negative voice that pops up in our heads and can be disempowering. Make sure your group doesn’t include people who echo that voice. Your journey may get tough and have people to be there for you will be essential. This doesn’t mean be secretive about what you are doing. Tell people and explain it as little or much as you want. However, make sure you have an inner circle that will cheer you on!
Seek out Professional Help
I have not been on this journey alone as I mentioned above. I have also, sought out various practitioners that with their knowledge and skills gave me a fighting chance. Sometimes it was changing my diet, taking supplements, or receiving network chiropractic treatments that guided me along. Sometimes, it was the acknowledgment of being heard for who I am and what I want that gave me the courage to keeping moving forward.
So there you have it. The musing of an anxious, know it all, who is finally finding balance in her life. It’s far from perfect, organized, and is changing every day. But it is worth it. All the hard work is worth the moments that turn into hours where I can be present and enjoy the wildly beautiful life I am living.
How do you create balance in your life? Why is it important for you?
Finding Balance & Letting Go,
Heidi (aka Mrs. Know it All)
These recommendations are for the reduction of stress only. They are not intended as treatment or prescription for any disease, or as a substitute for regular medical care.