All our plates are full.
I have the house, the child, the business and volunteer work. My husband has a full time job, the child and cricket. Everyone I know is essentially running around from morning to night trying to balance all their obligations and interests.
Here are my tips to balance it all and keep sane.
1. Quiet time – If meditation and/or prayer is not your thing (I do both), just take 10 minutes every morning and evening to be alone (without any person or thing). Sit or lie comfortably, focus on your breathing and try not to think. It’s o.k if you fall asleep. It’s as relaxing and rejuvenating.
2. Exercise – Even 10 minutes a day is enough. Any form of exercise that suits you is good. I have tried many – aerobics, jogging, weight training, kick boxing, cycling – but what suits my body and routine most is free flow yoga and stretching. 10 minutes of this and I feel revitalized.
3. Diet – I have realized that what I eat has a major impact on my energy levels. So if I eat rice or wheat, I feel sluggish, physically and mentally. While I love my two cups of coffee a day, green tea is most refreshing for me. After significant trial and error, I have figured out that I work best on a diet of eggs/fish/chicken, vegetables, fruits, nuts and Greek yogurt (I also have milky coffee, green tea and occasionally soup).
4. Lists – I am always making lists. To-dos for the day (the night before), to-dos for the week (the weekend before), separate business, personal and volunteer work lists; separate lists for each of my clients, grocery lists, cleaning lists – see I am listing here too. I have a daily and a monthly planner and it really helps me stay organised and on the ball. The key is to do urgent work first on all the lists and keep pushing non-essential work to the next day.
5. Read – You don’t have to read fiction or non-fiction books if that doesn’t interest you. Read newspapers, magazines, online articles, business features. Read for information, for motivation, for inspiration. On a day when everything seems to be going awry, reading an inspiring story gives me perspective and puts me back on track.
6. Make time for that one passion – We all have something that makes us come alive. No, not your child, your partner, your work – it could be books or art or music or dancing or friendships. In my case, it is movies. I don’t get to go to the cinema hall these days (childcare issues) so whenever a good movie is coming on TV, usually on weekends, I schedule my entire day around it. The movie is my top priority that day. And I have never regretted this.
7. Fun – Take fun breaks as often as possible. This is what we are doing on our fun breaks these days.
When it all seems too much, slow down and take stock. Cut out the non-essential. Delegate and postpone. Recall why you are doing all this. Be grateful for all the gifts in your life. And remember you will feel better soon.
This always works for me.