This week I’m observing my 14 year-old ninth grader attempt to navigate increased academic, sports, extracurricular and social demands (and doing all I can to stay hands-off), and I’m reminded of a time in my late twenties when the idea of life balance was completely foreign to me.
I was working as a public relations manager at a large biotech company. My typical day started with a Dr. Pepper and a steady stream of endless news stories, lunch at my desk (or not at all), followed by long hours at the office, next to no physical movement and a constant feeling of rushing from one thing to the next. I lived with a perpetual longing for the weekends where I knew margaritas with friends awaited and would provide me with just enough of a recharge to launch me back into the madness all over again come Monday morning.
This experience–along with the loss of three family members–eventually drove me to a radical career change in 2000 and a very personal journey to finding and eventually teaching life balance to other men and women (here’s a bit about my approach).
As I watch my son, it’s clear that even though he’s being raised by a life balance teacher/coach and a family that highly values physical/emotional/mental and spiritual well-being, he’s going to have to experience what’s it like to feel truly out of balance before he can find his sweet spot–the “just right” place between effort and ease. As painful as this is for me, I have to remember we all have to walk our own path before we can find our way back home.
I define life balance as having enough time, energy and resources for what’s most important to you at your given life stage. I have never seen balance as this Zen state of perfection (as so many magazines would have you believe) or having equal time in all areas of life– but a way of being that supports a sustainable life (read more).
It took years of practice for life balance to become such a high priority for me. One of the things that has helped was being curious about why I do what I do and what would motivate me to change. Does this speak to you? Here are a few questions you might explore:
- Think of a time in your life when you were really out of balance. What did that period teach you?
- What signals to you in your life now, that you’re out of balance? (For me, it’s a refrigerator full of uncooked veggies-I love and need to cook to nourish my body!)
- What is one thing that always brings you back into balance or flow/alignment?
- When things are really crazy (which happens to all of us), are you able to see the 30,000 foot view and invite in curiosity and self-compassion?
Today, I am privileged to travel around the globe and teach men and women how to lower stress and enhance life balance through the art/science of self-care. But before I was able to switch from a morning soda to green tea or learn how to say “No” with ease, I had to get sick and tired of being sick and tired. I had to become fed up with the endless “hamster on the wheel” existence and literally CRAVE a new way of being. If your life is feeling out-of-balance, be easy on yourself and instead of breaking out the whip, look at your current state as an offering to examine the ways your lifestyle is working for you and the ways it’s not.
Then, let me know if I can support you. I’d love to be your guide. PS. Here’s a quick overview of our services to get a sense for how we can work together.
TAKE ACTION: Ready to start experiencing more flow and less stress in your life? Learn more about our global Personal Renewal Group (PRG) Program for moms of all ages and consider becoming a RTA-Certified Facilitator and leading or joining a group today. Leading PRGs more than anything else, helped me embrace a more balanced life. P.S. Wanting personal, immediate support from me for the month of September (from the comfort of your own home or office)? Check out my inexpensive Life Balance Teleclasses which are self-paced and available 24/7.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance speaker/author and Career Strategists president, Renée Peterson Trudeau. Offering life balance & stress management workshops/retreats, training, books/telecourses and individual career coaching Renee’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-renewal group based on her award-winning curriculum. She is the author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 14 year-old son. More on her background here.