One of the hottest buzzwords right now is “balance”. Everyone is working to achieve it but are we striving to reach something that doesn’t even exist?
Balance, self-care, alignment, all of these words are completely subjective. We are pressured by society, our families, and friends to achieve all of them but I’m here to offer a little bit of relief.
What balance and self-care look like to you is not the same as what it looks like for anyone else. One person may have to try to juggle being a working mom, a wife and a million other things while someone else may not be married, may be a single mom or not have kids at all but still have to juggle a million other things. It’s all hard to each person but for different reasons.
Comparing yourself to your friend who’s storm looks completely different than your own is only going to lead to feeling defeated, angry and a shame spiral of not being good enough. All lies. You are not defeated and you are good enough. Every day.
Last week on the podcast, I had a guest speaker on named Edie Noble. She’s a military wife and mother of 8 children. I love that she talked about replacing the word “balance” with satisfaction. What is satisfying to your family? Is it eating on the couch off of paper plates instead of around the table with the good dishes? Awesome. Is it saying no to the 400th birthday party this month because you need to reconnect as a family? That’s perfectly ok too. Is it doing church online with coffee and cinnamon rolls because the rush of getting your family out the door and to a place where you’re not all together anyway is too much? God is where your family is gathered. What does satisfaction look like to you and your family? Strive for that!
Same with self-care. Stop telling yourself that self-care has to be getting your nails done every week or spending your Saturday at the salon and spa. Maybe self-care to you is getting your kitchen fully cleaned during the only 20 minute break you have for the day because it makes you feel accomplished. Maybe it’s locking yourself in your closet for 7 minutes just because it’s the only place your kids are too scared to look for you. Maybe it’s sitting in your car in the garage to talk to your best friend because it’s the only place you feel like you can have one conversation instead of being interrupted by the masses asking for snacks. All of these are great and again, only subjective to what your circumstances are.
Too often we compare ourselves to the highlight reels and the belief that we have created about a person and their circumstances. If we were to get a real look inside though, we’d see that the people we are comparing ourselves to have things to deal with that we didn’t know before, didn’t see before or don’t have to deal with ourselves.
So how do we achieve the satisfaction we are striving for?
Create the habits that will satisfy your family. Most of the problems that bring us down in life can be traced back to the habits we are or are not engaging in. If your house is always a mess, utilize the “Yours +1” rule. You pick up every single thing that’s yours plus 1 thing that’s not. If you’re finding yourself scrolling and wasting time on social media, start time blocking your day. This has been the single most helpful thing I’ve personally done to help myself become better and less stressed each day.
Say no. Just because you’re invited doesn’t mean you have to go. When you say yes to something, you’re taking away from something else. If what you’re saying yes to isn’t more important than your sanity, the connection with your family or the stress it’s going to cause in following through, say no. One of my favorite sayings ever and I can’t even figure out who coined it exactly says: “If it’s not a HELL YES, then it’s a no.”
Stop comparing yourself to your friends and neighbors. They’re in the same storm as you but not the same boat anyway.
Take care of yourself so that you’re not always pouring from an empty cup, in whatever way makes sense to you.
Don’t worry if things don’t look completely balanced from the outside. Nobody is paying that much attention to how you stacked your plates because they’re too focused on keeping theirs from toppling over anyway. Stack ’em how you need to. You’re doing just fine!