Balance? What Balance?
A few years ago I met Jill Jewett for coffee. I respect and look up to her and all of her accomplishments. She is an amazing woman who has her own consulting firm and both her and her family are well known business people and philanthropists in the Houston area. My original intent for scheduling the lunch was to discuss business and networking opportunities. However, the conversation turned (as it usually does with professional women) to family, life, work and trying to keep all of the balls up in the air at the same time. She told me something that has stayed with me and will continue to serve as one of my mantras, which was, "throw balance out the window". She wittingly and wisely reminded me that it's impossible for any of us to give 100% of ourselves to everything and be the "perfect" mom, wife, professional, volunteer, etc. (the list goes on). We should just strive to be present in the moments and focus on providing the best of who we are in everything we do.
It’s been thousands of years and women are still fighting an unnamed, unknown battle within. They fight every day, their battles won are unsung and unheard of and the ones lost find no emotional bandage waiting for them. It’s a battle that women fight with their spirit and body. A sob story aside, in our daily life we see countless women who not only maintain successful careers with utmost professionalism but also take care of their homes. Their presence their mental resilience is what gets the home running. They find peace in heir stressful lives, a hectic 9-5 job, deadlines and then come home and try to give proper attention to their children and husband as well. If they slag a little bit, even just for a day, the fear of being judged by other people around them is way too great. Amongst all this mess, women forget to take care of themselves. They take the whole world on their shoulders and forget that their sanity and peace of mind is just as important and without it, they can’t be happy.
It takes a lot to admit that you need some “me” time. Haven’t you always wanted to go on a nice vacation or stay at home all day and sleep in, do your nails and your skin care, maybe relax at the spa but with the load on your shoulders, you just never seem to make any time for yourself. What many people don’t realize is that your physical health is massively affected by your mental health. There are many people who have been diagnosed with cardiac diseases including hypertension that resulted from untreated chronic stress. It might not seem like something serious in the beginning but it is, it always is. In moments of high stress or a busy life, it is very easy to lose touch with the world outside and even with the things you once had an undying passion for. We forget to nurture ourselves and our mind slowly spirals down into the world where depression takes over and recovering from that could take years.
As a woman, many of us maybe have been programmed and taught to be the ones willing to sacrifice, to put others before us, to put our families before us and do whatever it takes to keep the family happy and healthy. In doing so, we often forget that the first person we need to take care of, is our self. An hour or two for ourselves every day or a whole evening once a week, it seems little but can relieve a whole week’s stress and make you more happy to be around the ones you love. You will take care of them better and perform better on your job as well. Here are a few ways in which you can take some time off for self care:
Let everyone in your family including your kids and your partner know. Communicate and tell them how stressful your life has gotten and you need to reconnect with yourself. Always set boundaries. Tell them you would not like to be disturbed for a set amount of time. Limit the demands people make and acknowledge the fact that there is a limit to what one person can be selflessly willing to do.
Ask for help
If you plan on taking time out for yourself once a week and your kids are too little to take care of themselves, ask for help. If you live near your parents, sister or brother or even a best friend, ask them politely if they would be willing to take care of the kids. In the alternative, you can also hire a nanny, housekeeper or assistant to take on some of your responsibilities.
Taking care of the house and doing chores should not fall upon one person. It is practically insane to ask one person to do a job, take care of everyone’s needs AND keep the house spotless. Engage your spouse and your kids in the work. Ask them to help you and it is better if you develop these habits from an early age as these will not only be helpful for you but it will also help your kids be responsible and be more respectful towards people as individuals.
What to do in your ‘me’ time?
There are countless things you can do to help yourself relax. You can draw yourself a nice warm bath as you listen to music with a nice book. You can head over to the spa and get your hair and nails done. You can join classes for yoga, pilates or ballet (such as PIYOLET) that help you release stress in a more healthy way. You can simply make yourself some nice coffee and sit with your book on a sofa. Be sure to also disconnect from your phone and other electronic devices to truly let your mind and body relax.
Remember to always take care of yourself first.
This video demonstrates one of my Yoga balance poses, which can be used to increase flexibility, strength and your core. Just a little something to try during your "me" time.