Are you nurturing all parts of you? (Some thoughts on balance)

Are you searching for balance in your life or have you found it?

I’ve heard the concept of balance explained in different ways.

Jack Welch called it work/life choice. People choose whether they work a lot or whether they spend a lot of time with family. You are in control.

I’ve heard others say it’s not about being balanced all the time but instead how quickly you come back into balance when you fall out.

My logical brain likes equations. Consider this:

24 hours in a day (you cannot get more!) On average we (are “supposed to”) spend:

8 hours working (I know many people work more)

8 hours sleeping (I know many people get much less, that’s a different post)

8 hours for EVERYTHING ELSE

Which leads me to believe we will not find balance in equal parts.

Instead, I like to think of balance this way:  Are you nurturing all parts of you?

Are you taking at least a little bit of time each day or week to take care of your mind, body and soul? Are you getting enough yin (rest) for your yang (fast)?

As a self employed professional I tend to think about work a lot – 7 days a week. For a long time I never gave myself a day off from thinking or doing something about work. I felt resentful and longed for more fun in my life!

Now I make conscious decisions to take time off and rest or do things that lift my spirits. For example, over the weekend I ran in two 5k road races. I haven’t raced (or run!) in a while. The races were exhilarating and by Sunday afternoon my body was exhausted.

Stacey Finished Feed the Need Road Race

Instead of giving in to all of the things I thought I should or needed to do – housework, grocery shopping, work – I grabbed a book and rested on our hammock for a few hours. Boy did that feel good.

Resting on Hammock

Admittedly, sitting out there for so long wasn’t easy. I felt a tug to “get things done”. By allowing myself to rest yesterday, today I’m ready to get back to work. I feel nurtured. I feel good.

I’m not saying it’s easy but “feeling” balanced is possible. I haven’t always been able to rest on a hammock for an extended period of time.

One way to start feeling more balanced: consider the question “Am I nurturing all parts of me?” Take note of how you spend your time, how it makes you feel, and what pieces might be missing. Then, see if you can add a few minutes of rest, family time, exercise or whatever you need to feel better and build from there.

What are your thoughts about balance? Is it possible? Do you feel like your life is balanced? How do you make that happen?

Stay tuned for Wednesday’s post where you’ll get a chance to practice balance.

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3 Comments:

  • http://www.facebook.com/upclosewitheric Eric

    Hello Stacey, a friend from Facebook shared with me about your blog. It all started with the “1000 awesome things” book. Like you, I am an entrepreneur and you are absolutely right – we think about work ALL the time. Even when we are sleeping or dating. I like how you took the discipline to rest and recharge even though you feel the “tug”.

    It is true – work can never be done and it will be endless. So since it is going to be like this, why not take a little break and live a little. Thanks again for your wonderful advice. Will continue to read your blog and learn from you!

    Cheers,
    Eric from Singapore!

  • http://www.workconsciously.com Chris Edgar

    Hi Stacey — I think that’s a great observation, that we can make ourselves resentful and frustrated by being an overly demanding boss to ourselves, just as well as someone else can, and compassion for ourselves is particularly important when we have our own businesses.

  • http://www.staceyshipman.com Stacey Shipman

    Hi Eric. Welcome and thanks for your comment. Even though I think about work a lot, I love my work which makes it a little easier to think about!

    Hi Chris – Compassion is definitely necessary and the confidence to know when it’s time to take a break (and then take it!)

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