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Episode 55: The Art of Balance for Better Mental Health

Hello and welcome! Today I want to start with something I find myself repeating to many of my clients, especially when they’re searching for the reasons why a series of negative events has happened to them. I remind them, “There's nothing wrong with you, just like there’s nothing wrong with me. We’re all just walking our own paths and looking for those things that make us feel good, like a whole person.”

Today’s topic is relevant for all of us, but especially my ladies out there. Have you ever felt torn between your personal time, career path, and your social obligations? Feel like you’re constantly on a tightrope, balancing your own needs with those around you? If your answer is yes, believe me, you’re not alone. Let me share a bit of my own journey. I remember all too well a time when my calendar was bursting at the seams. Family, friends, work, everything you can imagine. One evening, I was rushing from work to a family gathering and I just felt something snap, and my energy, my spirit, just drained away. I realized then something needed to change.

In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to lose sight of our own needs. We’re constantly pulled in a million directions. Women especially. We’re often expected to wear multiple hats, aren't we? Daughter, mother, sister, friend, partner, professional…the list goes on and on. But who are we to ourselves in the midst of all of that? This imbalance chips away at our mental health, self-knowledge, and vibrancy. We can’t give what we don’t have, and pretending like the last, cold gulp of dregs at the bottom of the coffee cup are just as good as that first fresh sip isn’t doing anyone any favors.

So, how can we find that elusive balance? It’s not by delegating precisely equal hours for our work, social, and personal lives. Balance is not an invariable equation. It's adaptive and intuitive. It’s about having enough time to do what we truly love. What truly matters to us. First, we need to prioritize. Remember, we can do anything, but not everything. Let’s get clear on what matters to us most. What are your non-negotiables? For me, it’s my health, my peace of mind, and quality time with people I truly love and who love me back. Ask yourself, what are yours?

Once we have our priorities set, we need to protect them, so let’s set up some boundaries. Remember, boundaries aren’t walls, they’re fences with gates. They are tools to ensure that our time and our energy are respected. So, the next time you’re asked to do something that interferes with your priorities, take a breath and gather the courage to say no to them (and yes to yourself!). I’ve learned a powerful phrase: “No is a complete sentence”. It doesn’t need justification, it doesn’t need explanation.

Next, let’s make time for ourselves. Schedule self-care just like you would any other important appointment. Let me tell you, I book a mani-pedi every three weeks on Friday morning. That’s where you’ll find me. And every six weeks, you’ll find me getting my eyebrows done. Why do I do that? Why do I schedule them ahead of time? (I promise you, I have them scheduled through the end of the year.) It’s because it’s MY time. It’s where I get to stop the day-to-day hubbub, everything else that is using up my energy, and really pour back into who I am and what I’m all about. Everybody who knows me knows that my mani-pedi time is sacred. Block out Me Time in your calendar. It can be as simple as a 15 minute meditation in the morning or an hour for your favorite book in the evening. Protect this time fiercely. You'll feel so much better.

We also need to cultivate mindfulness, being present in what we’re doing when we’re doing it. When you’re at work, focus on work. When you’re with family or friends, be truly and fully there. And when it’s Me Time, be with yourself. This is a skill that we all have to learn, so don’t be discouraged if you get distracted at the beginning. The more you practice, the more naturally it will happen.

Now I’d like to invite you to join me in a brief moment of tranquility. Wherever you are, find a comfortable position. Remember, you are creating a sacred time, an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of life. Take a deep breath in. Hold it. And let it go. Feel the tension leaving your body. Inhale peace, exhale tension. Inhale love, exhale doubt. Close your eyes and do this a few more times, at your own pace. Now imagine a scale, one side represents your personal time, and the other your social life. See it tilting and swaying? That’s ok. Life is a dance, a balance. Now imagine a glowing light from your heart reaching out to the scale. As it touches the scale, it begins to balance. Calmly, swaying less and less, until it finds a peaceful middle. Breathe in this image. Feel its peace pouring right into you. You’re not striving for perfection here, but harmony. A gentle rhythm that goes with your unique self. Hold on to this image, this feeling. Know that this balance, this peace is inside of you. You have the power to call upon it, to strive for it, and to achieve it. Let’s take a couple more deep breaths. Inhale, pause, exhale. Inhale, pause, exhale. When you’re ready, gently bring your awareness back to where you are. Open your eyes. Remember this feeling of balance. This calm.You can return to it whenever you need to.

Balance is personal. What works for me might not work for you, so experiment, explore, and most importantly, be gentle with yourself. It’s ok to tip off the balance sometimes. What’s important is that we continue to seek it out. As we wrap up today’s post, let’s take a moment to reflect. What’s one small step you can take towards achieving balance in your life? What’s one boundary you can set? What’s one priority you can protect? What’s important is that we’re aware and that we strive for balance. We got this!


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