Photo: Skip Armstrong
“I just need to find a way to balance it all.”
I hear some version of this statement over and over again in my conversations with women. It seems we’re all working hard to try to strike this idyllic place of balance. Where we feel like we have a handle on it all. Where we are deeply connected to and contented in our lives.
So how do we actually find this balanced state? At Luminary, we absolutely love to help women cultivate an inner steadiness that allows us to feel whole and grounded in the midst of life’s demands and distractions.
A woman’s life in Western society is everything but simple. Bills to pay, errands to run, events to plan, activities to attend, people to keep up with, work to accomplish, families to feed, appointments to keep, social media to check, housework to do, and health to maintain. This chronic busyness and attachment to productivity not only challenges our sense of balance, but it also destroys a soulful sense of simplicity, contentment, and wholeness.
THE KEY TO BALANCE
The key to finding a sense of balance in your life is understanding the interplay between effort and replenishment. Just as a bird has two separate wings that work together to make it fly, so do our lives need an ongoing interaction between expending energy toward the work, commitments, and relationships that make our lives meaningful (wing #1) and also the intentional practice of restoring our minds, hearts, bodies, and spirits (wing #2). We need to move both outward to expend our energy meaningfully while also moving inward to renew our energy- every day, in a flexible, adaptable way.
Moving toward balance means committing to consistently checking in with this interplay of effort and replenishment as a central core to the rhythm of your day. When one wing is gaining too much attention, the balance is off.
So here are 5 Luminary Tips to help you find the sense of balance you crave:
1. Identify Actions that Refuel You
High quality nourishing foods, ample rest, joyful play, quality time with people we care about, journaling or time to reflect, mindfulness practices, therapeutic movement, quiet time outside, pleasurable non-productive activities–these are all examples of ways to invest in restoring your energy and strengthening the “wing” that is often neglected in our lives. Be sure to block out short periods of time in your schedule every day to prioritize these actions. Choose to see these appointments with yourself for restoration as having equal importance in your life alongside your work in the world, fulfilling your commitments, or essential time with the people you care about.
2. Set Your Compass Daily
Set aside 5-10 minutes everyday to check in with yourself. To set your heart and mind toward what matters most to you. Not sure how to do this or need a little help getting there? Use our Morning Kickstart Activity as a guided practice to get your priorities straight, and connect in a meaningful way with yourself every day. Sign up for our newsletter to get the audio link of this powerful practice sent directly to your inbox.
Most of us live lives of multiplicity rather than simplicity. When we buy into the stressful yet strangely comfortable place of overcommitment, we end up feeling less whole and out of balance. So push a project deadline into next month. Commit to one less social invitation a week. Limit email and social media to short, planned times in your day (once or twice if possible!). Be OK with investing in time only with relationships you really want to cultivate. Overcome FOMO (fear of missing out) and get good at graciously declining other social invites. Ask yourself: “will this fuel my soul or will it pull me further out of balance?” when you feel pulled to commit to one more activity.
Here’s another Luminary article that will help you tame the feeling of overwhelm with more ideas on how to keep things simple.
4. Let Go
Choose carefully what possessions you surround yourself with so your home and office environment can be free of any excess possessions. Everything you own takes time to maintain and care for–this is vital energy you could be directing toward something else you care more about! Let go of what you don’t need, what you don’t love, and what you don’t use regularly in your home and at work. Have some fun finding out how little, not how much, you can be content with.
Give away or sell clothing you don’t wear, that doesn’t fit your body well as it is now in this stage of your life, or that you don’t love. Plan time to go through shelves, closets, and drawers to donate or sell items you have multiples of, or that you don’t use regularly.
5. Invest in the ritual of retreat
We can’t encourage you enough to intentionally carve out times periodically throughout the year for inward connection and intention setting. To get outside of the daily grind, and to get a birds eye view of your health, your life, and your relationships. To gain insight into how you can relate more skillfully to sustain balance in your day to day experiences. And to make sure the efforts of your “wings” are balanced and aligned with what will make your life truly satisfying.
This could be as simple as setting aside a day or half day every quarter to spend restful time alone or with a soul sister in a beautiful place with writing materials, books, and/or simple activities to guide your reflection and restoration.
Or let us guide you in a deeply nourishing and empowering week of personal development and mind-body healthcare education on the next Be Luminary Retreat!
Remember Luminary–it’s normal to go out of balance. Balance isn’t actually a place to arrive at and stay. It’s just not possible. Priorities change, circumstances shift, resources ebb and flow, and relationships fluctuate in terms of what’s needed to stay invested. Our goal as women is not to strive rigidly to maintain balance, but rather to increase our awareness of when we’re out of it, and then move with grace and flexibility back toward it. It’s the gentle yet intentional effort of doing the things that bring us fulfillment and allowing both of our “wings” to gain the strength they need to soar toward a wholehearted, contented, and enjoyable life.