As we start the new year, we often talk about bringing more balance into our everyday life and we promise that THIS YEAR will not be like every other year…THIS YEAR WILL BE DIFFERENT!
Let me start out by giving you some context as to who I am. I am the owner of a private group counseling practice (Peak Professional Group, LLC) with offices in Apex and Pittsboro, North Carolina. I am also a full-time therapist at my practice I am no expert on time-management or work-life balance and I have been on the struggle bus before. I was thinking about how to share my experiences with others as a therapist who is also a mother, someone’s partner in crime, daughter, sister, friend and colleague. I decided “wouldn’t it be fun to add one more thing to my never-ending to-do-list and write a weekly blog about everyday struggles from a therapist’s very raw and authentic perspective.
In order to maintain a good balance between your emotional health and getting through those everyday stressors like being a parent, working, studying, trying to figure out dinner for the 1,542nd time, you name it- balance is an absolute requirement.
Balance is about attempting to maintain some sense of equality between your normal responsibilities and the things that make you feel like an actual human being (dancing, cranking up the radio, watching your favorite sports team play on the tv without being interrupted a million times by your kids who don’t pay any attention to you until you plop yourself down to watch that game/show…you get the idea!).
It is a lot easier said than done, says the therapist who does NOT take her own advice most days. I have been in school and worked full time while also being a parent, sister, wife, friend and daughter for the majority of my adult life. If I have learned nothing, I have learned the art of multitasking (not always the best way to do things).
We all hit a wall, eventually. In fact, sometimes it feels like the struggle bus you were driving actually rammed into the brick wall. For me, it that moment when I am looking for my cell with it in my hand or I have managed to leave the house, yet again, with mismatched shoes (in my defense, they all look the same in the dark when you have NOT had enough coffee in the morning).
So, how do we create more balance in our lives when we are running around like literal idiots all day long, trying to get all of our “tasks and work” done so our boss does not yell at us, forgetting our kids at the daycare center and then getting that super embarrassing lecture from the daycare provider about “being more responsible and respecting their time” only when we finally get our shit together and pick them up, to take them through the local fast food drive-thru to get out of feeling super guilty? We create awareness:
1. Notice how you feel when you are stressed out- our behavior and bodies do not lie. Some people start to get sick, others forget things (events, appointments) or misplace their stuff.
2 .Begin to plan time to do things that you actually enjoy (play time)- Set aside, even a few minutes, each day to dedicate to play. Play can be anything from singing in the car to reading a chapter of your favorite book to even spacing out in front of Netflix for 30 minutes. Maybe you need to actually schedule this into your everyday routine? Either way, get it done!
3. Pay it Forward- Sometimes, we don’t have a lot of time in our day to dedicate to our own self-care but….. ya know what? We can pay-it-forward by paying for someone’s gas at the gas station or a coffee for the next person in line. This, not only helps you to feel good, it also sets forth a chain reaction (you just made someone else’s day).
4.Get Involved- You know all of those mindless hours you spend scoping out the latest news or gossip on Facebook? Facebook has this super cool category called “Events” where people and organizations post upcoming events! You can check out this section and try something new in your local community. I tried a Profound Profanity Festival from an event created on Facebook and learned the art of saying “F&$K It” to all of the negativity in my own life!
5.Pay Attention-Take care of your responsibilities in a mindful way. This means that instead of forgetting how we even got to work, we pay very close attention to our surroundings. We observe our environment and keep our minds focused on the task at hand instead of the other hundred things that we are not going to get done because we set ridiculously high expectations of ourselves.
6.Play More- When all is said and done, it is important to remain balanced in our lives by incorporating more playful things and becoming more mindful of ourselves. This is important if we want to maintain good, healthy relationships with those around us and with ourselves. We have to learn to take care of ourselves through balancing our responsibilities with our emotional needs.
If you are interested in counseling services for yourself or a loved one, we are here to help. Peak Professional Group, LLC offers individual, couples and family counseling services. We accept most major insurances and are dedicated to helping you in your personal journey towards an improved life! Give us a call at 919-335-3105 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Samantha Mahon, M.S.,NCC, LPC
Samantha is usually the driver of the struggle bus but also thoroughly enjoys being a passenger on someone else's struggle bus.