If your frenetic life is no longer serving you, it’s time to make a change.
There’s not much support or enthusiasm for balance in today’s American culture. We strive to work as hard as we can and exercise mercilessly to be better looking and have more material wealth than our neighbors. It’s counter-cultural to want to work less, exercise gently, look good enough, and have enough to meet our needs – much less to have serious goals unrelated to stretching the bounds of capitalism.
If there is a silver lining to the recession of the first decade of the new century, it’s that many of us have learned that there is more to life than money, job status and working 40+ hour work-weeks.
In a culture, where more is better, it’s not surprising that so many of us struggle with addictions as a means of coping. Sex, food, booze, drugs, over-work (pick your poison) allow us to escape from crushing demands and fears about how unmanageable our lives have become. Many of us suffer from anxiety but don’t recognize it, because it’s so prevalent in our culture.
Finding the right shades of grey
Most of us gravitate toward black and white, when grey is usually the right solution. It’s just difficult to choose what shade of grey is right for us. How hard should we push ourselves at exercise? How much of ourselves are we willing to give to our work? When is it time to quit being so responsible and take care of ourselves rather than others and the never-ending lists at work? These are tough choices, but worthy of serious consideration.
Recovering Type A’s are familiar with the common tensions that prevent us from being in balance:
- Pressures from our employer and others to work more than we want to
- Social expectations to look slim, feminine, professional, wrinkle-free ….
- Hesitance to put ourselves first in face of kudos for doing more than our share
- Stereotypes of women who are lionized for being martyrs to their families’ needs
- Inability to find the right equilibrium between perfection and “good enough”
- Additional stresses during tough times, including: death, divorce, financial challenges, disappointments related to children, etc.
I’ve written a book to help women who are stretched too thin to help them define their own priorities and understand the rewards of matching their intentions and their actions. We spend a lot of time defining career and work goals. And I try to be intentional about other aspects of my life as well.
Create a vision for how your life will look when it’s in balance
This year, I set these goals by envisioning that I am doing what makes me feel most balanced:
- Work is challenging, enjoyable and I am appreciated.
- I am spiritually fulfilled by connecting with myself and my higher power.
- I build emotional resilience by asking for help when I need it and taking responsibility for my own role in my life.
- Being physically fit is a top priority; I don’t suffer from over- or under-use of my body.
- I’m intellectually stimulated by mental challenges at work and at play.
- Socially, I’m not isolated or over-committed with too many social obligations.
- Financially, my income matches intentionally set goals and obligations.
- The amount of time I devote to family obligations is in synch with the amount of time I want to devote to other family members.
- I take time to do things that are just for fun and are personally rewarding.
Webinar: Bring Your Type A Life into Balance
I’ve learned that getting my life in balance requires vision, structure and discipline. I’ll lead a SheTaxi webinar at noon on Wednesday, April 25 to share more details about what I’ve learned. Click here to enroll.
I want to help you figure out ways to align what you want in your life with your actions. The webinar includes exercises that have been helpful to me in achieving my goal of finding balance in an unapologetically unbalanced, modern American world.