I'm the first to admit it. I don't do balance very well sometimes. Well, most of the time. Yoga has been the only space of refuge for me from a very busy life balancing motherhood, being a partner, maintaining friendships and occasionally actually finding time to be with myself.
We know how out of sync feels. It's different for everyone, but for me it's an ache between my shoulder blades, a furrow in my brow, a fuse so short that 'crying over spilled milk' becomes a mega-meltdown. And no, that's not the 4 year old.
So how do we stop the mayhem. get on top of things, and make sure the most important things get done? How do we stay calm when the to-do list keeps growing, and we can only seem to manage half the items there, or less? A huge key to this is defining boundaries. In yoga we play with muscle energy. This is the determined but responsive activation of our muscles to support our joints and enhance our body's natural alignment principles. It's work. Sometimes bloody hard work. But paradoxically the more work we put into holding our bodies well, the greater freedom we experience in our ability to move through our full potential for range of motion.
In our everyday lives the muscle energy translates to supporting the parts of our world that are most important. Clearly blocking out quality time with the family on the calendar, making sure you take a lunch break, and making sure you're inspiring yourself with great books, programs or friends every day are just a start.
Here's a few easy starters:
1. Have little lunch & big lunch. Here in Queensland at primary school we had 'little lunch' (morning tea) and 'big lunch' (recess). Taking time to eat, maybe alongside a friend, and to get outdoors and play or read something just for fun is a great way to boost your energy and refresh your mind. Take 30-40 mins in the middle of the day (I know you're SO BUSY, you don't have the time. Try it. You'll see), and eat well, and do something JUST for fun. No work, nothing productive. Heck, maybe even take a nap. Meditate, listen to music or go for a stroll, and you'll feel a whole lot more ready for your afternoon.
2. Set clear work/home boundaries. Do you check your email first thing in the morning and last thing at night? Yep. me too. Trying to get that website update done while the kids or partner can't find their socks? Not a great use of your time. We are lucky to have such great technology these days, but be very wise about how and when you use it. I recommend turning off sound notifications for your email and social media, and set aside times when you can be focussed on responding to work colleagues, clients and friends when they have your full attention.
3. Find a productivity buddy, and check in with each other daily. My friend and I leave each other a short daily message outlining what we've achieved, where we feel blocked, and how we want to move forward tomorrow. Find someone who shares your enthusiasm for finding balance in your life and coach each other through the ups & downs.
In yoga when we're learning balance poses, we usually fall over, a lot. You will probably fall off the horse a few times at first when you're identifying habits that contribute to your overwhelm, and when a deadline looms that you haven't set yourself up for. Be kind to yourself, check in with someone who gets you. Breath, rest, and start again. You can do this!