Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.–Brian Tracy

Balance. You search for it every day. In fact you might chase balance by adding and taking away tasks or moving responsibilities. After you tweak your sense of stability to perfection, it doesn’t seem to work the next day and you start all over again. Sound familiar?

Looking for balance can become an obsession.  In occupational therapy sessions, one task is to take a look at where your time is going during the day. The point is how choices affect where you are spending the most time in work or play. I clearly remember a patient who was very anxious and experienced panic attacks. “I keep searching for that balance in my life, where everything works out perfectly, “Barbara said during a group occupational therapy session. “You know where everything goes just right; I get all my work done and have enough time for my family.”

The bottom line is that change happens every second of life. What might have worked yesterday may not work exactly the same way today.

Is it possible to find balance in your life?

Let’s explore what balance is in relations to stress management. When thinking of the word balance, most people think in terms of being equal with no opposing forces. The power to decide is an alternative meaning more applicable to stress. You see, balance begins with how you see situations. For example, perfectionism allows thoughts to constantly twirl with mind chatter. Expecting the same thing to work each and every day sets you up for frustration and defeat. Shift how you look at time.

Get out a calendar. I love a weekly/monthly calendar. I can look at my week in advance and mark off those things I am already committed to doing. These include appointments of any kind, special events, travel or volunteer work. You can visually see how your week looks once you have filled out your calendar for the week. How many hours did you want to spend working, playing, self-improvement, with your family? This will help you say yes or no to that next project.

Shift your thinking. I often hear “I just don’t have time” or “there’s just not enough time left in the day to get everything done.”  Maybe your choice is to put things off and do them later. Or, you are looking for the perfect time to get something done. I’ll share a quote that really helps me keep time in perspective:

“Man maintains his balance, poise, and sense of security only as he is moving forward.”–Maxwell Maltz

There are still 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in a week. Time is not the enemy. Think of the definition of balance again: the power to decide. Now you have empowered yourself to make the best choices possible in the upcoming week.

Add in the variables and leave room for the unexpected.  Now that you have empowered yourself to make the best choices with your time, you can have time and balance the unexpected things that are bound to pop up.

Be clear about what balance means to you. Then the search for balance will be over. Dance with the changes and reduce your stress quickly.

17 thoughts on “Searching for Balance: What Are You Really Looking For?”

  1. Great article, Lisa!!  I love your message about having the power to decide!!  Very true and very empowering!
    I also see that you use Young Living Essential Oils in your stress relief coaching.  I LOVE them.  They are also very empowering AND very relaxing at the same time!

    1. Lisa Birnesser

      Thanks, Melanie! Yes, there is not a day that goes by without Young Living Oils!

  2. Hmmmm….maybe because I've owned my own business for 14 years, but I have a hard time buying into the concept of a 'balanced life'. I think there are many times in our life – we start a business, the birth of a baby, we are working really hard to achieve some personal life goal – where we must be necessarily 'out of balance' for awhile to achieve something worthwhile.

  3. I"ve never really asked myself if I have a balanced life. You got me thinking…hmmm…I do believe I live a fairly balanced life. As balanced as it can be with a business, daughters, granddaughter, social life, etc. If balanced is happy and content, then I'm balanced. Thanks Lisa

  4. Excellent post as always 🙂 I find it a struggle sometimes to find balance! Thanks for the gentle reminder 🙂

  5. I don't worry so much about "balance" because that means different things to different people.  I think about how satisfied I feel about what I'm doing, how I spend my time.  I totally agree with you, there's no such thing as "not enough time" to get whatever done.  Just shift the priorities and drop what doesn't satisfy you.  We all have the same amount of time.  The truer statement is "I have not taken the time."

  6. My whole blog is about creating a well-balanced lifestyle, and I still haven't  achieved it!! 🙂 One trick I advocate is filling in your calendar (after the firm commitments) with the things that are really important to you. The wants, rather than the needs. Laundry will always be there, but if reading a book to your kid is what makes your heart sing, you have to schedule that in and make it a priority.

    Great post – thanks!

  7. It wasn't until I put my biz development time on my calendar that this time became protected and really enabled me to move my biz forward.  Previously, I had given myself my most low-energy time for biz development — Friday afternoons.  Suddenly one day it occurred to me that I needed to save some of my best thinking time for me and not give it all to clients. I haven't quite yet created balance, but making a commitment to my calendar has taken me much further along than I was achieving previously. 🙂

  8. I always find myself struggling with finding time to run. This helps me to realize I should build it in to my day. Thanks so much!

  9. Lisa this article made my heart smile.  I love your passion for helping people bring balance to their lives.  It's so important and you do such a wonderful job!

  10. I love the Maxwell Maltz quote, he is awesome!  I do think that balance is something I am constantly in search of.  It seems to be just a part of the journey of life, rather than something I truly ever conquer and can check off of my to-do list.  You have some great tips for finding balance, and I love your conclusion – figure out what it means for you.  There isn't a one-size-fits-all here.  Most people likely feel I'm pretty out of balance, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

  11. I am a firm believer in balance in life!!!  When I worked outside the home (for the man   : D) I found it easier to maintain my balance…However, now that I work from home it takes much more discipline!  I find myself over extended in many different directions.  I have a hard time saying "no" especially for good causes and sometimes I end up making poor personal choices as these decision effect my business and my family.  Also, I have to be very protective of the time I have allotted for each activity in my life…For instance, Tues & Thurs are for my son…I try to focus on him and spend quality time on those days…Mon, Wed and Fri, I quilt.  Sat and Sun…I spend time with Clint and Bryan (or Bryan and Clint spend time together I get to go work on "my" quilt projects.  However, at any time – the laundry, dishes, clutter etc. call my name and I can get side tracked and not do what I need to do that day.  I also find that now I need to be more specific on my time allotment…for instance instead of just quilting – I need to make time for actual quilting, advertising and organizing the business etc…  Wow – you would think having your own business would be easier, but it's not…just more fulfilling : D.

  12. Love your alternative definition "The power to decide." I read once, and I can't remember where offhand that striving to be balanced with all things equal is doing ourselves a disservice, because we should be spending our time on the things most important to us not portioning it out in a "minute for job, minute for family" kind of way.

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