I have been really enjoying this month’s theme I have to say! Well and I was the one that chose it obviously. But I want to thank you for the opportunity to get to think about this wonderful and interesting topic with you.
I also wanted to add before I jump into a brief summary of what we’ve covered this month of BALANCE so far —- lest you think my life is PERFECTLY balanced and thus I am able to stand here up on my soapbox and tell you what ideal you should be holding your life up to AND what standard it should be at—- this is so SO far from the case!
There are so many NOT perfect, nor balanced things in my life. Let me count the ways. There is my hectic full time day job. There is the mess of my tiny apartment that I can’t seem to get myself to purge and organize. There is all the things I ate yesterday that was totally off my fitness nutrition routine, and boy can I feel it this morning! And much more. My relationships are not perfect. Etc.
I may not be The Expert on A Perfect Life. Actually I just flipped through a quaint book at Muji last night on decorating one’s home ‘imperfectly.’ But I am really good at planning, breaking things down into understandable parts, being a great cheerleader and being uber understanding and supportive. And sometimes that’s all one needs. At any rate, I don’t need to convince you why you’re here. I’m preaching to the choir I think!
So far, this month we’ve talked about what an ideal balanced day or year might look like to you. What parts of your life right now aren’t in balance. And certainly any of these weekly journaling prompts I’ve provided can be extended or repeated.
This week I want to talk about how can we make our lives more in balance. I broke it down into 3 basic categories.
1. Do more of what we enjoy
2. Do less of what we don’t enjoy
3. Consciously cut out toxicity
These might seem oversimplified. But I’m always about keeping it simple! Our lives are complicated enough as it is.
Do More of What You Enjoy
First, what things that when you do them lights you up? Meditative activities like knitting? Being active outdoors? Driving through countryside? Spending time with the grandkids? Curled up with a good book.
Pick your top 3. Or you can do one 3x! Up to you.
Now, assign a time duration for each activity. Is it something you can do for 15 minutes? Or going for a swim will necessarily take 1hr including shower and travel? Maybe pick 1 activity that takes shorter amount of time and 1 that’s longer.
Now we’re going to put them in your calendar. Because if it’s not in your week then it’s not going to happen. Am I right? Look at your planner and think about when is a good time to do these activities. We all have a natural rhythm to our days. Some of us have lots of energy at night. Some of us are morning people. Most people have a basic sense of what they are in that general sense. I also like to think about it more specifically, like when is a good time to journal? Evening or early morning? When is a good time to work on my purging? And think about your energy level at different times of the day. I like to move my body in the middle of the day so I’m not sedentary continuously all day.
Do LESS of What You Don't Enjoy
Again, sounds overly simple and obvious right? I promise I'm not being trite here. Let's do a brain dump of all the things that you don't enjoy doing in your week. Some of it you simply may not have much of a choice, I'm sorry to say...! Like, laundry, or the dishes or other housecleaning chores. I will try to manage them best I can, like doing laundry as infrequently as possible (since it's not in my building it's better to let it build up and then go), or with the dishes I do the opposite which is doing them as frequently as possible.
Let's do a brain dump just like you did a few days ago of the things you love doing, but this time all the not so pleasant parts of your days. They can even be things like your commute, dealing with a particular friend that always seems to leave a cloud of negative dust around you after they leave or hang up the phone, family dealings, etc. Try to be as specific as you can!
Now I'd like you to circle two of them. These will be the 2 things that we will try to cut down on. Pick one that feels easier and one that feels harder to do. We are going to strategize how we can make the things you don't enjoy doing either cut out altogether or make them less painful.
Question: 1. Is this absolutely essential? Yes/No/Maybe
2. If it's not absolutely essential, can I cut it out? OR is there another way for me to get the job done? (For example, commute to work via public transport versus car, or bike versus public transport).
I'd like for you to schedule the alternative method for next week or the next time you encounter this situation. For example: Let's say you have a friend that calls you and almost always takes up 95% of the talking time. Sound familiar? Every time you reluctantly pick up the phone (because you feel bad if you don't-- you've been friends forever -- and figure might as well get it over with) and then are exhausted 40 minutes later! You think of a strategy this time --- have a great excuse ready at the 15 minute mark (have something on the stove, gotta run, so glad you called!) and give it a go! BONUS journaling prompt if you want is: What are all the feelings that come up when thinking about trying your alternative method?
Your 7 Day/ 10 Minute Journaling Prompts:
Day 1: Do a brainstorm dump of all the things you enjoy doing. Circle your top 3.
Day 2: Assign time length to each activity. Think about your energy level in the day.
Day 3: Schedule them into your calendar.
Day 4: REST /SELF-CARE
Day 5: Do a brain dump of all the things in your week that you don't enjoy! Circle your top 2.
Day 6: Strategize alternative ways to do the same thing. Give it a try next week!
Day 7: REST /SELF-CARE