In August, our theme is Finding Your Balance. Can we find balance, guilt-free? I say, yes you can!
First, let’s consider what happens when you don’t have balance and why you need balance in your life.
When you are without balance, you’ll most likely feel depleted. Why? Because if you are only giving and never receiving, much like a cup or pitcher, you will eventually run out of what is keeping you (ful)filled.
For the purposes of this blog, we’ll reference giving for example, the giving of your energy. Where are you giving your energy? At home? At work? In philanthropic work? In unproductive thoughts? In healthy thoughts?
We Cannot Give What We Don’t Have
How we feel directly correlates with the level of energy we have. When we try and try again to pour from an empty cup, we continue the cycle of imbalance. When we make the time to replenish, as we focused on last month with our theme of Making Time For Renewal, we’re filling our energy cups, and therefore more likely to be able to be in balance.
Energy Attracts Like
Another very important reason we want to find balance in the energy we radiate is that if we are always drained and frazzled, we’re sending out into the universe the type of energy we don’t want to attract back. When we are balanced, the energy we radiate is more positive and therefore, we are more likely to attract positive energy back into our lives.
Let’s review 3 areas where most people struggle to create a guilt-free balance:
Guilt-Free At Home
Every time I visit my parents (they’re about 90 miles away), I spend the night. Within 30 minutes of my arrival, my mother will typically announce that something didn’t get cleaned. GUILT. I remind her that I don’t care and that having the house clean is not a requirement for me to visit. AND it’s still always cleaner than how I left in my own home.
I’m fortunate, I’ve lived by myself for most of my adulthood, and therefore I write this knowing that I have not truly experienced the level of guilt some of you have felt at home when you’ve been unable to meet everyone’s needs. The needs of those you love triumph over your own needs most of the time. I get that.
What guilt-free at home begins with is considering if, in reality, EVERYTHING you do has to be done by only YOU. What have you put on the list that only you can do? Meals? Laundry? Cleaning?
Home often becomes really imbalanced because most of you are also doing some other type of work (paid or unpaid) that equates to 20, 30, or 40+ hours per week. Whether it’s working outside the home on your career, rocking your “side-hustle”, pursuing degrees or credentials, or giving your time to a non-profit - something is eventually going to give.
After you’ve made that list of things that only you can do, really look at it. Are there opportunities to spread the work around? Do you have a partner or teenage children that live in the home who can contribute? Do you have the financial resources that will allow you to pay for help? Lastly, at the end of the day, what’s the worst that will happen if you don’t get it all done?
So what if there’s some dust, your bathroom is past due on cleaning, or you have some clutter? Most of us don’t live in a perfectly clean and organized home. If you’ve had a long day, are tired, and just need to relax – do it! Barring letting your children starve, there’s really nothing that must be done.
I know that some of you are cringing right now. I plead with you to find a few moments to be guilt-free and just let it be. It’s OK, I promise.
Guilt-Free At Work
The tug of war between home and work is a reality in every working person’s life. As we progress in our careers and become salaried (exempt from overtime) employees, we get more demands from our supervisors and leaders to be available. Finding guilt-free balance at work also requires us to look at what only we can do.
If you’re in a leadership position, you have a team to support the outcome of the work. Every industry is different, but there’s typically more than enough opportunity to delegate and distribute opportunities among those you lead guilt-free.
Guilt-free at work includes allowing yourself to take breaks, eat a real meal away from your desk, start at a respectable time and end your day at a decent time.
Although I’ve not had the struggles at home with balance, I have had the struggle of doing the simple items I just listed above. In my career and as I’ve worked from home, removing the blur between when home time starts and work time ends has been a challenge. Make a commitment to yourself that work stops at X time and do everything in your power to stick to it.
One of the biggest challenges is that our mobile devices keep us tethered to work, even when we are “not working." This is especially true if your work email goes to your phone or even if you have a separate device for work. Deciding when you will and will not be responding to emails, and then communicating that gets some of your balance back.
In today’s increasingly remote work environment, you might find it extra easy to sign back into a work system or email in the evenings to do a little more work or get caught up. Don’t do it!
Communication is important when you’re finding your balance at work. Ensuring those you work with know how you intend to keep balance at work is key. With their buy-in, you might find a support or accountability system that helps you each succeed in keeping balance.
Guilt-Free in Our Thoughts
The last but most important area we need to find a guilt-free zone is within our thoughts. As you know from previous posts on mindset, it’s our thoughts that drive our feelings, and many times those thoughts are triggered by a belief we have.
What belief do you have about the need to “do it all?" What have you been told by your parents, friends, coworkers, supervisors or others that has created a belief around who and what needs to be done?
When we allow ourselves to dwell on where we “think” we’ve fallen short, it's reflected in how we feel. This might show up in feeling that you’re not enough as you compare yourself to the non-existent “perfect” person that can “do it all." Sometimes these thoughts can drive feelings of sadness and frustration or anger.
For many of us, it's not an easy task to find guilt-free balance in our thoughts. The first thing to do is to start untangling your thoughts and feelings to identify what you are truly feeling. Labelling that feeling can help you determine what beliefs are driving it.
Once you know what beliefs are causing these thoughts and feelings of inadequacy or guilt, you can begin to reset your beliefs into a more balanced mindset.
As you’ve considered my guilt free home and work suggestions, how did you feel? When determining if you’re in balance, you're the only one that knows how you feel.
Balance may be different for each person and there’s not a singular success formula. How you feel will guide you in determining if you’re in balance or not.
Let us know how you’re finding balance guilt-free by sharing in the comments below.