On Living Life, Working Hard, and Staying Sane

My relationship with balance is a complicated one, and every so often it becomes a bit tumultuous. Maybe it’s the FOMO, but I can’t help but go crazy sometimes with all the things I have going on. My plate is always full, and there are times when I literally feel like I’m running around like a crazy woman trying to be everywhere I’m supposed to be and do everything I’m supposed to do. As a result, every so often I need to be reminded to slow down. Well it just so happens that slowing down is something I don’t do so well. This is (1) why it’s usually necessary for one of my homegirls to remind me and (2) why it’s even more important for me to do it. Here are some things that I’ve found most useful to do when I feel like my head is going to explode:

Take a deep breath. This is something that I always feel so stupid being told to do, but it seriously works. On Friday I was practically forced by one of my friends to stop, close my eyes, and just listen to myself breath. I’m always amazed by how something so silly could be so effective. It truly allows me to (begin to) quiet all of the anxious thoughts about things I need to get done that have me worked up.

Make a list. Typically when I’m stressed it’s because I have a million thoughts running through my head about everything that needs to be done and the lack of time I have to do it all. The best solution for this is to get it all written down. Again, it’s a very simple piece of advice, yet I often find myself needing to be reminded of it when I’m stressed.

Organize your schedule. I live by my calendar. A few years ago I never thought I’d be that person, but the reality is that I’m such a forgetful person that if something isn’t on my to-do list or in my calendar, it won’t get done and I won’t show up. Sometimes I find myself getting stressed because I feel like I’m supposed to be doing something at a particular time yet I can’t remember. Or I remember that I’m supposed to be doing some things over the next few days yet I haven’t taken the time to get it all down in one place. So right after I take the time to make my list I immediately work on my calendar.

Reschedule and cancel some things. I like to overbook myself for some reason. I often fail to grasp the fact that I cannot leave an event or meeting at 5pm and immediately make it to the next event that starts at 5pm. I’m working on this. In the meantime though, in organizing my calendar in the midst of my stress induced state of frenzy I always take the time to think about what I should be rescheduling and what I should be canceling. It’s all about my sanity and doing my best to maintain it.

Give yourself a break. I feel like a hypocrite telling you this one, but you can take it as good advice because it’s one I hear often enough and try – the operative word – to take heed to. Sometimes I get to a point where I begin losing steam and instead of allowing it to affect my performance at work, my commitment to my passions, or my ability to be there for loved ones when they need me I try to get away from it all for a short period of time. Everyone has their own idea of what it means to get away (in between real vacations, of course). For me it involves anything from a random day off of work to relax and reenergize to a night full of Grey’s Anatomy DVDs and a glass of wine. To each her own right?

Basically, my search for balance often comes once I’ve hit a brick wall of some kind and realize that I have no other option but to take a break. That’s usually when I’m reminded to put everything into context and tell myself that it’s not a big deal if I don’t attend that event this week that I really didn’t even want to go to. In the end, it’s all about my sanity. What good am to anyone I if I’m taken away in straight jacket?