Finding balance in crazy times

It’s easy to feel out of balance in crazy, hectic times (post-election, holiday, end-of-year). But as crazy as the world feels, balance comes from within you. It’s not what’s going on around you; it’s what you do and how you react to things. Balance is something you have control over.

Not convinced? Try this.

Sit quietly for five minutes (set a timer) and think about what the most important things are in your life that help you feel balanced. Five minutes isn’t long and that’s intentional. You don’t need deep thinking on this. You know what’s important to you.

Jot your ideas down as you go. Your list could be three things or twenty things. What matters is that this is your list of whatever comes up in five minutes.

If you’re short of ideas, when I did this exercise today, here’s what I came up with. Maybe this will spur something for you.

  • Spending fun time with family, friends, and my spouse
  • Being creative
  • Doing good, helpful, meaningful work – both for pay and as a volunteer
  • Keeping a stable, warm, welcoming home
  • Spending time with animals
  • Being healthy – including eating great food, running, and meditation

Now take a second sheet of paper, write down your first “most important thing”, and draw a big circle around it. In the circle, jot down activities you are doing that support that. Let’s say you wrote down family. In the circle, you might include recent travel, connecting on facebook, a phone call, a family dinner, etc.

Take each of the other important things and do the same thing – the important thing goes in the center of the page, and the bubble around it is filled with current action items.

Now look over your bubbles. Is there something that’s important to you that didn’t come up in the five minutes? Add it.

And look at the action items. Are there some bubbles you struggled to fill in? Maybe there are things you’ve done in the past that you haven’t had time for recently. That bubble needs help! This part of your life is important to you. What can you do this week to get an action item into that bubble?

If you feel out of balance this week, use your bubbles to help prioritize your time. If spending time with your friends is important and you haven’t been doing that lately, pick up the phone and invite someone to lunch or dinner. Or maybe you’ve been so busy, you haven’t taken the time to exercise. Or eat right. Or do something creative.

What you can cut from your schedule this week that didn’t make the most important list to give you more time for a bigger priority?

Every time you make a choice, your brain feels powerful. You are choosing what you want to do and how to spend your time. That’s balance. And it helps prevent crazy. And you get stuff done you want to get done. And you feel good doing it because you know it’s a priority.

I was going to write about trees today and how important it is to go outside. But it’s 14 degrees, and feeling balanced, and cozy, won out. But here’s a shot of a forest near us from just a short month ago. I’ll go back there when it warms up. Brr! Happy winter!





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