Women are innate relationship builders. We thrive off of personal connection and a relational leadership style. Society expects us to be the caregiver, the cheerleader, the overachiever. We place these expectations on ourselves too. You may be guilty of the color coded calendar, showing your sister friends how busy you are with school and involvements. You may be a soccer mom with your nights and weekends devoted to your kids’ games hoping for one hour to decompress to achieve “me” time, but you are burnt out. Giving from an empty vessel.
Yes, women are superheroes with all the hats we wear but we are not the greatest at practicing balance. Balance is not just getting a bunless burger on Saturday night so you can have fries. Balance is having white space on your calendar to do something for you.
Can balance be achieved? Balance is a choice. It is not just leaving work on time, it is creating space to be human, process, and hit pause. Balance has become a workplace buzz word, but at the end of the day, if a project needs to get done or a timeline needs to be met, your job is the priority.
I feel as women we are conditioned to say “yes”. Especially if you are a collegiate woman, you feel obligated to say “yes” to everything in hopes of it leading to a new opportunity or a boost to your resume. Before you know it, you are burnt out. You are scheduling time to brush your teeth and shower. So how do we change the way we are conditioned?
1 - Evaluate what you are giving your time and energy to. Yes, there are some obligations that are a must. But what can you do for yourself each day to bring energy back to you? You cannot give from an empty vessel. Maybe there is a club/organization you attend once a week as a member. Evaluate if it brings you joy. How are you benefitting from the experience? Is it okay to get this hour back in your day? Remember, You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.
2- It’s okay to say no. I find as we practice saying no, we are protecting ourselves from going into overdrive. We are creating healthy boundaries to thrive and strengthening our intuition to know what matters and what will help/hurt us in the long run. When we stretch ourselves thin, we neglect sleeping, eating, exercising, and living a balanced life.
3 - What are you doing for you? Yes you. You are all you have at the end of the day, so what are you doing to enjoy life? This is part of achieving balance. I find I like to introvert during the lunch hour. I have one hour to “refresh” and not think about work. Sometimes I go for a walk, eat lunch alone, read, or listen to a podcast. I need this hour for me. Maybe this is unrealistic for some of you. I love my morning routine. Again, it is something I do for me. The first cup of coffee is so euphoric. I turn on the TV to see what’s happening, I journal or I read. This is helping me achieve balance so I can be the best version of me as I start my day.
Balance can exist if you choose it. But it is a choice you need to make on a daily basis. It is so easy to get buried in projects at work, it can become addicting to get ahead, and it can become a coping mechanism for things happening in your life. The work will be there tomorrow.
Instead of comparing our colored calendars, let’s compare white space. White space is the time to breathe, think, process, and be creative. White space is balance. Let's practice saying no and supporting our friends who turn down an ice cream date or choose a night in. It is okay to be selfish with your time.
Using the balance lens, how will you live each day to its ultimate good?