SURVIVE: Balance or Burst? 5 Ways to Embrace Balance.

By Susan "Honey" Good

I daydream as I wait for a table in the long line at the Original Pancake House. I am with my darling granddaughter, Skylar, who arrived from out of town for a two-day visit, and am feeling calm for the first time in two weeks.

I think to myself, “I can hardly believe what I was able to accomplish in the past two weeks, but not without experiencing that gut-wrenching physical and emotional feeling that I was going to burst. This is not good.”

Yes, I got everything done—but at what price?  I thought to myself “I am clearly in need of an intervention.” I look down at my red kabbalah string tied around my wrist and realize that while it guards and protects me, it doesn’t have the power to teach me how to live a balanced life. I know it is up to me. God help me!

I have feeling that many of you are in the same boat to some degree. So many hats we have to wear… and so much tumult in between that jumps out of nowhere!

And as I am deep in thought writing this, Orchid rubs up against my leg signaling me she doesn’t feel well and has to go out again. I owe e-mails to a dozen people. I have thank- you notes that are piling up. I haven’t confirmed our theatre ticket times. I have wedding and birthday gifts to buy. Worst of all—I misplaced my credit card. 

Sound familiar?  

I want to master the clock and be on top of my responsibilities. I want to stop feeling like I am on overload. I think many of you are carbon copies of me.

So what to do?  Here’s what I decided to do—informed by the tried-true common sense I have developed and honed over my long, rich and tumultuous life. 

  1. If something can be done in five minutes, I am not going to procrastinate. 

    Nike has it right. I’m going to make their mantra—Just Do It—mine. I always want to put the little things off, but they add up. When I let all the little five-minute things pile up, they put me in burst mode, not balance mode. So instead, I will try and discipline myself and channel the feeling of relief I’ll get from knowing something is done. 
  2. Own my choices.

    I am going to learn to say, “This will not work out for me.” It will be hard to get out, but it conveys everything. In other words, “I will not let myself fall into martyrdom.” I will feel less beleaguered. I will have more time to do what I need or want to do. I know I will feel more balanced if I can achieve this goal.
  3. What about physical and mental energy?

    A few days ago I had deadlines because I knew Skylar was coming for a visit and I didn't want to cut into my time with her. You, too, have deadlines for this or that reason. I ask myself, “what part of the day do I have the most mental and physical energy to accomplish what’s most important?”  I am freshest in the morning. The only thing I will do before I start my daily responsibility of writing is make a fresh pot of coffee. I will resolve to do a few hours of non-stop writing before I take on my the easy tasks, like making phone calls, sending out emails, hitting the treadmill and so on. I know I will feel so much more in balance—and energized—with a new routine where I put the most important things first.

    Am I getting to you, dear readers? Are you seeing yourself on a clearer path to achieving balance rather than burst? 
  4. I will say to myself, “I can allow myself to quit if I am not fulfilled.” 

    If you are not fulfilled, I say quit. Why? We can use the time for something we enjoy, like spending more time with our family. 
  5. I will simplify my elective burdens.

    My daughter asks me to make my delicious guacamole. I decide I should lighten my load. I thank her for loving my recipe and explain to her I am on overload and will bring my favorite brand of guacamole. My burden will be less, I will have more balance in my life and I will feel good. Makes sense? 

I know every day cannot be balanced in a day…or even a week or a month. I am a realist. But our days can be more in sync with the few easy ideas I listed. I already feel emotionally and physically better. Now all I have to do is just do it---balance or burst.