For the second edition of The Kind of Woman, the series Jeanne of Shop Sweet Things and I launched last month, we decided to tackle an issue we have a feeling plagues most of you, as it most certainly is a challenge for us: BALANCE.*

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There’s a lot of talk about balance out there these days. How we need it. How it’s the holy grail to happiness. How it will keep us young, fresh, friendly and amazingly zen. But as I sat {and sat and sat and sat} thinking about what advice I’d give about trying to achieve balance I realized: do I even understand what balance really means?

What is balance anyway?? In today’s world of doing everything all the time, how do you know balance when you see it? Do you need to achieve it everyday? How about every five years?? Sure, I see women I deeply admire who appear balanced all the time! Put together, successful, accomplished, multitasking, yet always with an outwardly cool, calm and collected demeanor. In my mind that is certainly the outward appearance of balance, but how are we to know what’s bubbling under the surface.

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According to the Webster Dictionary definition balance is:“a state of equilibrium or equipoise or mental steadiness or emotion stability.” Now, I can confidently claim to have mental steadiness and relatively strong emotional stability {the husband might say differently}. But how do I measure everything else in my life to see if it’s all in fact equal? You know the list: family, friends, colleagues, spirituality, fitness, jobs, kids, dogs, the house, car, bills…I could go on – but all these things certainly aren’t all “equal?”

As I continued to ponder this notion, I found myself asking – why should I have an expectation or even a desire for everything to be equal? We simply cannot evenly divide time, attention and energy to everything in our swirling worlds. That’s just not physically possible. And I’ve decided that’s actually ok. I’m officially declaring that the first step toward achieving balance is recognizing its highly imperfect nature!

There will be times when you prioritize work {major projects, promotions, new positions or simply a desire to grow professionally}. Sure, in all likelihood you’ll experience some guilt for neglecting your partner/your/kids/your bestie, but it’s ok! If you. The fact that it happens is reality. It’s something that life requires. And if you take the time to communicate to your loved ones why you’re making the choices you are, they’re very likely to understand and support you! The key is to ensure you balance those intense periods where you are hyper focused on one aspect of your world with other periods where you reinvest in neglected areas. That could be relationships, your health, your mental state, your love of travel or your favorite pastime.

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All this being said, it’s always good to reassess your current habits. There’s losing a bit of balance due to unique circumstances and then there’s just never setting priorities in the first place. If you feel like you have to do everything for everyone all the time, in all likelihood you’re going to let most people down, including yourself.

Here are few internal questions to consider:

> Are you letting those nagging deadlines interfere with a good dinner conversation?

> Are you secretly checking your phone while your kids are on the swing set?

> Are you skipping the gym or putting off a friend yet again to deal with work??

Those are all tale tell signs that it might be time for the pendulum to swing back a little bit.

I’m the first to call out that I’ve been in a phase of prioritzing my career…for quite some time now. I find incredible satisfaction in pushing myself to do more, do better and to constantly grow. But I’m also the first to admit that I can let the pendulm swing too far and I need to remember to stray from my to-do list once in awhile. If there were FIVE super simple, no brainer easy changes I’d add to my daily routine to create more “balanced” habits, they’d be:

> Call a friend or family member on my drive home every day- even if I just leave a voicemail

>Text one person a day to just let them know they’re on my mind

> Do 10 minutes of yoga in the morning

> Put the phone away after 9pm {no liking, hearting, tweeting or status updating – the cute baby videos will still be there the next morning}

> Spend 30 minutes reading something that is completely separate from the work on that interwebs that I do all day

And so, in the spirit of balance I’m publicly committing myself to achieving at least one of those five things every day for the next 30 days. See, I’m being balanced about it. Adding all five at once would just be too much pressure! While there may never be enough hours in the day and we may always say yes to too many things, I’m going to look for my balance in small, digestible moments of zen.

What do you think about balance? Is it a necessity? An unrealistic goal? How do you approach finding balance in your life? Be sure to head over to Shop Sweet Things to hear how Jeanne approaches the search for balance.

*I do think it’s fascinating how similarly Jeanne and I approached this topic in our posts. Please note, we did not discuss them before hand or compare notes until this morning! I find it incredibly fascinating and strangely reassuring to know we share similar struggles and concerns. 

original image for The Kind of Woman by Aubrie Pick // styled by Erin Hiemstra & Jeanne Chan // image 2 // image 3

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6 Comments

  1. This is such a good series and topic, Erin. I’ve been hoping between your blog and shopsweetthings blog to compare notes. ; ) For me, it’s the hardest thing. I recently figured out that the more I try to balance and make things stand perfectly, it will collapse. I just decided to juggle if I can’t balance but leave room for flexiblity and have fun while I’m doing it. I wasn’t really thinking about why I was doing what I was doing and for whom. If you really ask yourself that question, you may end up dropping a lot of things. One thing that I do is to connect with someone who can give me some moral support by just being together (no negativity, no biased opinions)…for me, it’s usually someone in my family. I’d be interested in hearing about how your 5 things go and looking forward to more on this series!

  2. so lovely to read this. I have to add these things listed above to my daily life. I think having these things does help the balance in things. It sits right int he middle.

  3. Love that you’re being balanced about trying to achieve balance in your life. 😉 🙂

  4. Ahh balance. The neverending challenge to get priorities in their proper place is a subject I always like to see revisited. I love the reminder to take small steps daily to adjust. Loving your series with Jeanne! xx

  5. Honestly, this is something that I struggle with but am working on. I love all your suggestions. Little actions can make a big difference.

  6. Perfect timing for me to read this. I love that you point out that you cannot divide equally. Good to remember that sometimes we’ll heavy one way when needed. Your tips are simple and don’t feel daunting. Love.