Do you ever feel stressed, overwhelmed or out of balance? If so, you’re not alone. Feeling out of balance is a human experience, no matter where you’re from. Would you like to learn strategies for restoring your balance? I was curious about the ways my colleagues’ from around the world handled their balance challenges, so I reached out to this amazing group – Stephanie Deakin, Nacho Eguiarte, Mayumi Takahara, Ingrid Jansen, Janet Barclay, Sue West, Hilde Verjidk, Juliet Landau-Pope and Ellen Faye. I asked them, “How do you bring balance back into your life?” Their responses are personal and inspiring. My deepest gratitude goes to each of them for sharing their wisdom with us.
How do you bring balance back into your life? . . .
Scheduling for Balance
“It sounds counter-intuitive, but when I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed I schedule ‘balance’ time for myself. I write it in my day planner: two hours for sitting on the couch reading; a half-hour phone call to a friend; a walk by the lake. These are the things that help keep me balanced, but they’re also the first to be dropped when I’m feeling too busy! Honoring those times means letting go of any fretting about what’s not getting done or what the next deadline is, and giving my attention to what I’m doing in the moment.”
Stephanie Deakin, President POC – Organizer, Speaker & Trainer - Canada
Breathing for Balance
“Every time I feel overwhelmed because of the lack of balance in my life, I make a stop, and breathe deeply. After that I use positive self-talk about how capable I am to manage whatever life brings upon me. At that point, with self-confidence being boosted, I start thinking possibilities to overcome troubles and restore balance. Having balance to me is counterweighting troubles with solutions, stress with relaxation, and chaos with order.”
Nacho Eguiarte – Professional Organizer, Architect & Blogger – Mexico
Pampering for Balance
"I have a list of the ‘Pamper Myself List of Activities’ which I created to recover from being stressed or overwhelmed. There are a wide range of activities on the list: for instance, being completely absorbed in novels or favorite TV series or shifting my mood by listening to live music of my favorite artists."
Mayumi Takahara, President JALO – Organizer & Designer – Japan
Singing for Balance
“I sing! Just over 4 years ago I found Rockchoir. It is a UK based contemporary choir with 20,000 members in over 300 choirs. I'm a member of Bexleyheath Rockchoir and I rehearse every Wednesday evening. We sing rock, pop and gospel songs and my favourite song is "Someone Like You" from Adele. My choir has travelled to Switserland, we sang at the O2 Arena in London and we recorded three songs at the world famous Abbey Road Studios. Singing makes me forget about everything and it's a great way to make new friends. I would recommend it to everyone!”
Ingrid Jansen, President APDO – Professional Declutterer and Organiser - England
Walking Away for Balance
“When my workload is unusually heavy and everything feels urgent, although it seems counterintuitive, the best thing for me to do is walk away from it – get out, go shopping or have lunch with a friend. This allows me to clear my mind so that when I return to work, I’m better able to focus and actually get things done. I’d never thought of it as restoring balance, but that’s truly what it is – adding some activities to the fun side of the scale to bring the work side back up where it needs to be.”
Janet Barclay – Web Designer & Content Marketing Specialist - Canada
Questioning for Balance
“’Ebb and flow,’ a client's words to describe balance, stayed with me. Like ocean water as it cycles through its tides. Learning my sense of balance is a continuous process as each chapter brings different changes, transitions and challenges. To restore, I do this one thing: I consciously ask myself: What am I not doing that I know works? Self-compassion? Standing up for myself? Morning solitude, three meals, enough sleep and outdoor time? At home enough or too much travel or socializing? Enough creativity happening? Using my plan? Enough reading/learning time?”
Susan Fay West, CPO-CD®, COC®, President-Elect ICD – Organizer & Coach – United States
Planning for Balance
“As an entrepreneur I must admit it is tempting to cram my time with appointments. Being diagnosed with fibromyalgia however, I learned the hard way that there is a price to pay for that attitude. So I plan a free day in my calendar each week (apart from the weekends!) and I have a maximum of four days for work and study. I also plan free weeks during the year. It helps me set my priorities straight, I make healthier choices for my business and myself and I get to spend more time with my family. A win-win situation!”
Hilde Verdijk, CPO-CD®, MRPO – Professional Organizer, Author & Blogger – The Netherlands
Meditating for Balance
“Whether there’s too much stuff in your home or in your head, physical and emotional clutter can be overwhelming. So whether you’re stressed by the amount of stuff in your space or in your schedule, the best thing to do can be…. nothing. Stop. Close your eyes. Inhale slowly. Then exhale. Take a break from trying to figure it all out, if only for a few moments. This kind of meditative exercise not only helps to alleviate anxiety; it can also help you to regain clarity and to focus on what matters most.”
Juliet Landau-Pope, CPCC – Declutter Coach & Study Skills Expert – England
Retreating for Balance
“My ultimate cure is to get away. At least twice a year I visit Kripalu, a yoga and wellness center in Western Massachusetts. I go by myself, lock up my phone and computer, and take time to renew. When I’m home my self-care includes yoga, getting enough sleep, scheduling time with friends and family, and ruthlessly prioritizing my work and volunteer responsibilities. But that just keeps my head above water. Going away, focusing on me, talking only when I want to, walking in the woods, and staring into space is truly what brings balance back into my life.”
Ellen Faye, CPO®, COC®, President NAPO – Productivity and Organizing Coach – United States
Finding your right balance is possible. With the creative ideas that my colleagues shared, you now have some new strategies to experiment with. Whether you choose to get away, pamper yourself, breathe, plan or sing, shifting from overwhelm to a more balanced state is within reach. For me, when my balance is off, I concentrate on bringing back the parts I’ve been missing. That can include walking by the river, going to the movies with my husband, having coffee with a friend, trying something new, or having a “no agenda” day.
Which ideas resonate with you? How do you bring balance back into your life? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation!