As I’m sure you can tell by the title, this blog post is all about achieving that ever elusive, and tricky sumbitch we like to call ‘balance.’
According to Google (oh hush, y’all don’t own a dictionary either)
Balance is defined as:
“A condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.”
Or as my boy Stevie K. puts it…
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
Typically, when we talk about a lack of balance in our lives, we’re really talking about not having the time to take a step back from our work/life responsibilities and just chill the f’ out.
We are mentally, physically and emotionally drained.
And ain’t no balance to be found.
And ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone.
Now if you’ve ever read an article about achieving balance before, you probably know what comes next.
This is the part where I tell y’all to start meditating.
Or sign up for a yoga class.
Or start a daily gratitude journal.
Or trim a few bonsai trees.
Sidenote: You probably SHOULD do all of those things. I mean, I don’t. But you probably should.
Look, let’s be real for a minute.
“Achieving balance” is the current Internet golden child.
And it’s no secret that millennials (along with everyone else) are burned the f’ out.
Karen: I don’t understand how millennials can be burned out? Most of you don’t even have “real” jobs.
Me: Dammit, Karen. How’d you get in here?
Karen: As a self-righteous baby boomer, I know how to do exactly two things on the Internet – post selfies on Facebook and comment on blog posts with the word “millennial” in them.
Me: …okay, that’s fair.
Y’all, even in the best of times, life can be hard and overwhelming for all of us (even Karen).
And tbh, most of the time we’re not thinking about the most efficient way to “achieve balance.”
We’re just trying to figure out how to survive each day as it comes.
Survival is just that. Survival.
And if you’re only concentrating on surviving, there’s not a whole lot of room for anything else.
Look, if you don’t have balance in your life, you won’t die.
Probably, idk I’m not a doctor.
You will be extremely lopsided and eventually fall/fail.
And the reason I’m not preaching to you about the benefits of going vegan or starting a self-awareness journal is that achieving balance looks different for everyone.
And if you don’t know what it looks like for you, don’t be afraid to experiment.
Start a garden.
Buy an X-box.
Lift some weights.
Go on long walks with your pooch.
Do something you used to love doing as a kid but stopped doing because hashtag adulthood.
Dance in your kitchen while lip syncing to your fav boy bands from the 90’s.
Find yo bliss, dammit.
With all that being said, I’m gonna say some more.
It’s about time for a listicle anyway.
To reiterate, I believe that achieving balance is different for all of us.
But I also believe there are some fairly universal things we do that sabotage our attempts to achieve said balance.
And what’s cray is that these are things we do on our quest to become more balanced.
We’re funny like that.
Alright, listicle time.
SNEAKY WAYS WE SABATOGUE OURSELVES ON OUR QUEST FOR BALANCE
#1 MULTITASKING/SCHEDULE STACKING
Bro, if you’re not doing at least four things at a time, can you even use the hashtag “grind” on Twitter?
Y’all, do not fall into the super seductive trap of POE (‘Productivity Over Everythang’)
It’s the quickest way to throw off your balance.
Look, we (humans) can only consciously pay attention to one COMPLEX task at a time. Complex being key.
Sure, we can do multiple non-complex tasks without issue.
Walking = non-complex task
Breathing = non-complex task
Writing = complex task
Conversation = complex task
When we have too many balls in the air at one time, inevitably one (or more) of them will fall.
Yet we insist on stacking our schedules for peak productivity forgetting that we’re not robots (yet).
We force ourselves to sustain the unsustainable then wonder what’s wrong with us when we fall hard on our faces.
So…what’s the fix?
Don’t do that.
Seriously. Just stop.
Put down a couple balls.
Concentrate one doing one damn thing at a time.
Move on to the next.
Stop overextending yourself.
#2 FORCING RELAXATION
Stop doing stuff you hate because the Internet tells you it’s good for you.
If you hate meditating, don’t do it.
If Tai Chi bores the hell out of you, then don’t practice it.
Look, if something that’s supposed to relax you feels weird, or unnatural or uncomfortable to do then it’s definitely not having the desired effect.
And that’s okay.
Everythang ain’t for everybody.
Just because a YouTube guru tells you to align your chakras by eating dirt, doesn’t mean you have to.
You should feel no resistance when it’s time to relax. If you do, you might want to find a different method of relaxation.
Relaxing is only relaxing if you’re relaxed.
Sidenote: I have no personal vendetta against Tai Chi, meditation, or aligning your chakras. However, I do have one against eating dirt. That shit has to stop.
#3 THINKING YOU’VE ACHIEVED BALANCE
Alright, I know this is going to age me but think of achieving balance in your life in the same way you balance your checkbook.
After all, you don’t balance your checkbook once a year then never touch it again, do you?
You, probably: Um, actually –
Me: Yes, my fellow millennial, I know you don’t use checks and have probably never seen one in real life before.
Karen: Um, actually –
Me: Yes, Karen I know you still use checks because you don’t trust debit cards or online banking.
You balance your checkbook frequently because as you make withdrawals and deposits, your balance is constantly changing.
And if you don’t consistently balance your checkbook, you’ll have no idea how much money you have.
The same thing goes when it comes to achieving balance in your life (except for the money part).
Life has its fair share of ups and downs. There are times when we’re super busy and others when we’re not.
We might suddenly have to take on more responsibility at work or deal with a scary health diagnosis.
You never know what’s around the corner.
And the thing is, what brought us closer to achieving balance last week, might not work today.
Balance isn’t something that we can just achieve, dust our hands off and be done with.
What we need in order to achieve balance can change from year to year, month to month and even day to day.
So what should we do?
Pay attention to ourselves.
Are we snapping at our spouse for no reason?
Are we suddenly too exhausted to take the pooch for her evening walk around the neighborhood?
Are we wearing less and going out more?
It might be time to balance our balance.
Lolz, I’m dumb.
We got this.