I’m starting to recognize a pattern. Every year, it seems, I spin out of the chaotically wonderful Christmas season and fly forward, face first, into February.
January passes in a blur—annually. Does that happen to you?
Although I’m not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions, (see my previous post here), January does provide a month-long do-over of sorts. The previous year is firmly in the past, and January provides a nice, solid starting point for fresh focus.
As a life coach, I’m all about goals and forward progress.
Sure, I can help you take stock of what’s working and what’s not, take steps to create a life you love, and take control with proper self-management strategies, but I’ve also learned a thing or two about balance.
Mostly what I’ve learned is there’s no such thing. As soon as I think I’ve achieved it, something rises up to knock me out of whack.
Stop Striving for Life Balance
Instead, I’m learning to deal more honestly with the busy seasons of life. The result is I’m less likely to chuck my personal goals out the window in an effort to simply survive the stress.
For me, balance is out, and rhythm is in.
Rather than striving for perfect balance (or perfect anything), join me in learning to recognize the swing of the pendulum back and forth, in a rhythm of sorts, from busy to calm. Or, if the idea of calm seems too foreign, then from busy to less busy, less stressful.
There are rhythms to life that, if ignored, make forward progress unnecessarily unpleasant. As Scripture teaches, “To everything, there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
“To everything, there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.” — Ecclesiastes 3:1
For example, some months seem faster than others, like January does for me, and some seasons seem slower. Winter won’t end; summer won’t stay.
You know this. Launching a business or starting a new job seems like a fast-paced tango of never-ending details and pressures. It’s not the right season to take time off and lay on the beach.
As long as you don’t prolong neglect of the other priorities in your life—such as your health and your relationships—there’s nothing wrong with occasional imbalance.
Face it, there are times, for instance, when you’re training for a marathon, traveling to see a new grandchild, or tackling a huge project at work, that require you to give it all you’ve got.
So you keep pace with the crazy-fast beat and don’t hold back. Dance, baby, dance!
There’s no balance, and there’s very little sleep. What’s at stake in this season, in this swing of the pendulum, is more important than trying to keep everything in perfect order.
Even Slow Seasons Can Be Stressful
As long as the pendulum does eventually swing back and you can catch your breath, you’re good.
This is especially important when you are in one of those long, stressful life seasons. Having toddlers or teenagers in the house, for example, are years that can feel endless. Empty nest, on the other hand, can be another slow, incredibly stressful transition period.
And when the devastation of divorce, illness, or some other major loss occurs, it can feel as if time has stopped altogether as you attempt to put one foot in front of the other.
Any Rhythm Can Be Energizing or Exhausting
To properly manage your own well-being in these long seasons of imbalance, you have choices to make about how you’ll experience life’s rhythm.
Will you be energized or exhausted?
Here are five steps to help you enjoy the beat:
- RECOGNIZE the season of life you are in. Consider your age, business, and family. How is this season different from the previous one? How do your priorities need to come into alignment with the current situation?
- REEVALUATE your calendar and schedule and be ruthless. What can you delegate or eliminate altogether? It’s time to say no to even some of the good things so you can say yes to the best things—your top priorities and core values. If you try, I bet you can free up an extra few hours each week.
- Think about when you’ll REST, especially if things are faster-paced now. Five minutes of stretching at your desk, power naps on Sundays, and a once-a-month weekend away from home might make all the difference. Give your brain and your body a necessary change of pace.
- Identify the ROUTINES that are helpful to you, as well as those of which you need to let go. Do you really need to work out five nights a week? Maybe an earlier bedtime is in order. Are you eating out too much because you don’t plan your grocery list? What else is not working and needs to change.
- Incorporate supportive RITUALS into your life. Whether it’s date night with your honey or a regular night out with friends, rituals help mark time in a way that connects us, fills us, and energizes us. What rituals can you plan for the next birthday or anniversary? Build a legacy of memories.
And finally, watch this blog for more coaching concepts. Let the beat go on. You’ll have the self-management strategies you need. Keep dancing!