Pursuing Balance in a Chaotic World
My world feels chaotic. Like I just said, it FEELS chaotic and that’s all that really matters. The feeling. If your world feels out of whack, it probably is. From the minute I walk into the door at work, people are dead … people are dying …or they’re about to die. That’s freaking chaotic if you ask me, but somehow I’ve managed to numb myself to the daily turmoil because well …that’s my job. I’ve done this for a decade now. Managed to “manage” the distress and stress and emotional mess that comes along with news reporting, all on my own. No psychologists talking me through — or advising me on how to cope.
I didn’t know my life was chaotic until I removed myself from the chaos. It began with exercise three years ago. Up until then, all I ever did was work. My world at the time was warped with this idea that working like a maniac was the answer to life. I accepted that being a workaholic was normal. For much of my young adult life, I was independent — fiercely racing to the top without a clear direction of where I was going …I was just racing, and to the “top”.
Then I met weights and a man named John. I sped along for a long time — then we said our I do’s …then it hit me like a bag of bricks. I started thinking — and thinking a little more — and thinking a lot more about family. How would I juggle it all — could I do it all? Do I have to do it all? What if I don’t want to do it all, damn it? Where was all this pressure coming from anyway? I think having it all and doing it all are polar opposites. I decided that in order to have it all, I couldn’t do it all and discovered quickly something very critical was lacking in my life.
Sometimes I walked anxiously into work, sat quietly on the anchor desk with a heavy chest. What was wrong? I had everything. From the outside looking in, everything looked perfect. But It didn’t FEEL perfect. Does it matter what it looks like if it doesn’t feel good? It didn’t feel good. I knew the answer to lifting the gloom weighing over my heavy heart was …balance. Isn’t that what everyone strives for? Or knows they should but don’t? I didn’t for a long time. Balance meant admitting things — confessing to yourself that something isn’t right and I truly believe most people don’t want to face their fears, they don’t want to admit something is wrong — afraid of shattering the perfect image they constructed carefully in their minds.
I desired balance, and now that I’ve taken steps to become more balanced in life …I no longer just WANT balance, I NEED it. It’s now an essential part of my life and it’s starting to climb much higher on my priority list.
What does balance look like to you? For me, it’s about waking up and not feeling like I’m constantly racing against time. It means taking a break, focusing on myself — and the things most important to me …LOVE, HEALTH, INNER PEACE.
Here are 6 steps to help you get started on a path toward balance. It’s what has worked for me and continues to help me as I navigate my chaotic world. I’m sure your life is just as chaotic, if not more. If you’re out of balance, you’re living in a perpetual state of chaos. It’s an awful feeling isn’t it? If you’re one of those people who are comfortably chaotic and prefer to live in ignorance, then I’m certain none of this is striking a chord. But for the ones who are well aware that something has to change, here’s what may help you because it has made a tremendous difference in my life.
1. BREATHE: yes, breathe. Deeply in through your nose and out of your mouth. I know people are always advising us to breathe, but I mean it. Physically just breathe …long, deep breaths. Anytime you feel like you’re about to burst, just breathe.
2. MEDITATE: I highly encourage you to look into transcendental meditation. I believe the best investment you can make in life is in yourself. There are great books about how to transcend, but I honestly learned through taking transcendental classes. It was a week long course and well worth it. Make sure you go through someone who is legit. If you want a recommendation, I’m happy to share. Just leave a comment on this blog so I can get you connected to the right resources. If this isn’t something that’s up your alley, meditating is basically giving yourself quiet time. I do this anywhere from 10–20 minutes a day. Ideally, you’re supposed to do 20 minutes in the morning and then again in the evening. This is a work in progress for me. However, the more I mediate, the less impulsive I am — and the more balanced I feel in everything I do that day.
3. EXERCISE: this is huge. You know you’re supposed to exercise, so what is stopping you? Let me guess. You’re too busy? Yeah, we all are. While I’m into lifting weights, I encourage you to just get moving. Go for a walk with a friend. Just move — and daily if possible.
4. READ: feed your brain. My television viewing habits have changed drastically over the years. I don’t fill my head with junk like The Real Housewives. Sure, I know it’s a guilty pleasure and I enjoy the occasional rerun of Sex in the City, but for the most part I like to pack my head with positivity. I read books I can learn life lessons from. I love the book, “The Have it All Woman” by Susan Sly.
5. SLEEP: this advice may sound like a broken record to you. If it does that means you’ve heard it time and time again and still aren’t getting enough sleep. 6–8 hours. For me, 8 hours is essential. That doesn’t mean I always get 8 hours a night, but when I don’t — I feel a massive difference. For the most part, it’s a priority for me to get a good nights rest.
6. SAY NO: I threw in this last piece of advice for women. It seems as though men have no problem saying no, but for some reason women feel guilty saying no. Sometimes, it’s okay to say no to working overtime or staying late at the office. Can’t it wait? I have a rule now. I rarely check work emails before 12 p.m. My shift begins at 1:30 p.m. If we are staying connected and plugged in constantly, even before we go into work, then we’re technically working some very long hours. Time we don’t get paid for. I don’t know about you, but I’ve learned to value my time. That dances in tandem with valuing yourself.
I know 6 steps can be a lot to tackle head on. Maybe begin with two and then incorporate the rest over the next 6 months. Pursuing balance and making it part of your life takes time and dedication, but you owe it to yourself.