17 Tips for Balancing Business / Parenting / Life / Love
We launched Covo’s blog last week in honor of International Women’s Day. In the evening we screened a film by activist and director Nina Serrano to honor her accomplishments and those of Chilean women. One of my members, Carolina, was at the screening and commented, “I can’t believe you have time to take on a blog with everything else you do. Two businesses and a 2-year old!”
“Writing is my escape, my hobby. I love it.” I replied. “I have so much to say and have already written a lot of it. I’ve honestly just been too scared to publish before.”
“You have to write about that! You have such good balance in your life even with all of your projects and responsibilities. Hardly anyone does. Teach us how you do it!” Carolina challenged me.
Okay! Challenge accepted. Here are my tips for increasing balance and happiness while also being a great (or at least very good) mom, wife, CEO, daughter, housekeeper, and contributor to the world.
- Sleep. I’ve mentioned this before in my post on finding time, but it deserves repeating and should probably be its own article. Only when I have enough sleep can I enjoy every moment and not stumble, under-perform, hate my kid or live life through a haze. With enough sleep the colors are bright and I can appreciate everything around me.
- Gratitude. When anxieties creep in I actively launch a gratitude minute. I think of five things I’m grateful for: The softness of my cat’s fur. The laughter of my two-year-old. The warmth of my husband’s embrace. I think of up to four items that I’ve thought of before, but always make sure at least one of the five is new. It pulls me out of my worry and back into a positive head space. This allows me to tackle the problem behind the anxiety, or simply move on to something else.
- Alone time. I am an absolute extrovert, but building communities as my life’s mission can be an overwhelming amount of social interaction. Topping that with a kiddo who craves attention - not to mention a husband! - can be a lot. So, I have begun to take a bit more time for myself. Ideally I like to read under a soft blanket with a cat snuggled against me and a mug of tea or glass of wine in hand. Or I get a pedicure or massage, or I walk to work. But even if it’s just to process email in a quiet space, I now take the alone time I need to recharge.
- Self-care. I used to consider massage an expensive extravagance, and only worth the cost when I was in extreme pain. I now look at it as an investment in myself, much like vitamins, sunscreen, moisturizer and the gym. A happy body helps so much when it comes to a happy soul. It’s not something I can afford on the reg, but every month or two I take the time and money to invest back into my body and sense of well-being. I definitely consider it well spent.
- Don’t rush. I’ve written about this before, but for me, rushing saps all the goodness out of a moment. I lose the ability to appreciate the little things. My heart rate goes up and I get anxious. Instead, I allocate extra time for driving, grocery shopping, cooking (when I occasionally get the urge) and walking to work so I can move at an easy pace. It keeps my heart strong and gives me the time to take in and appreciate the world around me.
- Don’t multi-task. I don’t even try. I focus on one task or conversation at a time. It keeps me focused and gloriously in the moment. It allows me to fully commit and enjoy the task at hand.
- Notice the little things. I am always looking for the beauty and wonder around me. The brilliant color of the sky. The way my husband’s muscles ripple when he moves. The way my son’s hair curls on the top of his head. The way the fog inches thickly over twin peaks like a layer of whipped cream.
- Write worries down. When something keeps me up at night, I open a note on my phone and write it out. It could be a note to an upset friend or a business concern, or a worry in my relationship with my husband, or something I remembered I need to do. Writing it down stops it from looping around my brain like a bad song on repeat.
- Hug. Studies show that hugs get oxytocin coursing through your body and reduce anxiety and stress levels. And they feel so good! I hug everyone. Staff, family, friends…and I can’t get enough. My kiddo goes up to children he doesn’t know and gives them hugs. I couldn’t be more proud.
- Give up guilt. It’s such a huge emotion with no up side. If you feel bad about something you did, do something about it. Take action. Or learn from it, move on and commit to being better next time. But don’t let guilt build up. It’s a cancer that can take over all the goodness in life.
And a few bonus items I do that I thought of after getting a good solid 10 together for you, dear reader: Practice being still, take baths, have a pet or two, delegate as much as possible, spend time with positive people, put down devices