Sometimes life gets so busy, you wonder if work/life balance even exists. Trying to fulfil all your commitments, live up to other people’s expectations, keep yourself healthy and do the things you actually want to do as well. It can all feel like a bit too much at times.
You start to feel stuck, it can never change, you doubt yourself, so you just keep going on the same treadmill. Wondering where the time has gone, and beating yourself up for the things you haven’t achieved. Your confidence can suffer, and so can your self-esteem and your relationships. But what can you do?
Well guess what, there is always a way forward, there is always a way to make a change, however small you might start. Even the smallest step in the right direction is progress. You’re not really stuck, but you believe that you are, and belief is a powerful thing.
Here are three tips to help you get started.
Get clear on what it is you actually want, and focus on that
We often get so caught up thinking about the thing we don’t want, where we feel stuck, too busy and overwhelmed, and we focus all of our attention on that. No wonder we feel so rubbish. Where do you actually want to be? What does it look like? How will it feel? Focus your thoughts and attention on that instead. If you’re not sure exactly, then that’s where you can start, figure out what it is you really want. If you sat in your car looking out the window and thinking about how much you dislike the car park, you’re going to stay there, feeling horrible. If you decide to go somewhere else, and you know where that is, you can set your satnav (or use a map, old-school style), and off you go, heading for more pleasant times. If you don’t know where you want to go at least get a rough idea, maybe you fancy the coast so set off in that direction. You can always get specific once you’re on your way. At least you won’t be sitting in that miserable car park anymore.
Acknowledge what you’ve achieved so far
Give yourself credit for everything you achieve, however small it may seem. Sometimes that might just be getting out of bed, other times it might be a big scary leap of faith. Reflect on things you achieved in the past and remember you’re the same person that did all of those things. If you don’t believe you can take the next step, what’s that belief about? Is it personal, you think that you can’t do it? Or does the thing itself seem impossible? Break it down into tiny manageable steps, and give yourself recognition for each one, building confidence as you go. Look for other people who have achieved something similar, what did they do? Using the same metaphor as before, you managed to drive yourself to this spot in the first place, so you can drive back out. If other people have gone where you want to go, follow their route, but at your pace.
You don’t have to do everything yourself, so get help where you need it. Give yourself permission not to be an invincible superhero, and allow others to help you. Whether that means hiring a coach or advisor to work with you on moving forward, or finding someone to do the things that drain your time and energy, see getting help and support as a positive thing, not a failing. Outsource the things you don’t enjoy, the things that take up your time or are not in your zone of genius. Your time is precious, so choose how you spend it if you can. Also, you’re probably not an expert in absolutely everything so why are you trying to do it all by yourself?
I’d love to hear about your experiences, or if this has resonated with you in some way. Please get in touch if you’d like to share your challenges or successes with me.
Ruth Randall is a Life Coach and Employee Wellbeing Specialist. Ruth helps busy professionals to balance career, family, relationships and wellbeing, to make life and work less stressful. She also works with teams to improve employee wellbeing and mental health in the workplace.