As we age, and mature, experience takes us on journeys that allow us to remove and add hats to the wardrobe of our lives. After wearing the roles of mother, and so many other beautiful, yet complex responsibilities: how many of us are left feeling like that old 1988 Calgon commercial; begging for something or someone to take us away. I did often, at one point. Because I had never sat down to think about maintaining balance in my life. At times I felt like I had lost myself in the midst of trying to keep everyone and everything else together. This kept me exhausted, feeling inadequate, and often defeated. I came up with nine ways to balance life and maintain a sense of self.
Connect with the Creator: I’ve learned to create moments that give me one-on-one time with God. At night before bed, upon rising, even if it’s a quick chat while on the toilet (yes, I really do this), right before meetings, walking to my manager’s office, or in between patient interaction; I use these minutes to connect with my creator. I tell God about my plans, solicit his help in making sound decisions, ask him to help direct my steps when I’m feeling lost, protection for my family, and just thank him overall for ‘saving a wretch like me.’ Communication with the Most High keeps me grounded, and gives me a sense of hope in a faulty, imperfect world.
Make Family Fundamental: Family is those loving, dysfunctional, yet vital people who know all of our shortcomings, but love us despite of. We need them in our circle of love; it’s incomplete without them. With our loved ones, we’re able to remove masks and be ourselves. We have no points to prove or make, because to them we’re great no matter what. I often seek my family for their advice in dealing with difficult situations. I’m able to express to them certain thoughts or feelings that I may find uncomfortable speaking to anyone else about. My family has proven to be my biggest commodity. I consider them in every life-decision I make. Their approval, understanding, and moral support are invaluable, and they help keep me emotionally strong.
What’s the rush: Whether it’s a project at home, school paper, work deadlines, or something to do with the family; set realistic goals and allow adequate time for completion. I’ve learned to pace myself when completing most of my tasks and obligations; personal or professional ones. I sit down and actually think about what I’m taking on and how much time it requires, and if it’s even feasible for me to tackle. Then I set a time goal. I start early enough on the project to give myself time to breathe. Rushing only leads to added stress and anxiety. It also leaves room for error and dissatisfaction in what we’re trying to accomplish; which could possibly make us feel inadequate.
Do You: We have to learn what makes us happy, and do it. Some of my favorite things are long cries, moments alone, coffee with lots of cream, pink blush, high heels, writing, bubble baths, good girlfriends, and time with people I love. I do, or have two or three of these daily. Each one of them adds something different to the essence of my world. In a nutshell, they make me feel good; inside and out. I’m not afraid to treat myself special. Because I am. God created only one ME, and gave me only one life to live.
Let’s Find our happy place, and reside there. But just remember, too much of a good thing is not so good. So balance it out.
Get some “shut eye”: In order to be our best emotional self, we have to get a good nights sleep (I’m a good one to talk here. But I’m working on it). According to the National Institutes of Health, a lack of sleep could slow down our creative flow, decrease our coping skills and make us emotionally labile. Sleep deprivation has also been linked to depression, and has been the culprit behind fatal and near-fatal accidents.
We are thrown totally off track when deprived of sleep. Certain hormones are released during sleep which promotes healthy growth and development. So get off Facebook, and Snapchat. Close those laptops. Tell your best friend, sister or man you got to get off the phone. Lay it down and shut those eyes!
Take that “S” off your chest: As women, we do everything but crawl up walls. So I get why we feel like we have superpowers, but trying to keep up with Wonder Woman will surely land you on the ground. Although we do super jobs, we are not some superhero. Truth be told, the only person we can truly save are ourselves. Its okay to say no. It’s not a weakness to ask for help. Often we don’t want to admit that we have too much on our plates because we feel it makes us look incapable. This is something I still struggle with. It’s hard for me to ask for a helping hand because it leaves me feeling vulnerable. But hey, just like You – I’m a work in progress. Let’s work on it together.
Celebrate Your Femininity: One way to celebrate our womanhood, and tap into our feminine energy is to learn to embrace our God-given figure. Whether super curvy, or no curves at all; our body type is unique to us. Let’s make it a habit to look our best as much as possible. If I’m all “dolled” up, I notice the difference in my confidence. Now that I look beautiful. It makes me feel beautiful on the inside. Buy a new pair of heels. With the right heels, I feel like I can conquer the world. We are Goddesses. It’s important that we look, feel, and act the part.
Keep true friends close; they make us better. Join an all-women’s social club. Being around other beautiful, like-minded women is equally fun, as it is empowering. It also gives us a form of healthy escapism.
Don’t be afraid to listen to that little voice inside; cultivate it, and trust that it won’t lead us wrong. Our intuition is one of the many things that sets us apart from our male counterparts. Also, ladies, let’s remember our role in our relationship. Stop shouting, give our man a chance to speak, and build him up. Being submissive to the right man is always super sexy.
Learn to forgive: The act of forgiveness is such a powerful thing. We often overlook the impact it has on our relationships, emotional health, and overall well-being. A lack of forgiveness holds us hostage to anxieties, depression, and other types of emotional, spiritual and psychological baggage. For me, holding on to grudges is heavy; it causes a great disruption of peace in my life.
Forgiveness is something that is learned, and it hasn’t always been easy for me to master. But I’m a lot better at it now. Moving forward from hurtful people and experiences also has great health benefits. So let’s forgive like we never have before. We owe it to OURSELVES.
‘Big Girls Do Cry’: Don’t believe The Four Seasons, or Fergie in their hit tune, “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” It’s the total opposite. There are many references to Jesus weeping throughout the Bible. Therefore, crying should never be viewed as a form of weakness. It actually has been thought to help strengthen us. It allows us to cope, take in, respond to and release remnants of unpleasant stimuli; giving us a renewed perception of our circumstances. Crying helps cleans us of all the negative, painful, and uncomfortable feelings bottled up tight inside. During a nice, long cry, research has shown that our body releases chemicals that cause us to feel at peace and calm; therefore increasing our sense of well-being. I think of it as a form of washing the soul of distress. So it’s okay to grab some tissues and start “slinging a little snot.” But understand that excessive crying could be a sign of depression. Therefore, you should consult a doctor if this happens too much.
These are nine ways I came up with to help me find peace in a world of broken pieces. We can only give so much of ourselves before we start to feel all spent up. Hopefully, you can adopt these suggestions too, and find some ways of your own to keep from losing yourself in this thing called life.
Originally published at www.betweenpeaceandpieces.com