4 steps to regaining balance

I don’t know about you, but this early spring has been extremely hectic for me. I’ve moved to a new house two months ago, and much of my thinking and dreaming revolved around French style furniture and budget lists that were overspent. On top of that, I’ve recently traversed the best and most consuming period of an HR’s role, and namely conducting, advising and coaching around performance development and appraisals. It’s immensely rewarding and also very, very tiring.

So I had small things, emails and questions piling up, a larger floor at home that wanted to be cleaned, an aching tooth, a personal design project that had a close deadline. So no wonder I almost crashed last week. Don’t get me wrong – I’m grateful for each of these sides of my life. But I tend to find myself giving each of them 100% of my energy and time.
And there is no x times 100%. Actually, I should even save some 10%  for myself and staring at walls.
But who stares at walls in an era of multitasking?

So I made a commitment to myself. I will strive to improve the balance between the few but consuming roles in my life.

Stephen Covey says in his book “The 8th Habit”, there are 4 intelligences and 4 types of energies we should nurture:

1. The intellectual energy, which is consumed by thinking and rationalizing, making decisions and building arguments.

It is nurtured by reading, learning more, and in general keeping an open mind.

2. The emotional energy, which is consumed by conflicts, stress, negative thinking and distructive relationships.

It is nurtured by giving and receiving love, compassion and simply care.

3. The physical energy, which is consumed by physical activity and work.

It is nurtured by practicing sports, outdoor activities, and of course sleeping well.

4. The spiritual energy, which is consumed by staying out of touch with our inner self and the Divinity.

It is nurtured by meditating, praying or simply entering in connection with the “greater beings” at all times possible.

So I asked myself what can I do to regain balance in these 4 areas, which obviously are pretty much all on a negative level?

1. Intellectual Energy.

I keep learning the same lesson in the past months, and that’s “stop giving solutions and focus more on defining the problem”. So for me here the need is to slow down and spend more time understanding and building the arguments for a case, rather than jumping to solve it.

2. Emotional Energy.

Fortunately I have the luck to be surrounded by people who care about me, and sometimes I take it for granted. So I will make a conscious effort to acknowledge and give emotional positive strokes whenever I get the opportunity. I believe that by every action we take, we perpetuate a way of behaving. So by every smile and caring gesture we make, we provoke the ones around us to respond.

3. Physical Energy.

Being on the verge of physical disaster, this is my main focus area. I tend to get nauseous after almost any food I have. Plus, it’s spring so a vitamin diet is more than indicated.

I ate at least 2-3 fruits daily, and have fresh salads a few times a week.

I reduced my caffeine intake (the peak was when I ingurgitated 2 double espressos in less than 4 hours…). I passed a day without any coffee and it wasn’t so bad. I could definitely substitute coffee with fresh orange juice.

I changed my sleeping habits. After a few consecutive days of coming home and crashing directly into bed at 7:30 or 8 pm, I gave in to my body’s needs. If it needs 12 hours of sleep, I will give it – not 12, but at least 10 hours of sleep. So I started going to bed at around 8 pm, in the free evenings, and turning off the light at around 9.
I realize this is not a sustainable habit, and definitely hope that after a few weeks I’ll be able to return to my regular schedule of going to bed at around 10:00 – 10:30 pm and getting enough rest with 8 hours of sleep.

I envy those who can get by with going to bed at 12 pm, fall asleep immediately and wake up at 7 completely refreshed.

A healthy workout schedule will also improve my resting habits, so I made a gym subscription which starts next week, and intend to take up running again, two nights per week. I used to love running, and as I can’t do it outside in the woods, for the fear of stray dogs, I can’t wait to start using the treadmill again.

4. Spiritual Energy.

Pheww. This has never been a strong point of mine, but there are a few things I can do here.

Pay attention to what I’m dreaming. In the past weeks I’ve had incredibly beautiful and vivid dreams, with easy interpretations, and I started writing some down. The dream world has been a close component of my inner life since I was a child, so reconnecting to it balances me back to my inner self. I’m also going to a dream workshop next week, and I’m quite curious what it will bring.

I’ve timidly started gardening, which might not seem a deep spiritual activity, but for someone like me who could never hold a plant for more than a few weeks – they either dry out or I manage to drown them by overwatering – it’s an accomplishment. I’ve had now a few pots which lasted me more than a month – yeey! – and I get a feeling of calm and stability whenever I look at the little plants and roots growing out of the earth. As spring now approaches, we should tend to our new garden, and plant at least some grass seeds.

I built an online “inner style mood board” by using Pinterest, an engine that permits people to share inspiring pictures off the web. Based on my preferences, Pinterest shows me stuff that I might find inspiring (you’ll find my board full of living room decoration ideas :) ).

And, finally, I went back to coaching in an attempt to finalize my ICA course this year. I’ve been dragging it along for more than 1.5 years now, and as my coach Ruba says, I should take it easy and explore the teleclasses as a relaxing development opportunity.

So that’s my balancing action plan for this spring… I’ll be keeping updates and post as it rolls on.

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