Americans are obsessed with a “balanced” life.
Recently I was browsing through the new books section at my local bookstore and almost every single self-help title was along the lines of:
- “Work-life balance for the busy professional”
- “How to balance it all as a mom”
- “Work hard and have fun”
- “How to balance it all”
While work-life balance is a great goal, the problem is that most people feel incredibly guilty all the time for not balancing everything.
They feel bad they don’t have enough time to meditate in the morning, that they skip breakfast, that they missed a night out with their friends due to a project needing to be finished, or any other guilt that sits in the back of their minds.
Everyone is stressed out. Look at any single day time television show: it’s about balance and how stressed we all are.
Sure, it’s important to make time for what matters, but understand that we’re all simply doing the best we can at any given moment.
My 27th birthday was this past Friday and instead of feeling bad about not having some “exciting” night out, I decided to finally say: Fuck it.
For years I went out with friends, whether I was in the mood for it or not, because of some idealistic reality-TV-driven standard of go big or go home. Instead, I just read some books, watched some movies, and got in some quality family time. I ate an entire pizza and tub of ice cream because fuck. it.
I don’t have time to meditate right now (that can also be read as: It’s not a priority right now), and I’m going to stop feeling bad about that. I skip breakfast often and I’m not going to feel bad about that either.
I don’t have it all balanced, and I’m going to keep trying to instill better habits but the guilt has to go. I’m done with it.
I’ve decided to stop feeling bad about not being able to balance it all.
Life is a spectrum. Sometimes you’re 100% all-in and dedicated to a goal. Sometimes everything is thrown off balance. Sometimes you just need to put in 14+ hour days on a project to hit your deadline and you miss your workouts.
You’ll catch up later.
You’ll put in extra cardio next week.
To be honest, I don’t know anyone who has it all balanced.
Even celebrities with hired help still operate in different levels of the spectrum.
If you’re feeling guilt over not having everything perfectly balanced, please take a deep breath. Right now.
Keep trying to balance everything, but if you miss something, STOP FEELING BAD.
Sometimes I’ve forced myself into the idea of “balance” and hung out with friends but the whole time I’m thinking about the work I need to stay up all night to finish.
I’m in a period of my life where I need to work harder than I ever have before and I am simply not going to feel bad about it.
When I worked at my old gym, not balancing everything was the top guilt-inducing feeling.
When a client was clearly plagued with guilt about missing a workout, bingeing over the weekend, or thoughts about not spending enough time with their family: their workout suffered every single time.
They were slower, less enthusiastic, and wanted to be done way earlier than they should have.
People walk around with these feelings all the time.
Sometimes you don’t even realize how pervasive guilt is until you stop and realize how often you beat yourself up over it.
Take a deep breath, know you’re trying your best, decide on your top three priorities, and don’t feel guilty about anything outside of those priorities.
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