I lost my balance today, everyday.

The past ten days have been tough. Work has gotten busy, my dog is unwell, my family life is busy, and I am busy writing and developing my writing. Oh, and I am learning to row and learn how to speak Italian. The serenity has seeped out of my life. Drip, drip, drip, gone, empty.

Nearly 2 weeks ago I had a lovely cosy little life. A life of balance and serenity. This search for a calmer and more controlled existence was what had inspired me to start writing this blog. To share how I had managed to achieve this in my own busy life and to hopefully inspire you to find your own personal oasis within an urban existence.

I was on the lookout to still do all the things that I loved doing and to try new experiences and, still have balance and serenity. Stillness. A moment to breath. To stop sometimes.

When my life was balanced with serenity …

  • I was proactive in getting enough sleep
  • I was eating enough food that was nourishing and wholesome
  • I was not skipping meals
  • I was meditating each morning
  • I was drinking lots of water
  • I was exercising regularly
  • I was taking the time to spend woth my family and friends

My life felt calm, in control and balanced. I had energy with a positive outlook and my skin was radiant. And then somehow, I let my guard down and all that I had built started to unravel. Think of a beautifully knitted jumper that your kitten gets into when it’s left on the couch and plays with the wool and unravels it in absolute delight. Yes, I am speaking from experience.

Little kitten playing with wool
But it was so much fun!!

An unravelled life = stress and unbalance

I found myself going to bed late. I am talking post midnight and still having to get up at 5am. Do you know what an alarm sounds like when you haven’t had enough sleep? It’s brutal. So I started to get up later. This was not a planned waking time. Oh no, no! I hit the snooze button continually. This is not quality sleep. The worst morning was when I actually turn off the alarm and went back to sleep. You all know how that morning went. I woke up late but I discovered that you can take the dog out quickly so she can do her business and get ready for work in 15 minutes. That was a no makeup day!

I no longer stopped to smell the roses.

Because I was so tired and not getting up at the optimum time, I wasn’t exercising properly. I stopped cooking nourishing breakfasts that fuelled me for the day. I wasn’t finding the time to meditate. I would get home and just potter around aimlessly trying to get things done but not managing my time well. I was tired and my foggy brain had returned. I forgot to cook my dinner-lunch which was the main meal of the day that I have after school. My chores were undone. I started to feel I was just existing. A life with no direction. No purpose. No joie de vivre … no joy of life.

Then I felt it. The anxiety. The unhappiness. The “what’s the purpose of it all” thoughts swirling around my head sucking the contentment out of my day. My smile started to fade. I felt my life was losing balance and as a result all serenity with it.

The gift of failure

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. Henry Ford


Mistakes are the portals of discovery. James Joyce

A few days ago I was stuck in traffic on the way to work. I wanted to cry. It all just got so much for me. I didn’t cry. I did some deep breathing instead. A deep breath in through the nose, hold, breath out slowly through the mouth and repeat. I calmed down instantly and found I had clarity and calmness. I put on some classical music and decided to enjoy the solitude in the car and the opportunity to just stop. In the end, I wasn’t late for work and I arrived calm and truly happy. It ended up being a great day!

That afternoon when I got home I took myself off for a long walk along the river. I did some serious thinking and reflecting. I realised that the past two weeks had been a big eye-opener. I realised that finding balancing in a busy urban world is not always easy. That it takes awareness and practice. That it can all come undone if you are not aware of the life you are leading. It requires constant practice. Most importantly it takes acceptance and kindness. Acceptance that there will be days, weeks, maybe even months when things just unravel and leave you totally unbalanced with your serenity packed up and on leave. You need to be kind to yourself and know that an urban life is a vortex that can pull you in.

I decided that to help me stay on my journey of an balanced and calm life that is serene you need an “Off-load” activity to counteract the “on-load activities” in your day. Yep! That’s one activity that can balance a number of stressful activities. Things that put some pressure on your life and time. Things that usually happen when you are at work or raising a family or running a business. Here is a list of my of- load activities:

  • reading
  • a walk along the river
  • working on my Bullet Journal – drawing, modern calligraphy and colour
  • watching TV or a movie
  • lying on my bed reading my favourite magazine of Blogs
  • listneing to music or a podcast

What is your off-load activity?

I set in motion the following to find my way back to a more balanced life. These are activities and moments that I have brought back into my day. I don’t do them all at once. Sometimes I only do one of them. Sometimes two and sometimes more. However how many I choose to bring into my day, I find that it has, and does help to move the balance back into kilter for me. I have started doing this over the past few days and I already feel I am back on track heading in the direction I am working towards. Balance and Serenity.

What I discovered on getting me back in balance?

  • When you feel overwhelmed stop and breath deeply. Even if that means doing it all day long
  • Go for a walk in the fresh air at the end of the day
  • Stop and have a cup of tea and listen to some music
  • Tell yourself three things you are grateful for
  • Put an alarm on one hour before bed to go to bed on time and get back on track. Within a week you will be back to your normal bedtime and getting enough sleep to function. No more snooze button
  • Plan your meals and do a cook up on Sunday – listening to music or a Podcast makes it more enjoyable
  • Break your housework into chunks and do a little each night as you listen to music or a podcast. I do it as a break from my laptop screen
  • Plan your work. Schedule in when you want to do things and plan times with nothing on
  • Garden. Read. Have a Bath. Watch Netflix. Catch up with friends. Write a letter.
  • Smile. Smile a lot and smile brightly you will feel instantly better.
  • The most important thing … be kind to yourself. Pick yourself up and start again.

I don’t mind that it takes a while to learn to do or achieve something. That just means that you get a chance to really spend the time to develop and embed the habit into your life.

What do you do to find balance and serenity in your life?

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