We all live this thing called life – it’s something that looms over our head on the bad days and brings us up on the good. But how can you balance it to prevent the tipping peaks of happiness and gut wrenching dips of negativity on its roller coaster? Well, to each their own, but at least I think I can help. Now, if you were to know me, you know that each day I have a new story of what’s happening in life: Jeff’s having (another) surgery, the ebb and flow of trying to be homeowners, and even balancing life in the hardest time of the year, the holidays. I think I have learned to forge some of the best lessons out of the ciaos that is my life and I hope that, even just a little bit, my experience can help you to attack life and take control.
We go through the flow of life: 5 a.m. – Wake up, get dressed and leave for work. 8 a.m. – start the torturous 9 hour work day. 5 p.m. – Drive home, cook dinner and maybe hit the gym or care for kids. 9 p.m. – zzzzzz. Doesn’t this routine get quite mundane? Well, it’s the little things that make each day different, so you have to find the points of happiness that makes each day worth it. For me, happiness comes when I walk away from my desk for five minutes and relax with a cup of tea, or going home to cook a recipe I had been wanting to try. Find something to look forward to every day, or set a reminder in your calendar to enjoy a few minutes to yourself. In the long run, these stress-free moments make each day a little more worth it over time.
This is a new concept I’ve had to teach to many. So many people feel that they need to live for their jobs in fear that they will seem like they’re not working hard enough or that the job is the most important thing around. Let’s admit it, we spend more hours at work than the 40 hours we signed up for, and we all get burnt out. You have to learn the concept that you need to work to live, not live to work. If your life outside of work is suffering because of your job, you need to make a change because when you’re old and retired, you want to remember life in a good way, and the not the decades slaving in the office. Set your schedule and stick with it. Work everyday hard with the attempt to squeeze out 15 minutes early because you accomplished everything you planned for the day. Check your email for 5 minutes every hour so you’re not stuck with a pile at the end, spending an hour sorting through it all. Remember that you work to support your life, but if all you do is work, your life will suffer, emotionally and physically.
It took me some time and a whole lot of trying to figure this one out. It’s important that you find “you time” to enjoy the things that mean the most to you and make you a better person. For me, fitness and yoga became almost a stress-releasing addiction – nights I don’t go to the gym make me feel like I’m bored and lazy, creating more mental stress on my soul. I look forward to the exciting new moves and poses learned in yoga, and the change I see mentally and physically in me from that. Not everyone loves yoga – my husband especially – and you can’t just steal what others find, assuming it will work for you. In our case, my husband is much more a weight lifting guy and that’s what makes him feel amazing from day to day. For many, it may not be fitness – it could be art, music, video games, binge watching another season of the Real Housewives or one of the many other options of things to do in this world. Find the thing that fits your soul to make you better in life and do it.
The people you engage with are easily over 50% of your stress. With the ease of negativity all around you, some days it’s hard to hold a positive conversation, but you have to find a group of friends and family that will work to bring you up and not down. You have to ask that hard question of who is really there for you in the bad times or who are the ones that make you sink into the bad times more. I have had friends and coworkers alike that do nothing but talk negatively about work, people and situations, but the only person who can change how you digest that situation is yourself. Walk away from negative conversations or situations and embrace positivism. My life as a sorority girl taught me one thing: look at life as a Pro-Con-Pro situation. Find something you love about it, then critique it in a factual and accurate manner, and follow up the rear with something positive. Always end the flow of life on a positive note, even if it’s hard to find.
I thought it would be impossible for us to buy a house. We fought and fought for every penny saved and paperwork collected, but it was never enough it seemed. In the end, we look back and thought about the struggles we went through, and came out much stronger on the other side. Although the house deal feel through (luckily not cause anything we did), I feel accomplished that I did something that was near impossible for us six months ago. The things you think you can never accomplish are at your finger tips, but you have to find the right tools and people to assist you. Focus your attention at the situation, take your time with decision making, find advisers with real knowledge that can guide you, and work hard. If you never give up, goals can be accomplished and you can take control of your power in life.
Living life by these four pillars have helped me to find light in darkness and positiveness in everything I do. You don’t have to married in a four bedroom house with 2.5 kids by the age of 30. Goals are individualistic and only you can set the standards that you want your life to live by. The demand of life is hard, but finding your balance is important to meeting you ow expectations and goals. Set your pace and work hard. Dreams may get the thoughts flowing, but dedication is the true energy you need to succeed.