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Ditch Work-Life Balance and Find Real Happiness: Part III

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Part III: Your Blissful You

Hello there...nice to see you again!

We've already spent some time together during the first two posts in this series.

We've discussed the problem with work/life balance, that it's no longer possible to separate our professional and personal components into neat, TV-dinner style trays. That you must instead figure out how to find balance in what is actually a big, messy stew. That this requires not trying to have it all...but instead having your all.

We also discussed that achieving your all and finding true balance and happiness require the right set of blissful others to keep you validated and supported along the way.

Now we focus on another critical component to your balance and happiness.

You.

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Yes, you.

You must take care of yourself.

It sounds simple...in fact, we all know this in our collective heads. And yet it gets so tricky.

Work tasks, personal lives, kids, pets, friends...they all have needs. Sometimes it might seem like your life is swallowing you up whole.

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And so you feel like you don't have the time - or you feel guilty for taking the time - to take care of yourself.

Somehow, self-care turns into the notion of being selfish.

Nonsense. This challenge - and this mindset - must be overcome. If you don't take proper care of yourself then you simply won't have the energy and stamina you need to be the best professional, partner, parent and person you can be. Period.

Self-care gives you space away from the things that you are so deeply enmeshed in all day long. It creates perspective. It battles burnout. It reminds you that you--you alone--are worth spending time on. It makes you happier, which makes you more fun to be around. It fills you, so that you can fully give of yourself to the rest of your stew.

So what, exactly, is self-care?

Bring up self-care and lots of people automatically think of images related to yoga, a golf game or a spa day. But self-care is really anything that will help you relax, recharge and re-center.

It can be physical, mental or spiritual.

It can include stimulating activities like taking a class or writing a blog.

It can include relaxing activities like going for a quiet walk or getting a massage.

It can include fun activities like spending time out with friends or attending a small musi­cal concert.

It can be done with people or done alone. It can be as simple as taking a few seconds for three deep breaths or getting an extra hour of sleep.

All that matters is that it centers you...that it creates energy...heck, that it delights you.

Once you know what kind of self-care activities are right for you, your task is to then to do those things. To hold yourself accountable. To ask your blissful others to hold you accountable as well. To understand that all of this is not just for your sake...but for the sake of everyone around you.

Let's get balanced for real...

The following exercise will help you identify and strategize your self-care activities.

  1. What kinds of self-care activities would help you relax, recharge and re-center?
  2. Which of these would energize you the most?
  3. What are some ways you can make the time to fit these into your life?
  4. What is one self-care activity that you will do within the next 24 hours?
  5. How will you feel when you do it?
  6. How will it also benefit others?
  7. What are some ways you can hold yourself account­able to your self-care commitments?

Well, we've come to the end of this particular series, and I'm very proud of you. You've identified ways to engage in self-care to create the most blissful you. You've identified your blissful others. You've figured out your all. And now you will continue the journey.

Congratulations. Here's to your blissful life...

This post first appeared in the WAHM blog. This exercise is an example of one of several that are featured in in the book Bogus Balance. Thanks to geir tønnessen for the cute pointing kid pic, and to Thirteen of Clubs for the photo of our somewhat...overwhelmed lady friend.