These insightful reflections are a guest post by Kat Sloma.
You’ve got too much to do, right? Don’t we all. Balancing the multiple aspects of busy lives, the “wants” and the “musts,” can be a challenge. For me, maintaining balance in my life is the primary element of my self care practice. It’s the thing I do to keep my creative energy healthy and abundant.
I have multiple aspects of my life to spend my energy on; so many things I want to do with my time. There’s my family: Husband, 12-year-old son, cat and newly-adopted dog. They are my most trusted companions, and the ones I most want to share life’s adventures with. Next is my creative business, teaching online classes and on-location workshops on the art of photography. I love helping others find confidence and joy through creating art. Then there’s my corporate job, as an engineering program manager, where I lead teams to solve complex problems and complete technical projects. I love the challenge of a good problem, and the dynamic of working with a team. You can do so much more with a team of people, than you ever could do with one! And of course, there is my own art. Exploring the world through my photography keeps me learning and growing. It connects me to the moment, to the place I am in, and to so many other creative people who have become wonderful friends.
Yeah, it’s a lot.
It overwhelms me sometimes, when I list it out. But if I were missing any aspect of this, I would be missing out on something important to me. So, the question becomes: How to keep it all in balance?
First, I make choices. I make time for my artistic practice, by using my “alone” time for me. I’m an early bird, so I have a couple of hours to myself before the family is up in the mornings. That’s when I do most of my creating, journaling and reading. This time allows me to recharge.
Outside of the home, I only do things I am passionate about or interested in. When I am interested in something, magical things happen. Stuff just seems to get done. I don’t let myself get “guilted” into doing things I know I will hate doing. My son’s school needs a PTA president? I’m sorry, that’s not going to be me. The PhotoArts Guild needs a president? OK, I can get on board with that. It’s my choice.
When I make my choices aligned with my interests, I’m taking care of myself. When I do that, I create energy for “more” in my life.
Second, I go with the flow. Sometimes the best balance is to let things get entirely out of balance for a short period of time. A few weeks ago I had a major deadline for a project I was leading at my corporate job. For the week leading up to that deadline, I was working extra hours – at work, at home – to get everything done. I gave myself a “bye” on everything else. For a few days, I didn’t worry about creating art or blogging or future creative business stuff. I didn’t do anything else but the essentials. And then I let myself have a break, from everything, once the deadline had come and gone successfully. I went for walks; settled in with a book or two. Less than a week after the deadline, everything had balanced out and things were back to normal, creatively and otherwise.
Going with the flow – adjusting plans and expectations as things come up in life – is a form of self care.
Allowing myself to be completely out of balance once in a while is a form of forgiveness and acceptance.
For me, self care is not all about making time and space for myself, although that’s important. It’s also about balancing multiple things that matter to me. Making conscious choices about where I spend my time and energy, along with staying flexible, are two things that make it possible for me to live a busy, yet balanced, life.
Kat Sloma is a photographer, writer and teacher who believes we all have a unique vision of the world to share through our art. Through her blog and eCourses, Kat provides resources to help you find your creative vision, connect to your heart and soul, and find joy in your life. You can find her at kateyestudio.com.